Quoting a biblical proverb: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22.1). David had a “good name” but the adjective to describe Solomon’s name was yet to be determined. As today’s focus text (below) indicates, Solomon was at a crossroads in his life and in the life of Israel. His name and his legacy would be what he made it to be. God encouraged Solomon to walk as David walked, but the doing of it remained completely in Solomon’s hands.
“And the LORD said to him [Solomon]: ‘I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house [Solomon’s Temple] which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, “You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.” But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and will hiss, and say, “Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?” Then they will answer, “Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the LORD has brought all this calamity on them.”’” (1 Kings 9.3-9).
God did not “pull any punches” with Solomon; His warnings were extraordinarily clear. These warning came in the form of “if…then” statements. If Solomon walked as his father had walked, then good things would follow. On the other hand, if Solomon chose to turn his back on God, then terrible things would happen to Solomon and to the generations that were to follow! The legacy that David left was far from a perfect legacy, let there be no mistake about it. However, the fact that David was always ready to face his wrongs and seek forgiveness was perhaps the most notable trait about him. He certainly knew that his deeds with Bathsheba were sinful, but when confronted he openly confessed his wrong and sought God’s face.
God’s own commentary regarding David was that he walked “in integrity of heart and in uprightness…” (1 Kings 9.4). In another place the Lord said that David was a man with a heart “loyal to the LORD his God…” (see 1 Kings 15.3). To walk as David walked came to have idiomatic usage in the inspired history of Israel; subsequent kings were measured according to how closely they imitated David’s walk with God (see 2 Chronicles 11.17; 17.3; 21.12, etc.). In as much as the latter kings were measured against David, he became the “standard” by which all other kings were judged. It should come as no surprise that David was revered for centuries in Israel right up to and including the time of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul cited God’s own words through Samuel when He told King Saul that he was being replaced by “a man after My own heart…” (see Acts 13.22 & 1 Samuel 13.14).
Though we are weak and sinful from time to time, we can still take heart in the fact that we can Walk as David Walked!
1. What is and “if… then” statement”? Did God use them from time to time? Is it Ok if we do?
2. In what ways did David fail God?
3. What distinguished the heart of David from the hearts of others?
4. Does being loyal to God, upright, and having integrity of heart imply sinless perfection? Why or why not?
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