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DAVID’S ADVICE TO SOLOMON
1 Chronicles 28:9. And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
WHATEVER may have been their own conduct through life, it is the wish of most men in a dying hour, that their children should walk in the ways of probity and honour. But men of piety have higher views: they wish their children not merely to pass through this world with credit, but to obtain happiness beyond the grave. The advice of David in the words before us, is precisely such as every religious parent would wish to give to his surviving family. Let us observe,
The advice here given—
The occasion was most solemn. David had desired to build a temple for the Lord, but was forbidden; and was directed to devolve that office on his son Solomon. All the princes and great men of the nation were convened to assist at the solemnity: and in the presence of them all did David direct his son,
Whom to seek—
[The terms here used have doubtless a peculiar force, David does not say to his son, “Know thou the God of Israel;” but “Know thou the God of thy father;” by which expression he evidently called the attention of Solomon to the character of Jehovah as exemplified in all his dealings towards him: it is as though he had said, “Know thou that sovereign God, who chose me above all to rule his people Israel — — — Know that almighty God who, in all my dangers from Saul or other enemies, has preserved me to the present hour — — — Know that merciful God who forgave me all my great transgressions in the matter of Uriah — — — and that faithful God who has fulfilled to me all his great and precious promises, in raising up thee to sit on my throne, and to build a temple to the Lord” — — —
“Know” this God: study his character as displayed in all his conduct towards me: acquaint thyself with him in the most intimate and endearing manner: and seek him as thy friend, thy portion, thine eternal great reward! But remember that it is in Christ only that this character of God can be fully seen — — — Seek then to know God as reconciled to you in the Son of his love; and let “this God be your God for ever and ever.”]
How to serve him—
[Integrity of heart is indispensable in all who would serve their God aright. Absolute perfection is not to be expected by fallen man: but that measure of perfection which consists in a total freedom from all guile, not only may, but must, be attained. To be “Israelites indeed,” we must be “without guile.” There must be no lust, which we desire to retain; no duty, from which we draw back; no sacrifice which we are averse to make: the will of God, even his whole will, without any limitation or exception, must be that to which we aim to be conformed — — — And in our labours to fulfil our duty, we must not be constrained by slavish fear, but by filial love. We must feel the service of our God to be perfect freedom; and find all our delight in it, like the angels, who “do his will, hearkening to the voice of his word” — — — As we are to love our God, so also are we to serve him, “with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength.”]
The importance of this charge is strongly marked in,
The considerations with which it is enforced—
Two arguments are here used to impress the more deeply on Solomon’s mind the foregoing exhortation. They are briefly these;
That God is privy to our inmost thoughts—
[If God could judge only by the outward appearance, we might with less danger be inattentive to our hearts: but the heart of man is as visible to him as the sacrifices when flayed and divided asunder were to the priests of old [Note: Hebrews 4:13. τετραχηλισμένα.]. Not the thoughts only, but “the imaginations of the thoughts,” the very first risings of them before they are formed into a distinct apprehension of the mind, are all seen and marked by Him, so as to ascertain with precision their nature and quality; and to make them infallible grounds of condemnation or acquittal in the day of judgment. Not actions only, but “the spirits of men are weighed by him,” so as to discern how much there is of good or evil in every inclination, affection, appetite, and motion of the soul.
What a reason is this for attending to the frame of our minds in the service of our God! That, and that only which is according to his word, will be accepted by him: whatever there is of formality, or hypocrisy, or of any evil principle, will all be separated as chaff from the wheat, to be consumed in the fire, when the wheat is treasured up in his garner. Alas! how little that is truly good, will be found even in the best of men! Consider this, all ye who would find acceptance with God; and endeavour to approve yourselves to Him, “who searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins.”]
That he will deal with us according as we conduct ourselves towards him—
[It is grievous that men should explain away the plainest declarations of God, in order to accommodate them to human systems. There is nothing clearer in all the inspired volume, than that “God will be found of them that seek him, and cast off those who forsake him.” We appeal to the experience of all who are in the slightest degree acquainted with vital godliness. “Did God ever say to any man, Seek my face in vain?” — — — On the other hand, Who ever turned back from him, without suffering loss in his soul? Who has not found that the Spirit of God may be grieved and provoked to withdraw his gracious communications? Most assuredly he will not always strive with man, but will give us up to our own hearts’ lusts, if we wilfully harbour those dispositions or affections which are hateful in his sight. Moreover, in the eternal world, he will recompense every man exactly according to his works; adjudging to his diligent servants a reward proportioned to their diligence in improving their talents, and to the disobedient servants a punishment proportioned to their guilt.
Who can reflect on this, and not feel the force of the advice given in our text? Our happiness both in time and in eternity depends on our present diligence and fidelity. Let us therefore implore help from God, that we may so devote ourselves to him now, as to be approved by him in the day of judgment.]
[You see in David, what should be your chief desire in behalf of your children. We say not that you should be indifferent about their worldly advancement; for that also is important in its place: but your great concern should be to have them truly pious and devoted to God. Labour then, by every possible means, to attain this point. Call them to you, and address them each by name with all tenderness and fidelity; remembering that you yourselves must answer unto God for the influence with which he has invested you for their good; and that, if they perish through your neglect, their blood will be required at your hands.]
To those who are coming forth into life—
[Such advice as that which is given in our text, you are ready to judge premature, or at least to think you have good reason for delaying your attention to it. But are you young, and moving in an elevated sphere, and engaging in concerns of vast importance? So was Solomon: yet were these no reasons for David to withhold the advice, or with Solomon to reject it. Remember, it is for eternity, and not for time only, that you should live; and, if you disregard the admonitions of your parents, they who now so long for your welfare, will be swift witnesses against you at the day of judgment.]
To all who are here present—
[It is not unbecoming a minister of Christ to regard his flock with parental solicitude, or to address them in the language of our text. Let me then address each of you, as it were, in the presence of the whole collective body, and urge you to seek after God with your whole hearts. Rest not in a formal routine of duties, or in a partial conformity to his revealed will: but see that your “hearts are right with him;” and never rest till you have “the witness of his Spirit,” and “the testimony of your own conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity you have your conversation in the world.” Such a state of mind is most desirable for every one of us; and it is the best preparative, no less for the duties of this life, than for the enjoyments of the life to come.]
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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 28". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany