Then David called for his son Solomon and instructed him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel.
I. SECURING DIVINE DIRECTION. "Only the Lord give thee wisdom and understanding" (ver. 12). David clearly felt, as this "only" indicates, that everything would utterly fail if God did not grant his Divine succour. That failing, everything must prove to be a failure.
II. ENSURING PERSONAL FITNESS. (Vers. 7-9.) David was rendered personally unfit for the work by his much fighting. It was not fitting that a man of war should build the temple of the God of love. The two things did not go well together. It was far more becoming that Solomon, the "man of rest," should execute this work. Our guilty past may have been pardoned, our occupation may not be absolutely wrong, our surroundings may not be censurable, our position may not be blameworthy, and yet there may be something about one of these which makes it unsuitable for us and desirable for some one else to do the work which is required to be done.
III. MAINTAINING PERSONAL INTEGRITY. (Vers. 11-13.) "Prosper thou, and build the house... that thou mayest keep the Law of the Lord thy God. Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed," etc. God distinctly promised to be Solomon's Father, and to establish his throne (ver. 10); but this prosperity must depend on loyalty and the keeping of the Law. Without the maintenance of our moral and spiritual integrity we cannot expect to be prospered in any work we do for God.
IV. MAKING ALL DUE PREPARATION. Solomon would have found himself overtasked and unable to do as he did if David had not "in his trouble prepared for the house" (vers. 14-16). The aged king may be said to have laid the foundation of the building by all the pains he took to collect material and make everything ready for his son to begin the work. We never strike a better stroke in the service of God than when we are engaged in the work of preparation. Moses in Horeb, Paul in Arabia, the Master himself in the quiet home in Galilee and the still more quiet resting-place of the mountain-fold and the seaside of after days, we ourselves in the chamber of communion and at the study desk, are "working for God," for we are doing that which is positively essential to true, abiding issues in the field of Christian labour.
V. ACTING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REVEALED WILL OF CHRIST, "Build the house of the Lord... as he hath said of thee (ver. 11).
VI. CHERISHING THE CONFIDENCE WHICH IS CLOSELY ALLIED TO STRENGTH. Be strong, and of good courage" (ver. 13). There is a confidence which is presumption, and which will be dishonoured; but there is a confidence which is in the truth and in God, and which is a large element of success. Where the diffident are defeated, the assured and courageous win. Let the Christian workman fee! that behind him are Divine promises which "cannot be broken," and he will advance boldly and strike successfully.
VII. MAKING THE WAY PLAIN FOR OUR SUCCESSORS. (Vers. 6-16.) Nothing is more hateful than the spirit of "apres moi le deluge." No worthy Christian workman will be content unless, like David, as he considers who and what are to come after him, he feels a devout thankfulness that he has made a plain path for his successors, in which they may walk in peace, honour, and usefulness. We may place by itself as a condition of success which is involved in some of the foregoing, but yet which deserves to be mentioned separately, cultivating and exhibiting the spirit of devotion. Thrice in this paternal counsel does David invoke the presence and blessing of Almighty God (nets. 11, 12, 16). It is in the spirit of conscious dependence on God and earnest uplooking to him for his Divine help (Psalm 30:10) that the workman of the Lord will render successful service to his Master and mankind. - C.
Then he called for Solomon his son.
Monday Club Sermons.I. A FATHER'S PRIVILEGE.
1. To cherish a lofty ideal for his son. This does not require that the father should undertake to decide the particulars of his son's career. This would involve the danger of weakening his will, of lessening his power of independent judgment and free choice. I have seen an apricot tree trained to a wall, trunk and branch fastened to it by nails and bands. It made a vine of what was meant to be a tree. If it had been taken from the wall it would have lain limp on the ground.
2. To make the example of his own daily living one which will help and stimulate his son. A wise father will recognise the fact that he commends to his boy, not that which he praises, but that which he pursues. It is not by telling our children what we wish them to become that we mould them most effectually; it is by the evidence which they get from our daily living, as to bur main desire and hope for them. The unintended influence of the home is that which will move them most. The atmospheric influence is more pervasive than that which comes from medicine.
3. He may provide means by which his son may carry out his purpose and friends to help him in it.
II. A SON'S ADVANTAGE. From all that a good father thus can do a son has no small advantage.
1. By the law of heredity.
2. By this harmonious environment a wise father can largely shape the influences under which his son grows up.
3. By the improved opportunity which comes to him as his father's son and heir. Solomon has but to keep with care what David has acquired with hard work. The son stands naturally upon the platform to reach which the father has come by climbing the steep ladder. Many a son to-day has grand opportunity for noble living which has been gained for him by the toils of those who have gone before him. But only opportunity. There is a sermon in the word opportunity. It is that which is ob portus, over against the harbour; but there your fleet may rot at anchor as readily as it may be submerged at sea. The skilful master must raise the anchor, set the sail, take advantage of the favouring breeze, steer his craft to port, or all the shipbuilder's skill has been for naught. All the advantages of the most favoured son will amount to nothing unless he will himself arise and build. Honour is not in what is inherited, but in what is accomplished.
(Monday Club Sermons.)
David's charge to SolomonI. THAT SOME ORIGINATE A GOOD WORK, BUT ARE NOT PERMITTED TO EXECUTE IT.
II. THAT OTHERS MAY BE CALLED TO EXECUTE WORK WHICH THEY NEVER ORIGINATED.
III. THAT WHEN CALLED, THEY SHOULD FINISH THE WORK GIVEN THEM TO DO.
But the word of the Lord came to me, saying
1. Say that the Lord delivered the message immediately in audible words, we have then the doctrine that God will not permit men of blood to end their career as if they had been guiltless of blood-shedding.
2. Say that David uttered these words out of the depths of his own consciousness, then we have the doctrine that there is a moral fitness of things that hands stained with blood should not be put forth in the erection of a house of prayer. The house of God is to be a house of peace, the sanctuary of rest, a Sabbatic building, calm with the tranquillity of heaven, unstained by the vices and attachments of earth.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Behold, a son shall be born to thee
II. III. IV. V. VI. (Biblical Museum.) (J. Parker, D. D.)
III. IV. V. VI. (Biblical Museum.) (J. Parker, D. D.)
IV. V. VI. (Biblical Museum.) (J. Parker, D. D.)
(Biblical Museum.) (J. Parker, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)