The Practice (1 Chronicles 28:8-10)
Knowing a principle is good, but it must be put into practice to have any measurable results. Is there anyone in the Scriptures who was a good example of these principles? Yes, the man was King David. Throughout his life, David was known as a man after God’s own heart. Although he failed many times, he is best remembered for his intimate relationship with the Lord. Defeating Goliath was a great feat, but that only happened because he had learned to know and trust the Lord while watching his father’s sheep.
Toward the end of his life, David passed on his crown to Solomon. Of all his sons, God had chosen this young man to serve as the next king. In 1 Chronicles 28, we read about the ceremony and David’s speech before the assembled crowd. David recounted the goodness of the Lord to him and his family. But he made sure that Solomon knew how important it was to follow the Lord from the beginning.
David wanted Solomon to seek the Lord (8).
Throughout the Scripture, believers are exhorted to seek the Lord. David was adamant about this. Notice that this was not a private admonition. David was exhorting the new king in the presence of his subjects to do seek the Lord. But notice also how he was to seek the Lord. He was to “keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD.” As Solomon sought to obey the Lord’s commands, he would be blessed with possession of the land God had promised to Israel.
David wanted Solomon to know and serve the Lord (9).
As a father, David’s great desire for Solomon was that he would willingly seek to know and serve the Lord. You can tell this by the words he speaks in verse 9. “Know the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart.” David wanted his son to be someone who really knew the Lord. He wanted Solomon to have a perfect heart toward the Lord which led him to serve him willingly. But he reminded his son that God could not be fooled by an outward show. God knew his heart. The choice was his to make. If he sought the Lord, he would be found. But if he rejected the Lord, he would be rejected by the Lord.
This was a strong admonition for the new king. But it was one that David wanted to get across to his son at the beginning of his reign. Too many people today have an outward appearance of Christianity, but nothing inside. To everyone else they look like a believer, but God knows their heart. Fathers, be a real example to your children. Know and serve the Lord yourself and then teach them to do the same. Your example will either strengthen or weaken what you attempt to teach them. Let’s do a good job.
David wanted Solomon to consider what the Lord was doing (10).
What was God doing? God was choosing Solomon to build a house for his name in Jerusalem. This was no small matter. David had desired to build a temple for the Lord, but God didn’t allow him to do it. Instead, the Lord chose Solomon for this great privilege. What an honor! It was something about which Solomon needed to think carefully. “Think about this, Solomon. God has chosen you. Be sure that you consider the great responsibility given to you by God.”
As fathers, we need to pass along to our children, the great privilege of knowing and serving God. Consider the fact that the same God who created the universe, showed his love toward you and chose you before foundation of the world to be his child. When we were dead in trespasses and sins, God still loved us and gave his Son for our sins. Consider the immensity of God’s love toward us and then pass that along for your children to consider.
David knew that he had not been a perfect example before his children. But deep within his heart, he had a desire for them to be more than he was. His great desire was that at least Solomon would be faithful to the Lord. And so, with his last breath, he exhorted Solomon to become a man after God’s own heart. Were his words effective? Yes and no.
During the first years of his reign, Solomon sought the Lord with a pure heart and God granted him great wisdom. But despite his father’s warnings, Solomon later allowed his many wives to turn his heart away from the Lord. His life of blessing turned into a tragedy. But later in his life, he must have remembered what his father David had taught him. Solomon realized the emptiness of his life without the Lord and passed along that lesson to his own sons (Ecclesiastes 12:1, 13-14).
What do we learn from the lives of David and Solomon? First, we learn that teaching our children is imperative. Fathers, we need to make this a priority in our lives. Our children need to be taught to love the Lord by both our actions and our words. There were some obvious problems in the lives of both of these men. But they both saw the wisdom of teaching their children to seek the Lord. Let’s invest our time wisely now while we have the time.
Second, we see that our children will not always turn out the way we want them to. David exhorted Solomon to seek the Lord and he did. But Solomon later made a choice on his own to turn from the Lord. It wasn’t the fault of his father. It was his own choice. The point is that no matter how well we teach our children, they may choose to rebel against the Lord. But the Lord is gracious. Just as Solomon later turned to the Lord, there is hope for our children who rebel.
In review, we have seen the principle given to us by God in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. We have also seen how David applied that to his son Solomon. Now it is our turn, fathers. We will never be perfect (and we are all aware of our many failings). But with God’s help we can make a difference in the lives of our children. Let us seek God as we apply these principles. Who knows what God will do? Only time will tell.