1 Kings 2:2-3 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, show yourself a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.”
When people feel approaching death they often have a strong desire to pass on wisdom to those they care about, and David was no exception. I find it fascinating that the first thing he said to Solomon was, “Be strong, and show yourself a man.” He may have been a little worried about that, because Solomon was not a man of war, as he had been. Different cultures at different times define manhood in different ways, and that’s not a bad thing. I think David’s statement could be paraphrased, “Don’t be a wimp.” He knew that Solomon faced devious enemies, since there had already been an attempt to deny him the throne, as explained in the first half of chapter 1. That said, David’s real focus was expressed: obedience to God. This came on the basis of his whole life experience of both walking with God and ignoring Him. He was painfully aware that obedience brings far better results! Solomon was noted for wisdom already by this point. In verse 9 David himself says to his son, “You are a man of wisdom.” However, David had the greater, higher wisdom of dependence on God. We are not to ignore or denigrate the minds God has given us, but we must submit our minds, along with everything else, to the Creator who gave them to us. Otherwise, we end up serving, that is worshiping, man rather than God, and that never ends well.
When my father was faced with heart catheterization before his final surgery and was warned that the test itself could trigger a fatal heart attack, he wrote two letters to us his family. Neither is very long. One dealt with practical matters, including cremation and his choice of a cemetery. The other expressed his heart desires for us. His major focus was that we would know and do God’s will for us, and he pointed out that that would fit in perfectly with God’s will for everyone else. He was very aware that we are not independent, however much we might want to be, but rather interdependent. Our part in God’s plan requires that others fulfill their part, and others are likewise dependent on us. That truth is one I have been understanding more and more in the years since he wrote it. I have now lived almost five years longer than he did. Because physically speaking I could be a virtual clone of my father, it’s interesting to see how he would have aged had he lived longer. However, that is completely insignificant compared to the challenge of following in my father’s spiritual footsteps. My spiritual heritage is not to stop with me, but is to be passed down so as to create more generations of people who know and love God and demonstrate it by their obedience. To the degree I do that, I will have been a success indeed.
Father, thank You for this reminder. It is, frankly, sobering. I haven’t gotten back to that book you had me start, and right now my schedule would certainly allow for that. Help me be faithful, in big things and in small, so that Your will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!