March 1, 2014
Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man (that a woman) should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”
Lamentations 3: 25, 26
King James Version
Today’s Study Text:
“When David’s time to die was near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, ‘I go the way of all the earth. Be strong and show yourself a man; Keep the charge of the Lord your God, walk in His ways, keep His statutes, His commandments, His precepts, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may do wisely and prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.”
I Kings 2: 1-3
“Words of Blessing – Take Heed of the Way”
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”
Charles R. Swindoll
How do I use the words I speak to uplift and bless the members of my family especially the young members of the family?
If I had been in David’s place, what “last words” would I share with my children?
“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.”
Hodding Carter, Jr.
“(We) can plant magic in a child’s mind through certain words spoken with some thrilling quality of voice, some uplift of the heart and spirit.”
Robert Mac Neil
David’s time on earth was coming to a close. As the twilight of his life approached, he wanted to leave with his son, Solomon, the heir to the throne of Israel, a few words of advice. Call this “counsel from the king.”
Believe me when I say, David had learned a lot in his life, from both his wise choices and his wicked ways. As we examined David’s life, from beginning to end, we were keen spectators to the highs and lows of David’s existence. There was a moment when David, at his peak, was called “a man after God’s heart.” However, there was also a time when we witnessed the abyss, that dark pit, when David fell into such despicable sin that I believe he never imagined he could have sunk so very low as to in the end, murder a trusted and loyal soldier. But this is exactly what happened.
Now at the eventide of a full life, David wanted to share with Solomon those elements, call them the key ingredients, which he had found bring joy, peace and contentment to all our lives. I liken this talk David had with Solomon to a conversion regarding the vital elements of a successful life. I use the word “element,” which is defined as a fundamental, basic principle, because an element is an irreducible constituent. An element is necessary. It is vital. In high school, when I took two years of Chemistry, we had to memorize the Periodic Table of Elements, the essential elements made up of atoms which when combined formed water and other vital substances.
This is exactly what David laid out for Solomon. Call it the Periodic Table of a God-filled Life. David believed that what he was sharing with Solomon was so fundamental to a life lived for God that he began by saying, “If you want to be ‘strong,’ Solomon, if you want to be a ‘real’ man, here’s how you must go about it. Here are the essential elements which must be present in your life.”
Make no mistake, David’s advice didn’t just apply to Solomon. Nor was this advice only applicable to a man who was going to become king of Israel. David’s words pertain to all God’s children, including his daughters! As we continue our study of Queen Jezebel, Queen Esther, Queen Vashti and many other women, in the coming months, we’ll find that the women who chose to incorporate these fundamental elements of a Godly life into their daily living, found the blessings of God showered upon them and those who chose to abhor the word of God, had their lives end in despair.
In I Kings 2: 3, which begins with David’s talk with Solomon, we find these words: “Keep the charge of the Lord your God.” In the Hebrew translation the word “charge” means “the act of a sentry.” In other words, David was telling Solomon to keep the post. Stay on duty. Keep yourself safe. Be on watch. Make certain you safeguard yourself.
How was Solomon to stay alert and be watchful? Was it by pulling himself up by his own bootstraps? Was it by thinking he knew it all? Was it by boasting of his own accomplishments? Absolutely not. David had learned the hard way that when any of us think we have arrived at the pinnacle, this is when we are the most vulnerable to falling flat on our faces.
This is why David left Solomon, and you and me as well, four essential elements of a victorious life:
Element 1: Take heed to your way.
Element 2: Walk in the ways of God.
Element 3: Keep God’s statues, commandments, judgments and testimonies.
Element 4: Obey God’s Word.
We find the first element in I Kings 2: 4, when David informs Solomon that God has promised him (David) that if his children will embody the elements laid out by their heavenly Father, theirs will be a life without failure. Element #1 is the following: “Take heed to your way.”
If we go to the Hebrew, and look at two very important words in this phrase, we find a most instructive meaning. First, the word “heed” or “take heed” means to keep yourself attended or protected or, “within the hedge,” which happens to be my favorite explanation. Second, the word “way,” as used in I Kings 2: 4, means “the journey” or the “course of life.”
In other words, David came to his son, who was going to be placed upon the throne of Israel and said “Solomon if you want to live a blessed life, a strong life, then for the entire course of your life’s journey, stay within the protection of your heavenly Father’s hedge. Take heed of the way you go.”
What sound words to a son whose life, David well knew, would be challenged by the duties of king. David fully understood the temptations his “beloved” son would face. He knew there would be times when Solomon would have the allurement of fame and fortune draw his eyes from his heavenly Father’s path. And so as the first element in advising his son, David told Solomon the hedge was not a barrier to keep him from enjoying his life but was instead, a protection to keep him safeguarded from all that could impede him from becoming what God intended throughout his lifelong journey.
As I think of what David shared with Solomon, it reminds me of the times my own father spent in giving me advice that I often did not appreciate the way I should have, as he, too, tried to assist me in understanding that our Father’s hedge is there to protect us. Now that I am older and wiser, how often I think about my actions and ask myself this question. “Does my behavior and the way I am acting keep me within the hedge or am I just wandering about doing my own thing and trying to make my own way?”
Several years ago, authors Gary Smalley and John Trent wrote a book called, The Blessing. This terrific volume specifically deals with the words we all speak to one another but specifically within families. As I read the passage in I Kings 2, I thought about the legacy David left by his words of heavenly advice to young Solomon. And it helped me reflect on the words I speak, especially within the family circle, as like David, we pass on to future generations the essential elements which are critical in building a life that is God-filled and in the end, heavenly victorious. This is what we find David did as he left a clear charge to his son, as well as you and me, when he said, “Take heed of your way – stay within the protective hedge your entire life’s journey.”
“O Lord, Seek Us”
‘O Lord, seek us, O Lord, find us
In Thy patient care;
By Thy love before, behind us,
Round us everywhere:
Lest the god of this world blind us,
Lest he speak us fair,
Lest he forge a chain to bind us,
Lest he bait a snare.
Turn not from us, call to mind us,
Find, embrace us, bear;
Be Thy love before, behind us,
Round us, everywhere.”
Stay within the hedge until your journey’s end!
“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”
Psalm 16: 11
“Lord Jesus Christ, the Way by which we travel; show me Thyself, the truth that we must walk in: and be in me the Life that lifts us up to God, our journey’s ending.”
Frederick B. Macnutt
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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