Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Living Ethically in the Light of the Bible
Luke 6:37-42; Colossians 2:6-12; Psalm 132:10-18; 1 Chronicles 27-28
As David approaches the end of his life, he gathers the people of Israel and his son Solomon around for his parting words. While his ambition was to build God’s temple, God refused to allow this. God wants Solomon to do this, and four times David says that he is passing on the plans God gave him (1 Chronicles 28:11, 12, 18, 19). But before that, David reminds Solomon of what is most important before he starts building (vv. 9-10). We would be wise to consider the same advice before taking on any task we might think God has planned for us.
The first imperative is simple, yet profound; know the God of your father. , This is the prerequisite for all that follows. Although the NIV translates the verb as ‘acknowledge’, the context points to the depth and intimacy of truly knowing someone. David uses the unusual expression ‘God of your father’ to highlight the personal, intimate and binding relationship between him and God which Solomon is called to also.
At the same time, knowing God leads to a desire to live according to God’s ways. Out of this relationship should flow a desire to serve God, like one would a loving father. This should not be reluctant obedience or compliant activity, but willing service that flows from wholehearted love of God. The expression hearkens back to Deuteronomy 6:5, later affirmed by Jesus (Luke 10:27). Besides, why just go through the motions since God knows our heart, mind and motives? The logic blows away any inclination to try to deceive God or hide anything from him.
David calls on Solomon to seek God. The same verb is translated ‘searches’ in the previous sentence. We can know that we will be found by God because he seeks our hearts. He is not aloof doing his own thing while we look for him. This helps David to later pray that God would keep the people’s hearts loyal and devoted to him (1 Chronicles 29:18-19). God helps us to have the sort of attitude he wants us to have. As Solomon undertakes his work, he can be confident and strengthened by the knowledge that God will be with him and will not fail him (v. 20).
At the same time, David warns Solomon that if he rejects God, he will be rejected forever (v. 9). The ominous nature of this warning is similar to that in the book of Hebrews (6:4-6; 10:26-31). Faith and a relationship with God are not to be taken lightly; the consequences are everlasting. The Hebrew word ‘forever’ only occurs nine times in the Old Testament, with two others in Psalm 132:12, 14. This stresses the importance of God’s promises. For Christians, our response does not involve a temple, but a commitment to living faithfully in Christ. We are to allow our faith to be strengthened, thankful for what we have received, and diligent not to get sucked in by the deceptive philosophies that pervade the world around us (Colossians 2:6-8). As it was for Solomon, such a life begins with the surpassing greatness of knowing God (Philippians 3:8).