Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Prophets And Kings, Day 3. David's Instructions To Solomon, The Death Of David

Prophets And Kings
Day 3
David's Instructions To Solomon
The Death Of David

David knows hims going to die soon and its impawtant to give instructions on faith to hims son Solomon. Its also impawtant to give him instructions about men in high offices who cannot be trusted. 

1 KINGS 2:1-11
"When the time grew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. 'I am about to go the way of all the earth,' he said." (1 Kings 2:1-2a) We all have a date with death unless the Lord returns soon. We all have sinned and we all owe a death. David knows his time is short and that he must give instructions to Solomon while he still has the strength to do so.

David goes on to say, "So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to Him, and keep His decrees and commands, His laws and regulations, as is written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 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.'" (2 Kings:2b-4) The Lord kept His promise until the the family line of David became more and more unfaithful to Him. They failed to keep their word to the Lord. Had they been faithful, there would never have ceased being a throne in Israel and a king to sit on it. Instead the nation was conquered by Babylon and taken into captivity and Solomon's temple was destroyed. There has been no throne and no king since approximately 600 BC, as King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon made several sieges of Jerusalem during the late 500s BC and early 600s BC. Under Cyrus the Great, Israel was allowed to return to her homeland, but there was no king, and she was later conquered by Rome. After the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70AD it seemed impossible that Israel could ever rise again. But God is faithful even when man is not. Ever since He placed Adam and Eve in the garden, humans have failed to keep their part of the bargain time and again, but God is still faithful. His promise is not made void by the actions of man because His perfect plan does not depend upon man. Someday there will be a throne in Israel and the King of kings will sit on it, just as God said He would.

David turns to more practical matters as he warns Solomon about false friends and wicked men. "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. Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace." (1 Kings 2:5-6) Abner was the general of Saul's army and of Ish-Bosheth's army. He made a peace treaty with David and Joab killed him in cold blood. Amasa was the man David put in charge when he demoted Joab after Joab killed Absalom against David's instructions. Joab killed Amasa while pretending to greet him as a friend. Both times Joab's dagger dripped blood on his belt and his sandals when he placed it back in its sheath at his waist. He is guilty of innocent blood. David doesn't mention the murder of Absalom perhaps because he knows Absalom's death was warranted. David didn't want his son killed but his son was guilty of treason against the king, an offense punishable by death. Therefore Joab's killing of Absalom was justified in a legal sense. David does not come right out and tell Solomon he should have Joab executed, but he insinuates it. He says, "Deal with him according to your wisdom," or in other words, "Do as you see fit." But we know what he is really saying is, "I'm not telling you to kill him, but you should kill him."

"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." (1 Kings 2:7) Barzillai was the elderly man who provided for David and the people with him when they fled across the Jordan in fear for their lives. David is a man who remembers the acts of others toward him, both the good and the bad, and he wants each one rewarded accordingly. Barzillai has probably been in his grave for some time now but his sons are still in Israel and are still faithful to David. He wants to make certain Solomon takes care of them just as their father took care of David.

David has not forgotten the man who kicked him when he was down. "And remember, you have with you Shemei 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.' 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." (1 Kings 2:8-9) When David and those with him had to abandon Jerusalem in order to save their own lives, Shemei cursed them and threw rocks and dust on them. He was of the tribe of Saul and was happy to see David cast down from the throne. He told David he was getting exactly what he deserved. But after Absalom was killed and the nation asked David to return as king, Shemei was one of the first to greet him. He knew he had to smooth things over if he wanted to keep on living. I doubt his heart was really in it, but David granted him mercy anyway. David kept his word not to kill Shemei but he advises Solomon to take care of this man if he makes any trouble. Times of political change often bring out the worst in those closest to the throne and David wants to make sure Solomon doesn't give this man another chance if he messes up again.

Solomon now knows all he needs to know to take up the reigns of the kingdom. Above all else, he is to serve God and obey Him. He is to be kind to those with pure motives and he is to be wary of those with bad motives. David trusts Solomon is wise enough, with the help of the Lord, to figure the rest out as he goes along.

Now we come to the part of our study that makes me sad. "Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. He had reigned forty years over Israel---seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established." (1 Kings 2:10-12) It grieves me to say goodbye to David. We have been with him for so long now. We have shared in his adventures. We have joined him in journeys both good and bad. Our church pastor preached Sunday morning about David being called by God from the sheepfold to be king of Israel and I remarked to my husband that I feel like I know David personally because of the blog. When the pastor spoke of him it was like he was speaking of someone I once knew in real life. So it hurts to say goodbye to him. But we have an unshakable hope in that the author takes care to assure us "David rested with his ancestors". He is not dead but alive in the presence of the Lord, along with all his ancestors who trusted in the God of Israel. Someday we can sit down in the kingdom of God and listen to David tell the story about having to kill the lion and the bear when they tried to attack the little lambs. We can hear about his military exploits and victories. But above all I think David will point us to the One who brought him safely through and we will rejoice with him in our Savior.

In conclusion today I feel like eulogizing David and I can think of no better words to say than those that came from his own pen. These are words that have been spoken over many a casket and over many a grave. It seems fitting to end our journey with David by reading the 23rd Psalm.

"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters. 
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil;
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

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