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Obedience Flows From Faith in God

Written by Mitch DePoy on

When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the Lord may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’” – 1 Kings 2:1-4 (ESV)

In show business, you often hear the phrase “break a leg” before a performer takes the stage. Of course, well-wishers don’t mean the phrase literally. They are wishing the opposite upon the performer—an incident-free and entertaining show. It’s a final charge to help calm the performer’s nerves and encourage him to give his all to the performance.

In this passage, David shares a last word of strength and encouragement with his son Solomon. David is about to die, and Solomon will assume his reign as king over the nation of Israel. David says, “Be strong, act like a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the LORD may keep his promise to me . . . ‘you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel’” (1 Kings 2:2-4, NIV).

In David’s final words to his son, we see three things: a command, a way to fulfill it, and a reason for it.

What is the command?

David commands his son to “be strong, act like a man.” David knows that life will throw many hardships and challenges in Solomon’s path, and he wants him to have the fortitude to persevere and do the right thing even when it’s hard. He wants Solomon to be a godly leader for the nation, serving the weak and vulnerable and confronting the proud and disobedient. He commands Solomon to act like man, fulfilling God’s designs and purposes for his life.

How do you fulfill it?

How can any person fulfill such a high calling? How does man fulfill God’s designs and purposes for human life? The answer comes in the next phrase: “observe what the LORD your God requires.” Thankfully, God has not left us clueless as to his plans and purposes for our lives. He has revealed them in his Word, the Holy Scriptures. In the Bible we have everything we need for life and godliness. If we want to be strong godly men and women, we simply need to look at what God says to do and then act on it!

Why should you fulfill it?

Children start asking questions at a very young age. While children love their parents, there comes a time when they don’t accept their commands at face value. They want to know why they should do what their parents say. Oftentimes, when parents give kids a rationale for rules, they are more likely to comply.

Here, in David’s final words to Solomon, he gives a rationale for his command to be strong and obey God: “so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” Walking faithfully before God doesn’t guarantee us health, wealth, comfort, or fame. But it does guarantee our lives won’t be wasted. We will prosper in the sense that our lives will have meaning and purpose, joy and contentment. We can glorify God and honor him wherever life takes us. As David wrote in Psalm 23, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” By obeying God’s commands, we live life in relationship with our Creator and receive his help and favor.

As fallen human beings, none of us can obey God’s commands perfectly and prosper in our own strength. But the good news of the gospel is that God fulfilled his promise to David and sent an eternal King from his line to reign over God’s people. This King, Jesus, obeyed all of God’s commands in our place and died to pay the penalty for all the ways we haven’t obeyed God’s commands. Therefore all who believe in the gospel and accept Jesus as their King are forgiven and helped by God to live in joyful and willful obedience to his commands.

So, what are the final words from our Father from 1 Kings 2:1-4 as we go out on the stage of life? He gives us a word of strength and encouragement: You are loved and you are forgiven. Therefore, be strong. Walk in my ways. And prosper in my hand.

Mitch DePoy

Mitch DePoy is currently the Pastor of Congregational Care & Connection at College Park Church, after working as a financial analyst for 20 years. He is married to Sarah, father of four, and enjoys coaching youth sports in his spare time.

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