1 Kings 2:1-12 (Part 2) – Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey – Practical Advice That Our Dads Give Us

Posted: October 10, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 2:1-12 (Part 2 of 2)
David’s Final Instructions to Solomon

Yesterday, I talked about some big picture advice that my dad gave me about 15 years ago that has stuck with me ever since. Today, I am going to bring it down a notch. There were things that my dad taught me, too, that were extremely practical. And, man, there were a lot of those. The biggest one being “screws tighten to the right and loosen to the left.” Some people call it “righty tighty; lefty loosey” but my dad used the more eloquent version! LOL! You know, I think about that advice every time I have to use a screw. I mean how many times do you have to drive a screw into something or loosen a screw out of something in a lifetime. That was sage advice, man!

That advice reminds me of big picture things too. In this universe created by God, there as some immutable laws that he set into motion at creation that will forever operate on this side of eternity until Jesus returns someday to establish his eternal kingdom on earth. One of those immutable laws is the fact that screws tighten to the right and loosen to the left. Sure, screws are man made and the law is created by the downward helix design of screws. However, the principle of tightening and binding things together or loosening things already bound together by a screw stand on top of things that man learned about how the universe operates. The design of a screw follows how God designed the human arms and hands. Did you know? I found this at Quora.com. This was really eye-opening…um…well…the whole eye-opening thing would be another blog…LOL! But for now:

The reason that screws are designed to tighten to the right and loosen to the left is because of the design of our arm muscle, the bicep. The bicep muscle – the strongest muscle in our arm – actually has two functions:

1) flexion of the arm and
2) supination (which is the motion used when screwing in a screw clockwise).

The supination action comes from the fact that a portion of the biceps muscle wraps around the base of the forearm, and when this muscle is flexed, it rotates the forearm inward so that the arm supinates (rotates from the hand-down direction to the hand-up direction, clockwise).

The biceps muscle being as strong as it is makes the clockwise direction of turning your right hand able to use much more strength than the counterclockwise action, which is called pronation. The pronation action can only be done with a relatively small and weak muscle called the pronator teres and another small muscle called the pronator quadratus. Also, the mechanism by how the pronator teres pronates the hand, by pulling the radius over the ulna, is a much weaker way to turn something than how the biceps does it, which wraps around the forearm and so twists the arm quickly just as if you are pulling on a yoyo or pulling up on a carpet under someone’s feet.

So there you go! Now, you know. There are universal laws in operation that were observed when designing the screw – the thing that binds stuff together, a basic necessity of construction in highly developed societies.

These are immutable laws of the universe that our dad’s teach us. They are necessary lessons in life that our dad’s teach us. Our mom’s love us unconditionally and teach us about the softer side of life, about caring and compassion, and the beautiful things in life. Our dads teach us the cold, hard facts about life. Our dads teach us that the world is rough place and that it is often completely unfair. Our dads teach us that when we fall down in the real world, mom is not going to be there to fix every boo boo and that we have to sometimes quit crying, get up, accept what happened and move on. Our dads teach us real world, practical advice that will help us survive in the cruel world out there. Typically, a dads wish is not so much that their children be wealthy and successful but rather that they will be able to take care of themselves when they get out on their own. For me, that is true with my kids. Although they are smart and educated, that is not what drives me about my girls. I want them to be well-adjusted, productive citizens that know how the world works and can survive and thrive in it when I am gone. Whatever path they take in that pursuit whether that’s making millions or teaching school or working in retail management or whatever, I just want them to be able to make their own way and be well-adjusted and productive when I am gone.

Whatever advise I can give along the way in practical matters to help them get there, I will do that. That is what David is doing here in this passage. After the big picture advice of following God and keeping His ways, David follows it up with some day-to-day practical advice about things he is going to face immediately as king. That’s what dads do. That’s why dad taught me “righty tighty, lefty loosey” and so many other practical things that I could fill volumes but do not have time here. Let’s read this passage now with an eye toward the practical advice given.

Chapter 2
1 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.

As we revisit this passage one more time, we see that David had some harsh advice for Solomon concerning his enemies. This advice was designed to help the young king establish and secure his throne, and it was directed only toward blatant enemies – those who opposed God by opposing the anointed king Legally, David was asking Solomon to give his enemies the punishment they deserved. It was against the law, for example for Shimei to curse a king and it was against the law for Joab to commit murder during a time of peace. For Joab, winning was everything. He wanted to get power for himself and protect his position.

In contrast, David’s advice about Barzillai was to honor him for he stood loyal to God and live by his standards. When offered glory, he unselfishly deferred it to his son. This advice given by David was necessary information for his son to be able to wise in his rule. David’s experience is being passed on to his son. David is trying to get his son to see that he must be discerning about people and understand whether they are motivated by personal, ego-driven motives or by God-honoring humble service.

Man, what practical advice David gives Solomon. Stuff he needs to know. Maybe, he already knew or had a feeling about these things but hearing it from his wise, old dad certainly confirmed it. That is what a dad does. We express our love for our children by preparing them for the real world. As dads, it is our duty not to sugar coat the world for our kids. We have a duty to prepare them for the way the world really operates. We do it gradually over time so that when they get out there on their own, they can survive and thrive in a universe that has immutable laws that will not change. Without knowledge of how the world really operates, our children will not survive and thrive. It’s our duty as dads to give them the practical day to day advice that they need to survive in the world. Righty tighty; lefty loosey is just one of them.

Amen and Amen.

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