Monday, March 5, 2012

The Morning After: Parting Fatherly Advice (1 Kings 2:1-12)

The book of First Kings opens with David about to die. Towards the beginning of chapter two, it happens. But before he dies, he gives some final words of advice to his son, Solomon, who has been anointed the next king. God provides us a window to see behind the scenes of a father giving last minute instructions to his son before he dies. What would you say to your son? What would you say to your loved ones? If you had that opportunity, what would you tell them as you lie on your deathbed? David took the opportunity to give Solomon some spiritual (2-4) and political (5-9) advice.

Spiritual Advice
His final message for Solomon was to be strong and to show yourself a man. This was his way to say, "it's time to step up. Everyone is going to be looking at you as the King of Israel, you need to step it up and be a leader." What does it mean to be a man? Many in our culture says it has everything to do with being athletic, rough, tough, successful in your career, sexuality, and so on. But not for David. He qualifies being a man by telling Solomon to walk with God. He says that if you want to be manly, then you had better be godly! David says,
"Keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn." (1 Kings 2:3)
The seven words that David uses (charge, ways, statutes, commandments, rules, testimonies, and law) are all used to make a simple point: it is the totality of God's law that should concern Solomon. And should concern us.

Manliness isn't whether you eat meat or vegetables, but it is whether you live your life and are nourishing your life by every word that comes from the mouth of God. David is telling Solomon to live his life, shape his life, and guard his life according to every word that God had given . . . every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. There would be no situation that Solomon would face that the revelation God had given him would not have the answer of how to think, speak, or act. 

It is similar for us. We are to filter everything through a biblical framework. Do we think through our tragedies through the lens of the Scriptures? But do we also filter our actions and attitudes when our children refuse to be potty-trained through a biblical framework? The Scriptures and walking with God should greatly concern our every action.

Political Advice
David not only told Solomon to be a godly man, but he gave him some specific actions he should take to secure the kingdom. Honestly, when you read vs. 5-9, it seems like the Godfather is giving the hit list on his deathbed. But there is certainly something to what David is trying to communicate to Solomon.

David told Solomon to take care of Joab because he had killed Abner and Amasa in peaceful times. He killed Abner because of revenge and killed Amasa because of jealousy. Joab had proved himself a dangerous liability for the kingdom. He was out only for himself. Joab wasn't the only one. Solomon was also to deal shrewdly with Shimei, for he had cursed the king. Both of these men proved to be in opposition to the king and the kingdom. They had to be judged. I wonder how frequent it is for us to put our interests and our desires over and above Jesus and the Kingdom's plans.

You can find the audio sermon HERE.

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