“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’” (1 Kings 2:1-3).
As the above words indicate, David’s life on this earth was drawing to a close. He had an incredible pilgrimage on this earth as he walked with God and served God as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 16:7; Acts 13:22). David had slain a giant, spent years on the run from the jealous King Saul, served as the King of God’s people Israel, endured repeated attempts from his own children (i.e. Absalom and Adonijah) and others (e.g. Sheba) to overthrow his kingdom, and struggled with his own sinfulness (e.g. adultery with Bathesheba and his subsequent murdering of Uriah) during his life on this earth. No one could say David had lived a dull life!
After finishing such a rich and abundant life, now David has some final words to say to his son Solomon whom has succeeded him on the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:1-9). It is interesting to consider the final words that people have to say at the end of their lives. In the movie “Walk the Line” about the life of Johnny Cash, there is a line that music studio director Sam Phillips says to Johnny Cash as Cash is auditioning before him which is worthy of consideration here. Sam Phillips says, “All right, let's bring it home. If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing one song, one song that people would remember before you're dirt, one song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on earth, one song that would sum you up…Somethin' real. Somethin' you felt.” In other words, Phillips wanted to know the one song Johnny Cash would sing if he was about to do to sum up how he viewed his time here on earth?
What is the one thing that King David has to say about “summing up his life here on this earth” as he seeks to impart some final wisdom to his son Solomon? Does he speak about the importance of hard work, making a lot of money, or acquiring more knowledge? Does he suggest that what is really important in life is to go out and have a lot of fun? Does he encourage Solomon to go and conquer more kingdoms and gain even greater power?
David encourages Solomon to “prove himself a man” by following God and keeping His commandments. If Solomon wanted to be a man after God’s own heart as was his father David, Solomon needed to walk with God by keeping His commandments. It is interesting that towards the end of Solomon’s life after he endured his own share of triumphs and failures in his walk with God he would write, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Today, I rejoice that I can gain great insight from the lives of those who have served God before me about what life is all about. It is about following God, walking with Him, and serving Him within the boundaries of His commandments. I do not try to “earn my salvation”, but I want to “prove myself to be a man” after God’s own heart by setting my mind on things above and serving Him (Colossians 3:1-2). Praise God for Him giving me guidance and direction in my life!
“Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage” (Psalm 119:54).