July 17, 2023
“Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 'I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man.'”
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“Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: ‘I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, 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; that the Lord may fulfill His Word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne in Israel.’ ” 1 Kings 2:1-4 (NKJV)
Many years ago, the Washington Times carried a story about the abduction of a police officer. Officer Bob, as he was called, sat in his patrol car at various locations in the Maryland village, where he served as a deterrent to speeding motorists. Officer Bob was, however, a mannequin dressed as a patrolman and propped behind the wheel of a police cruiser. After he had been sitting in the same location for several days, someone smashed the window and stole him. Ultimately, police work cannot be done passively, i.e., with dummies. It takes a proactive approach. The same could be said of Kingdom work. The Kingdom will not be secure with merely passive attention. If the Lord’s Kingdom (which in 1 Kings 2 is also Solomon’s kingdom) is to be made secure, active and vigilant measures will have to be taken. No Officer Bob techniques will do. And those are exactly David’s words to Solomon.
As David is nearing death (and knows it), he charges Solomon with what matters most. Solomon is to show manhood and strength, walking in the Lord’s ways, which are CLEAR, AVAILABLE, and BENEFICIAL. Should Solomon (and the other Davidic kings) give wholehearted obedience to God’s Word, God will see that His promise to David remains in effect. The point is plain: Obeying God’s Word is the condition for enjoying His promises.
Here, we have, side-by-side, the promise to David and the Torah of Moses. And there is no conflict between them; they are perfectly compatible. On the basis of 2 Samuel 7:14-15, one can say that the unfaithfulness or disobedience of Solomon (or any Davidic king) would not negate the promise to David. BUT, that text assumes there will be no enjoyment of the blessings of that promise unless a king remains faithful. David knows it from experience: obedience is the internal means of Kingdom security.
And therein lies our application. Are we saved by Grace, through faith, and not of our good works? (Ephesian 2:8-9) Absolutely! But that does not mean we may live as we wish and expect to be successful. Our joy and success are linked to our obedience to God’s Word. And there are consequences for our sin, even as believers. Personally, I am grateful King Jesus (the Righteous “Son of David”) is ruling the Kingdom! And that He extends His grace to us.