1 Kings 2:2-3 (NIV) 2 “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,
On verses 1-3: Here David is on his deathbed. David’s last words to King Solomon his son are “be courageous, be a man, and obey God’s commands.” (v2-3) After all the experiences David had accumulated over his lifetime — his unprecedented victories, his heartbreaking losses, and all the lessons he learned from both his successes and his mistakes — the most important lesson David could tell Solomon is: trust and obey God. “Do this,” David says, “so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go” (v3).
What can we learn from this?
1. The key to a successful and prosperous life is trusting and obeying God. God gives us His commands not to limit our freedom or to hamper our happiness. Rather He gives us His commands so that by following them maximum blessing can pour in and through our lives. God’s commands are for your success.
2. Even more than how to drive a car, how to do math, or how to change a lightbulb, the most important lesson we can teach the next generation is how to trust and obey God.
1 Kings 2:4 (NIV) 4 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 man on the throne of Israel.’
On verse 4: There is another reason why David urges Solomon to live a life of obedience to God. It’s so that God will fulfill His promise to always maintain a successor of David on the throne.
What can we learn from this? When God looks at you, He sees you in connection with the generations that come before you and after you. In our individualistic Western society, we tend to think in terms of “my life, my dreams, my happiness, my lifetime, my success”. Yet in God’s eyes, it doesn’t start or end with you. God’s heart is that you would leave a great and godly legacy for future generations. As you grow in godliness, you will find yourself becoming more concerned with the impact you are making on future generations.
1 Kings 2:5-6 (NIV) 5 “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 stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet. 6 Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace.
On verses 5-9: Here David tells Solomon how to deal with certain individuals who had a significant impact on David’s life. About the sons of Barzillai, David tells Solomon to treat them with great honour for they stood by David during the toughest season of his life (v7). However, about Joab, David says, “do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace” (v6). About Shimei, David says, “bring his gray head down to the grave in blood” (v9).
How could David a man of God command such things against Joab and Shimei? It’s because Joab and Shimei had caused David great trouble while David was king. More than wanting to exact revenge, David wanted to protect Solomon from experiencing the same trouble from these characters. David wanted his son Solomon to have a peaceful reign.
If you want to ensure peace for the next generation, you need to warn the next generation about the problems that disturbed your generation so that the next generation can properly protect themselves against those same problems.
1 Kings 2:10-12 (NIV) 10 Then David rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David. 11 He had reigned forty years over Israel–seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.
On verses 10-12: Why was Solomon able to begin his reign as king with his rule “firmly established” (v12)? It’s because his father David did what he could to set Solomon up for success. David took intentional, thoughtful and necessary steps to make sure that the proper infrastructure and support systems were in place so that his successor Solomon could begin his reign peacefully and powerfully.
What can we learn from this? You are never too young or too old to invest in the next generation. No matter who we are, there is always a next generation coming after us — it could be your own kids, people in your church who are younger than you, people you are leading, coaching or supervising, co-workers or schoolmates who are younger than you. What are you doing to set them up for success?
Just as God has a heart for the next generation, and just as David set up Solomon for success, may you have a heart for the next generation. May you use what God has given you to help those coming after you to succeed. It’s one of the most important ways you can make use of the life God has given you.
Heavenly Father, I would not be here today had it not been for people older than me who took the time and made the effort to invest in me. May I too have a heart for the next generation. Like David, thank You that You placed me on this earth to help those coming after me. Use me to set the next generation up for great success. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!