If you knew that you were nearing the end of your life, what advice would you want to share with your son or daughter?
What wisdom would you impart to your loved ones?
What challenge or charge would you issue your family to carry out following your demise?
Some may be skeptical of death-bed advice because it may be steeped in regret, clouded by one’s state of mind, or over-simplified with folksy, unrealistic platitudes. Furthermore, the one giving the advice doesn’t live to see the consequences of their counsel.
However, the Bible offers solid, sound advice from some of God’s greats who knew they were about “to go the way of all flesh.” Our text today finds David in that situation. The end was near. And he knew it. So, he called for his son, Solomon, who would succeed him on the throne, and offered this stirring challenge.
“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.
Be careful now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.”
“Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God is with you.”
The advice David gave his son over 3,000 years ago, is still good advice today to pass on to future generations.
#1 Seek God.
To seek is to pursue. To search. To inquire. It implies the idea of diligence. Earnestness. And careful examination. Not just a curious inquiry or a casual pastime.
Seeking the Lord is a familiar and constant refrain throughout Scripture, from Old to New Testament. God is not hiding, but He will not force Himself on any of us. He wants us to seek Him. Come to Him. Draw near to Him.
We seek what we truly desire in life. And if we crave divine association and fellowship with the Almighty, we will find it. And it will bless us. “Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Ps. 34:10).
#2 Serve God wholeheartedly.
When we come to know who God is and His will for us, it will lead to serving Him. “A whole heart and a wiling mind” speaks to dedication, loyalty, and commitment. It’s not occasional or intermittent, but 24/7/365.
A “whole heart” is not one that’s divided or weakened by worldly pleasures or carnal pursuits. We speak of a person’s devotion to a task as being “all in.” Such is the spiritual consecration when you’re wholehearted.
Solomon began well with total commitment, but in his later years strayed from the Lord. The Bible says that “his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David” (1 Kings 11:4).
#3 Remember God has chosen you.
Just like God chose Solomon for His purpose, He has chosen us “in Christ” to be holy, set apart from the world, and a demonstration of His Divine nature that brings glory to Him (Eph 1:4-10).
The New Testament describes Christians as God’s “elect.” His “adopted” children. A “holy nation.” A “royal priesthood.” A “chosen generation.” And a “special people” (1 Pet. 2:9).
The advice Dee Bowman used to offer his son, Russ, comes to mind, “Remember who you are.”
#4 Be Strong.
The task given to Solomon in building the temple would require strength, fortitude, and determination to compete the job. To His credit, Solomon built a temple that glorified God and was the pride of His people.
Today, as we engage in God’s spiritual work, strength is needed to overcome temptation, trials, and troubles that may sidetrack us from the task at hand. Paul’s exhortation is much needed, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10).
#5 Be courageous.
David knew that Solomon needed both strength and courage. They are Siamese twins of spiritual fortitude. God can strengthen us for the task, but we must have the courage to follow through.
Strength and courage overcome doubt, fear, and indecision. They combine to fortify our minds, calm our emotions, reinforce our faith, and sustain our resolve.
#6 Do it.
“Just do it,” is a familiar slogan today. But centuries prior to Nike, this was David’s charge to Solomon. It’s a call for action. Jump in. Get started. And get the job done.
Our challenge to ministry, discipleship, and evangelistic outreach is no less urgent. Just do it. Or as James admonished, “Be doers of the Word and not hearers only” (Jas. 1;22).
One day we will all find ourselves facing end-of-life decisions and desires. What better advice could we leave our loved ones than the words from “a man after God’s own heart”?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman