Tuesday, November 21, 2023

King David's Last Instructions to his son Solomon

King David, an old man, exhausted and unable to keep himself warm, called in Solomon his son, the young man who would one day replace him as king of Israel and gave him instructions on how he should live his life.

He’s also going to ask for Solomon to deal with his enemies after he is gone. David was a man. A man after God’s own heart, but a man non-the-less.

It says this, in 1st Kings chapter 2, verse 1: “When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.”

And this is what David said: “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said.

Every human being on Earth faces death. It brings a challenge to our faith as Christians. It brings despair and great fear for those who reject Christ. The world fears death, so much that we ignore the mention of it. We refuse to think about it. It’s too traumatic to even think about. Yet it happens to everyone.

First point today, take stock on your own mortality. Understand the immense consequence of rejecting Christ, and instead embrace Christ and follow him diligently.

Let us take stock of who we are. We know after death we’ll be judged by the ten commandments by God. No one can stand up to that. No one has obeyed God. Which is why we need a savior to forgive us our sins and change us from within. That’s why God sent Jesus Christ, to be our savior.

We have until our last breath to come to the saving faith in Jesus Christ. If we don’t, that’s it, no more chances.

All the earth dies. Every human born will die. So we must face it.

Next, David says to Solomon, “so be strong, act like a man.”

As we guys will sometimes say to each other, “well, it’s time to man up.” What that phrase tends to mean is, make the hard decision. Stop taking the easy route. Man up, and do the right thing.

Second point today, be strong and act like a man (or woman.) Act like a man, means to be mature, make mature choices. It’s easy to avoid the hard thing and take the easy path.

It’s time to step up, and make the hard decisions. Being a human, man or woman, means making sacrifices for your family, for others, caring for others ahead of yourself. It means doing things you don’t want to do, for the good of the future.

Your own future I mean.

Sometimes we wake up in the morning and think, I don’t want to go to church. I’m tired. I have errands to run. But, you can sense within yourself, I need to go, it’s good for me.

Now you’re faced with a decision: Will I do the easy thing, or the harder thing that’s good for me?

That’s the challenge of life. It’s like that with church sometimes. I don’t always want to go, but I know I need it. Similarly, the same is true with exercise, we know we need it, but sometimes we don’t want to. It’s when we do it anyway, even when we don’t want to, that is being strong and acting like a man, or woman.

Next David says, in verse 3, “…observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses…”

Now if David was speaking to us today, under the new covenant of grace in Christ, I think he would say.. “observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to Christ, and keep the Lord Jesus’ commands to love God and love others, and the other commands of Jesus from the parables, as well as the instructions from the new testament letters of Paul and the other apostles, as written in the New Testament of the Bible.”

Point number three today, learn and follow the commands of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. To do that we need to first read and reread and study the New Testament, and particularly look at the parables of Jesus and what he taught there, and then look at what is written in the letters, and the prophecies as well. And know it all first, then learn to follow it.

David includes this promise, that if Solomon does follow God faithfully,

He says in verse 3, “Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go…”

So David is saying, if Solomon does faithfully follow God’s commands, then, he will prosper in all he does. He will have success in what he attempts to do. His plans will succeed.

That was true for David, he found success as he followed God. It wasn’t always easy, but he did find deliverance and victory.

But, there were times when David disobeyed God, and at those times David did not prosper, his plans didn’t succeed, and David wants to make sure Solomon doesn’t make those same mistakes.

Growing up my parents always tried to make sure my sister and I avoided the mistakes they had made. I’m sure your parents did something similar, don’t do what I did!

Point number four today, follow Jesus faithfully and you will prosper. Your life will be like a tree planted by clear waters, with roots growing deep, and tree branches bearing beautiful fruits unto the Lord.

David continues and says in verse 4, “…and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’”

Now David is talking about the actual throne of Israel. And the nation itself. If Solomon is loyal to God and obeys his the law of Moses, then the promise of God will come true, which was a conditional promise.

The promise was conditioned on obedience by King David and his descendants. It says “If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully with all their heart and soul, then… you will have always have a successor on the throne of Israel.”

Point number five today, the promises of God are conditional. You must receive Christ to receive them. You must obey Christ to keep them to the end.

Those are two big “ifs” if Solomon watches how he lives. If he follows God with his whole heart and soul, then.. the promise will come true.”

It’s the same with Jesus Christ. All the promises are conditional. The condition is continued obedience and faith. If we continue to follow Jesus, the promises remain. But if we become disobedient, and faithless, we forfeit the promises. And Jesus may say to us one day, “I never knew you, depart from me you worker of lawlessness.

It’s all conditional. The promises of Jesus Christ don’t apply to those who have not received Jesus Christ as their lord and savior, right? They must receive Christ to receive the promises. It’s conditioned upon receipt of the gift.

You can give me a gift, but if I don’t open it and put it in the dumpster outside have I received it? No I haven’t. Similarly, if I open it and enjoy it, I do have it, but if I take it outside and put it in the dumpster, I’ve now lost it. Make sense?

So now David continues to ask Solomon to take revenge on his enemies. We see David is a very human man. Even in his old age he wants to make sure his enemies do not prosper after he dies. Take it for what it is, we know justice is for the Lord.

We as Christians do not try to defeat or destroy our enemies. We’re told to pray for our enemies, forgive our enemies, and turn our enemies over to God. And we’re told God will pour up burning coals on their heads if we turn them over to Him and let God be the judge. He’s the only one qualified to judge.

And he will deal with them. Either with grace or justice. That’s up to God though, not us. Pray for your enemies. This will expedite the process.

Here’s what it says in verses 5-9: “Now you yourself know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me—what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood he stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet. 6 Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace.

7 “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom.

8 “And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord: ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’ 9 But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.”

Point number six, let God be the one who judges your enemies.

There isn’t anything wrong with what David does here, asking Solomon to deal with those who had harmed him in the past. Part of the job of the King is to deal out justice. If you served as a judge today, in a court room, part of your job, is going to be dealing out justice in different terms, and if God has gifted you for that role, then you’re not doing anything wrong by fulfilling it. Similarly part of Solomon’s job as king is to meet out justice, so it’s right for him to do it.

But for us today, we want to remember, in general, as a general principle, let God judge and deal with our enemies. We do this by...

A. praying for enemies

B. forgiving our enemies

C. Putting our enemies in God’s hands

Remember those 3 steps for dealing with anger or resentment toward someone.

Lastly in verses 10-12: “Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. 11 He had reigned forty years over Israel—seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.”

At last, after such a life of ups and downs and difficulties and victories, David rested with his ancestors. David found rest with the Lord.

Point number seven today, at last one day we will find rest. Do you long for rest after a long and weary life? I’m sure many of us do.

For the Christian, the faithful man or woman, we find great rest in paradise in the kingdom of God.

For the non-Christian, they will find only endless sorrow and pain in hell. The misery is only beginning for them here on Earth.

But for the follower of Jesus, we find great rest in paradise. That’s what we all long for.

So to review, the main points for today were as follows:

1. Take stock on your own mortality.

2. Be strong and act like a man (or woman.)

3. Learn and follow the commands of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

4. Follow Jesus faithfully and you will prosper.

5. The promises of God are conditional. You must receive Christ to receive them. You must obey Christ to keep them to the end.

6. Let God be the one who judges your enemies.

A. Pray for our enemies
B. Forgive our enemies
C. Put our enemies in God’s hands

7. At last one day we will find rest (if we have Christ as savior)