Listen to this devotional:
Psalm 72:10 – The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. (NIV)
For some reason, still unknown to me, "Sheba" was a popular name for dogs in Scotland when I was growing up. It usually was given to a German Shepherd or Alsatian, which looked proud and fierce, but normally was great with children. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am intimidated by big dogs. I was attacked and violently shaken by a ferocious collie when I was four years old — but that's another story. However, my memories of the German Shepherd called Sheba, who lived in our subdivision, are pleasant ones.
We used to play a stick ball game called "Rounders" on our street. It was quite dangerous, because there was a bend at the top of the road, which made a blind corner for any driver who came through our street. Anyone who was speeding could have run over several kids on the road, but we had an early warning system: Sheba. Her hearing was far superior to our own, and she must have sensed that we were in danger. Each time a car approached the blind corner, Sheba barked. We would all scatter to the sidewalk and wait for the car to pass. Her intelligence far outweighed that of any of the kids, including me, in our street. To this date, the name "Sheba" recalls good memories and safe times.
The kings of Sheba in today's Bible passage were renowned for their commercial and trading skills. They knew how to barter with the other nations around their Southern Arabian country. The fact that they are said in this psalm to be bringing gifts — in other words, giving away something for nothing — means that they must be impressed with God's chosen and Anointed One. They were giving up their wealth for the riches of God's grace. They were exchanging their temporary talents and livelihood for God's eternal favour.
I guess that's why we're also called to do the same: to give and use our gifts for the splendour and glory of God's kingdom in Jesus Christ our Lord. Just as Sheba used her great gift of hearing to protect innocent kids, just as the kings of Sheba gladly gave their gifts to God's Anointed One, we are expected to do the same.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, every life is a gift from God and every day is a new blessing. Encourage us to give faithfully of ourselves to You and to Your kingdom. May we use the gifts You give us for the growing of faith and the expansion of Your Church. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.