Wednesday, August 21, 2019

David's Charge to Solomon

"Be strong, and show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires" (1 Kings 2:2b–3a).

When David was old, his son Adonijah plotted with Joab and Abiathar the high priest to become king. He made the mistake, however, of letting this become known before David died. Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, and Nathan the prophet told David about it. David had previously appointed Solomon his successor, and Solomon was favored by Nathan, Zadok the other high priest, and all the best people in the court. David proclaimed Solomon king publicly, and officially settled the matter (1 Kings 1).

When it became clear David was dying, he called Solomon and charged him to be faithful in his role as king. He told Solomon to be strong and show himself a man. David continued by encouraging Solomon to study God’s law so as to “walk in His ways, and keep His decrees and commands, His laws and requirements.” In order to rule by the light of God’s holy law, Solomon would need moral strength not to be swayed by public pressure.

David passed on some unfinished business to Solomon (1 Kings 2:5–9). The unruly and savage Joab had compromised the integrity of David’s reign since its beginning, but because Joab had been close to David during his lean years in the wilderness, and because he was David’s nephew (1 Chronicles 2:16), David had never been able to deal with him. Joab and his friends, however, were sure to cause a revolt against Solomon, so David told him to find a way to kill Joab.

Similarly, while the family of Jonathan was loyal to David, some of Saul’s extended relatives had caused trouble during David’s reign and conspired to overthrow Solomon. Their leader was Shimei, who had sided with Absalom’s revolt. David told Solomon to find a way to kill him before he could tear up the kingdom with bloodshed.

By merciful contrast, David told Solomon to show kindness to Barzillai, who was likely an in-law of Saul’s and thus had every reason to side with Shimei (2 Samuel 21:8). Barzillai, however, supported David in his distress and earned his esteem.

David ordered Solomon to do some difficult things, like putting his older cousin to death and dealing with grizzled old revolutionaries. These things were necessary to secure the peace of the kingdom and to protect the innocent from wars caused by the ambitious. Church discipline is necessary today for the same reason. Your ministers, elders, and lay leaders need prayer as they seek to implement the principles of discipline within your church fellowship.