1 Kings 2:1-12 (Part 1) – Big Picture Advice While Sitting On The Tailgate of a Pickup Truck

Posted: October 9, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 2:1-12 (Part 1 of 2)

David’s Final Instructions to Solomon

 

It is funny how sometimes there are moments with your dad that you treasure that seemed just ordinary at the time. There was no grand score of music playing in the background that settled into a scene of culmination in a movie. It was just a dad and his youngest son sitting on the opened gate of dad’s old knock around truck that he used to have for hauling things. Not his primary vehicle but just an old Dodge truck that had outlasted several of his primary vehicles. We were just sitting on the tailgate of the truck, dad and his son. It was a particularly rough time for me. I was going through a divorce and life kind of sucked at the time. I was in a tailspin because all I had known for decade was changed. I was living in the past while walking toward the future. I was dating but none of it was making me complete and fulfilled. Life was just in a nervous state of anxiousness for me. I was living for approval of women and defined myself by that. When there was no evidence of any potential for a long-term relationship, I felt lost and adrift. Even I had been a Christ follower for about 2 ½ years at that point, I was still young and oh so immature in my faith. So, there were so many things, basic things, that God had to change my perspective on. One of the ways God does that is through the advice of godly people in your life.

 

For all my dad’s imperfections, he does love the Lord. He has many human flaws but he is a man of God who served as a preacher in Methodist Churches all over South Carolina for 55 years (as of his retirement a few years ago). And he and I used to have some great talks over the years when it was just me and him. This night was one of those. I was struggling. You know those times when you are so depressed and out of sorts that your body aches. You know those times where it is a struggle to get up in the morning and face another day of the hole that you are in. My dad gave me advice that night that didn’t take hold immediately but I referred back to it over the coming years after that, many times. He was a “suck it up, buttercup” kind of dad and that was part of the advice. I needed to get a hold of myself and move on with life. Dust yourself off and point yourself toward the future. However, the most profound part was when he said that I needed to stop finding my personal value through another person. He said you have let the women in your life define who you are to yourself. He said that I needed to stop that or I was going to be on a rollercoaster for the rest of my life. He said when you make another person your god and allow that person’s feelings toward you define who you are, you are going to live a life of moment to moment with no constancy and no security. When you let someone become your god, you are living a life of works to please and appease that god. It is not what God intended. He said that I needed to learn that I am of great value to God regardless of whether I am in a relationship or single. He gave me advice that I needed to hear.

 

Although I shrugged it off at the time, over time, I realized that my dad was speaking God’s Word to me. It was big picture advice. It was the first commandment – You shall have no other gods before me. I had made the woman in my life, whomever it may have been over the years up to that point, my god. I lived and died by their approval of me. That is making an idol. That is having a god before the Lord God Almighty. It is something that changed my life. I now have a healthy relationship with a woman, my wife, Elena, and it is the first healthy relationship with a woman that I have had in my lifetime. That’s some big picture advice, God speaking through another person, my dad. That was some big picture advice sitting on the tailgate of a pick-up truck at my dad’s lake house some 14 years ago that I still think of today when I get all wrapped up in the need for approval and acceptance. My value come from the Lord not from man (or woman, as the case may be).

 

 

2 As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon:

 

2 “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. 3 Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. 4 If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’

 

5 “And there is something else. You know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me when he murdered my two army commanders, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He pretended that it was an act of war, but it was done in a time of peace,[a] staining his belt and sandals with innocent blood.[b] 6 Do with him what you think best, but don’t let him grow old and go to his grave in peace.[c]

 

7 “Be kind to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead. Make them permanent guests at your table, for they took care of me when I fled from your brother Absalom.

 

8 “And remember Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin. He cursed me with a terrible curse as I was fleeing to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, I swore by the Lord that I would not kill him. 9 But that oath does not make him innocent. You are a wise man, and you will know how to arrange a bloody death for him.[d]”

 

10 Then David died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. 11 David had reigned over Israel for forty years, seven of them in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 12 Solomon became king and sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.

 

In this passage, we see that David stressed to Solomon the need to make God and his laws the center of personal life and government in order to preserve his kingdom, as God promised to do (see 2 Samuel 7). This promise from God had two parts. One was conditional and dependent on the actions of the one who sat on the throne of Israel. The other part was unconditional. God’s conditional promise was that David and his descendants would remain in office as kings only when they honored and obeyed Him. When David’s descendants failed to do so, they lost the throne (see 2 Kings 25). God’s unconditional promise was that David’s line would go on forever. This was fulfilled through Jesus Christ, whose earthly lineage traces back to David and who is the eternal Son of God (see Romans 1:3-4). David, whose life exemplified an overarching desire to obey the Lord, gave well-seasoned advice to his son, the next king. It would be up to Solomon to follow it.

 

Similarly, my dad gave me some godly advice 14 years ago and it was up to me whether I was going to follow it or not. It was tough to hear but I knew it was true. I had lived my life putting something else before God and as Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” Not so much, as Chandler on Friends would say. I am sure that when Solomon reflected back on his life in his declining years he went back to this moment in this passage and said I should have followed my dad’s advice. I am sure glad that my Dad’s words, God speaking through him, found their mark in my soul. Although I have my moments where I screw up and do things that are not in God’s will, I do my best to remember every day that big picture advice while sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck. You shall have no other gods before me.

 

Amen and Amen.

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