Imagine with me, if you will, that you are near to death. Perhaps you were seriously injured in an automobile accident or perhaps cancer has ravaged your body or maybe old age has finally come to claim you. Your relationship with God is good; you are ready to meet your Maker. You have obeyed the gospel and lived faithfully as a servant of the LORD. And, let's say that you have one final opportunity to speak to your children before you die: What would you say to them?
I Chronicles 29:28 talks about King David dying at a good, old age. He was 70 years old and his son Solomon reigned in his place. But, one chapter earlier, David knows he is near to death and he prepares his kingdom for such. He gathered all of his officials together and spoke to them, informing them that Solomon would be king and that he would build a temple for God Almighty. And then in I Chronicles 28:9, David speaks to Solomon his son and says - "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever." Admittedly, these are not the last words that David spoke to his son, but they are near to the end. I suspect that this is one of the most important things that David could have said to Solomon; it is certainly one of the most important things that any father could say to his son, or any parent to his or her child.
Why are these words of David so important? Look at the two main ideas closely:
I believe that the order of these two commands is important. If Solomon did not come to know the God of His father, he would not be motivated to serve Him faithfully, and I believe that the same is true today. It is impossible for one to serve God loyally and willingly until he first comes to know God. In this series, I want us to get to know the God of David, for when one comes to know God, he can then love God, and one who truly loves God will not have difficulty serving Him with a loyal heart and a willing mind.
But, before we can get to know the God of David, let's first get to know David.
David was the eighth son of Jesse. He grew up as a shepherd boy and lover of music and instruments. He loved God, and God elevated him to greatness by selecting him as king. But during his reign, David committed adultery and murder! There aren't too many sins that are deemed worse than these two, are there? But, in spite of those terrible sins, David was labeled a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22).
And this leads us to ask: How can an adulterer and murderer be a person who has a heart like God? The answer to that question will be seen more fully when we examine Psalm 51, but let me state at this time that the reason why David was considered to be a man after God's own heart is because, generally speaking, he tried to do what was right in God's eyes, hated evil, and was a person of compassion and love. And, it should be noted that, when he did sin, he repented of it when confronted and confessed his error to God (instead of digging the hole of rebellion even deeper as King Saul did). Having a heart like God's clearly doesn't mean that David lived sinlessly.
Just to illustrate the fact that David was, for the most part, a very righteous man, I'd like to read I Kings 15:5 - "David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." That is a great summary of his life. The events of II Samuel 11 & 12, were the exception, not the rule. He suffered greatly for those sins and paid a terrible price, but they are not indicative of his life overall.
We will continue this study in our next lesson.