Rags To Riches
(1 Kings 10:4) And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, (1 Kings 10:5) And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. The queen of Sheba was overwhelmed by Solomon. His royal apparel would no doubt have been exquisite also. The Lord Jesus Christ alluded to Solomon's clothing in MAT 6:25-34 where He was assuring disciples of God's ability to provide the needs of their bodies when they would put His kingdom and righteousness first in their lives; therefore they should not be consumed with those concerns. Note especially: (Matthew 6:28) And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: (Matthew 6:29) And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:30) Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? The word “arrayed” means, “put into array or order, attired, dressed.” When mighty Pharaoh exalted Joseph in Egypt, he “...arrayed him in vestures of fine linen...” (GEN 41:42). When sinners mocked Jesus Christ, they “...arrayed him in a gorgeous robe...” (LUK 23:11). Mind that Jesus said that the lilies of the field were more finely arrayed than Solomon in all his glory. The fashion of a short-lived lily which is under the bondage of corruption (ROM 8:21) elicited greater respect from Christ than Solomon's finery. Solomon's glory and array were by art and toil but the lily worked not for its beauty: God made it beautiful. So are the children of God: their glory and array are not by their will (JOH 1:12-13; ROM 9:15-16) nor by their works (ROM 11:6; 2TI 1:9), not even their righteous works (TIT 3:5). Our righteousnesses are by nature nothing but filthy rags in God's sight (ISA 64:6). A child of God's beautiful array is, like the lily, entirely of God. It is of God that we are “...in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1CO 1:30); we are made righteous by the obedience of One, Jesus Christ (ROM 5:19 c/w 2CO 5:21). It is Christ's righteousness in which we are found (PHIL 3:9) and thus seen to be “...arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (REV 19:8). The prophet Isaiah saw God the King in all His holiness (ISA 6:1-5) and like the queen of Sheba before King Solomon, there was no more spirit in him: no spirit of natural holiness, no spirit of self-righteousness, no spirit of works righteousness. But the gospel lets such humble souls see Jesus Christ's righteousness provided to God on their behalf. Thus, Isaiah later said in the chapter where he set forth the good news about Jesus Christ, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness...” (ISA 61:10). Glorious Solomon could not make a lily, let alone make a child of God. But Jesus Christ is “...a greater than Solomon...” (LUK 11:31); He only has power to make dead sinners alive: “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will” (JOH 5:21). God clothes them with Christ's righteousness to cover their sin as He once clothed Adam and Eve to cover their shame (GEN 3:21). Unlike the grass of the field which is cast into the oven in spite of its fine apparel (MAT 6:30), the children of God “...shall never perish...” (JOH 10:28) because “His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever” (PSA 111:3). God gets all the credit for the making and preserving of His children, “That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1CO 1:31).