Bible Readings for September 30th
In yesterday’s reading, we reflected on David’s greatest failure in life: his passive unwillingness to discipline or to set boundaries for those around him. In today’s reading, we see a further contrast between David and his son Solomon in David’s final words to his son.
On the one hand, David’s final words include a godly charge to follow carefully after Yahweh, taking care to keep Yahweh’s “statutes, 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” (1 Kgs. 2:3). To David’s credit, he remains true to keep Yahweh’s statutes all the days of his life. Obviously, David sinned in major ways in his life, but whenever David does sin, he is quick to repent and to seek God’s forgiveness. In spite of his sin, David remains a man after God’s own heart to the day of his death.
On the other hand, David weakly asks Solomon to tie up the loose ends of his life by doing all of the dirty work that David had been unwilling to do for himself. So, David instructs Solomon to execute Joab for murdering two of David’s commanders, Abner and Amasa (1 Kgs. 2:5–6), and to bring justice on Shimei, who had cursed David while David was fleeing from Absalom (1 Kgs. 2:8). Solomon does put Joab to death for his murders (1 Kgs. 2:34), but he wisely and graciously gives Shimei a second chance. But when Shimei breaks the terms of his parole and leaves the boundaries of Jerusalem, Solomon carries out the justice that his father, David, had requested, by putting Shimei to death (1 Kgs. 2:46). And additionally, when Adonijah manipulates Solomon’s own mother, Bathsheba, to try again to usurp the kingdom, Solomon puts Adonijah to death without hesitation (1 Kgs. 2:25).
From all this, we might think that Solomon is the king who will usher the kingdom of God into this world. Solomon succeeds in strong, firm leadership in ways that his father, David, did not. Indeed, Solomon’s reign is marked by extraordinary glory, as we will see; however, Solomon neither shares his father’s weaknesses nor his father’s strengths. Where David’s heart followed after Yahweh all the days of his life, Solomon’s heart will be drawn away to worship false gods toward the end of his life.
Among the three kings God has given to Israel so far, none have faithfully shepherded God’s people. Instead, God will ultimately send a better king to shepherd his people, a king whose heart will remain faithful to his heavenly Father even to the point of death on the cross and a king who will one day return to execute justice on this earth. It is this king who deserves not only our obedience but our love, worship, and faith as well.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.