I have been reading through 1st and 2nd Samuel this summer, I love reading about King David and the great ways God used him to lead and deliver his people. David, was a warrior, a fearless and faithful man. The scriptures often describe him as, “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). At times he seems like the perfect Disney prince or the stud, lead character of a new Twilight book/movie series. Who wouldn’t want to be like him, to learn from him or to be mentored by him? Can you imagine that?
If we keep reading into the book of 1 Kings we see that David’s son Solomon actually had this incredible opportunity. As King David was nearing the final days of his life he began to speak wisdom and truth to his son regarding his future as the King of Isreal. He says...
“When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son saying, “‘I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statues, 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, that the Lord may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’” - 1 Kings 2:1-4 (ESV)
Let’s break his charge down into practical and simple steps.
First, he says, “ Be strong, and show yourself a man.” This sounds awesome and as a follower of Jesus I long for this in my own life. But how do we do this?
David follows this command with instruction, “keep the charge of the Lord your God.” I think it’s important here that he says, "YOUR God." This was not a call for Solomon to follow a set of rules and instructions from an impersonal God in which he does not personally know. Rather this was a call to trust the leading and instruction from an all powerful and intimate God, in whom he has a personal relationship with. As we seek to be strong and show ourselves to be men by keeping the charge of the Lord our God, we must first have a real relationship with him. This relationship can only be found in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
How do we keep this charge and what does it require?
He says we practically do this by, “walking in his ways and keeping his statues, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses…” Jesus gives a similar command to his disciples in what is commonly referred to as the “Great Commission.” He commands them to make disciples, by teaching them to obey everything he has commanded you.
We must remember that all of the laws, decrees, instructions and commands given by God in the bible are not a list of rules to follow so we can be approved by God. But rather they are given to the people of God for our good, his glory and so that we might have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10).
Lastly, why must we keep this charge?
“… so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the Lord may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘if your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.” (1 Kings 2:3-4)
Again, he has Solomon’s good in mind. He is not trying to rob him of joy and pleasure but rather he’s trying to teach him where and how to find joy and pleasure. It’s found in the Lord our God alone!
When I first read David’s charge I thought, "wow… that’s an incredible charge," in the realm of Mel Gibson’s ‘Freedom’ speech in the movie Braveheart. But then I think, "how in the world could I or anyone else ever do this? Not even David or any of his own sons could fulfill this calling and charge." They all fell (many times), just read 1st Samuel and 2nd Samuel as well as 1st and 2nd Kings and you’ll quickly catch onto their many failures and short comings.
THE GOOD NEWS!
There is one man who could and did fulfill the Lord’s commands and laws perfectly. That man is Jesus of Nazareth. Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 1:20, that all the promises of God find their “Yes” in Jesus alone. Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise to David that, "you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.” Jesus, in the bloodline of King David (Matthew 1), reigns over the whole earth for all eternity. Jesus is the pinnacle example of God’s goodness, faithfulness, love and justice towards his people. He’s the reason we can worship God with our lives.
In closing, as we strive to be like King David, to be great leaders, pastors and worship leaders, we must always remember that Jesus (the greater David) was that perfect man in our place. His life, death and resurrection have fulfilled the perfect requirements of God’s law, bringing us back into a right standing with God the Father (2 Corinthians 5:21). I want to encourage you as you continue to grow in your faith, knowledge and obedience to God. His laws, commands and requirements haven’t lessened because of Jesus, rather they have found their fulfillment in and through Christ Jesus on our behalf.