No one wants to think about death, but the reality is that it is going to happen to all of us unless the Lord Jesus returns first. No one knows how they will die, whether suddenly or after some prolonged illness.
“As the time approached for David to die, he ordered his son Solomon, 2 “As for me, I am going the way of all of the earth. Be strong and be a man, 3 and keep your obligation to the Lord your God to walk in his ways and to keep his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees. This is written in the law of Moses, so that you will have success in everything you do and wherever you turn, 4 and so that the Lord will fulfill his promise that he made to me: ‘If your sons guard their way to walk faithfully before me with all their heart and all their soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’” — 1 Kings 2:1-4
In the passage above, we see King David on his deathbed. In his old age, he has become bedridden and summoned his son Solomon who is to take his place on the throne once David passes on. These four verses are David’s final words and instructions to his son. Let’s look at a few of the instructions he gave to Solomon.
1. Be strong and be a man. As dads, we want to have children who are strong and can take care of themselves. We want to push our children into their adult years with the tools necessary to succeed. David was no different. He knew the pressure that came with being king. He knew that Solomon would need to be firm in his resolve to rule wisely and well.
2. Keep your obligation to the Lord. David also knew that Solomon could not be the king he needed to be if he neglected the Lord. Our children need to be reminded of their relationship to the Lord and the importance of it. As dads, we are the pastors of our home. Even when we are old, and our children are adults, we can still impart Godly wisdom and leadership into their lives, especially in the area of spiritual growth.
3. A promise of success in everything you do. Keep in mind this is a promise that God gave to King David that is fulfilled through the life of Solomon so we can’t interpret it to mean that we will have the same success as Solomon did. However, we know throughout scripture that the most blessed place to be is close to the Father’s heart. We can be confident in telling our children that the closer their relationship is to God, the more of his blessings they will receive. James 4:8 tells us, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”
It’s my hope that I will have the opportunity to preach and lead these and other principles to my kids while they are still in my home, when they move on to college, to their adult lives, and by God’s grace until he calls me home. Let’s be dads who live out and lead with these last words of David.
Author: Corey has served as the Metro Director for BCM Christian Community in New Orleans, LA for the last 12 years. BCM is a campus-based ministry that reaches out to college students on 7 campuses in the metro New Orleans area. Prior to leading BCM, he has served as a Youth Pastor in Louisiana and Georgia. He lives outside of New Orleans with his wife Lessie and three kids, Alexis, Gabe, and Alanna.
Well said, Corey. To other dads and husbands I encourage you to take the time to write your legacy letters to your wives, daughters and sons. For me it was the hardest and most emotional activity of my life. As my youngest is now a graduating senior I know it is time to do it again and highlight their character qualities and guidance of a father’s love to continue or explore.
Mine are sealed and kept in the care of my estate executors.