I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; and keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself. — 1 Kings 2:2-3
When I began working in the drilling department of our machine shop, I didn’t have a clue about what was required to get the job done. All I knew was that our product came in without holes and had to go to the next department with holes. Fortunately for me (and the quality of our product), I was not sent to figure things out for myself. I was put under the supervision of a qualified person — someone who knew the job and could show me how to follow the procedures. Once I had the knowledge, it was up to me to apply it. I had to utilize the training I had been given and perform the job in the correct manner.
In our Christian walk, we also have “trainers.” It is important to have good examples of faith and godliness to show us the proper procedure. We can read about these people in God’s Word or observe them in our day. Then, it is up to us, as individuals, to decide to follow. Although the world around us continually encourages compromise and tempts us to take shortcuts or an easier route, we know that obedience brings the blessing and that shortcuts bring hardship and potential spiritual disaster.
In our devotional text, David knew that he was not going to live much longer and he wanted Solomon to have courage and to follow the right way. Solomon had received the training, and now it was time for him to go solo and prove God’s Word. It was up to him to apply the knowledge that had been modeled by his father and to be strong. If he faithfully followed God’s commands, David knew Solomon would be showing himself “a man,” someone God could bless and guide.
How about us? Will we choose the right way today? God will be there to help us, just as He has helped others.
Today’s text gives the account of David’s final advice to Solomon and of Solomon’s first actions as king. In his advice, David first acknowledged the true leadership of Israel — God. He laid out the importance of following the commandments of the Lord and of continuing the heritage being handed down to him. In this admonition, David provided the basic foundation for the successful leadership of Israel, which was following God’s ways.
David named some people and told Solomon to take note of them and to deal with them according to the way that they had conducted themselves during David’s reign — Joab, Barzillai, and Shimei. Joab needed to be dealt with for shedding innocent blood (2 Samuel 3:27 and 20:10) and for supporting Adonijah, Solomon’s rival to the throne. Barzillai had provided for and helped David during Absalom’s revolt (2 Samuel 17:27-29) and, therefore, his family deserved to be treated well for his loyalty. Shimei had cursed and reviled David in his exile during the reign of Absalom (2 Samuel 16:5-8) and was also a descendant of Saul who could still cause trouble during Solomon’s reign.
Solomon then established his leadership by making some hard decisions. His first actions as king included three executions. Two of those people had been shown mercy and would not have died if they had followed Solomon’s commands. Adonijah had been allowed to live after his insurrection, but continued in his deceitful bid for the throne. Adonijah asked for Abishag because having the king’s concubine was like claiming the throne. Solomon knew this. Shimei broke his agreement with Solomon and brought judgment upon himself.
It was important for Solomon to begin his reign with strength and righteousness. By following God’s ways and making important first steps, he secured the kingdom.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The reign of Solomon
A. The ascension of Solomon
2. The charge of David (2:1-9)
a. Concerning keeping the law (2:1-4)
b. Concerning Joab (2:5-6)
c. Concerning Barzillai (2:7)
d. Concerning Shimei (2:8-9)
3. The death of David (2:10-12)
B. The judgments of Solomon (2:13-46)
1. The judgment of Adonijah (2:13-25)
a. Adonijah’s request (2:13-18)
b. Bathsheba’s plea for Adonijah (2:19-21)
c. Solomon’s condemnation of Adonijah (2:22-24)
d. Adonijah’s death (2:25)
2. The judgment on Abiathar (2:26-27)
3. The judgment on Joab (2:28-35)
4. The judgment on Shimei (2:36-46)
Although Solomon had to make some hard decisions, he had the strength and help of God to carry the burden. When we are in a situation that requires spiritual fortitude, we can know that God is right there waiting to show His strength through us.