David and Solomon: Contrast
1 Chronicles 29:22-30
And did eat and drink before the LORD on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time…

They made Solomon the son of David king (ver. 22). "Then Solomon sat on the throne... instead of David his father" (ver. 23). "And David died in a good old age . and Solomon his son rejoined in his stead" (ver. 28). We have our thought directed to the respective virtues of the two king, father and son, and the comparative value of their life and reign. In some respects they are open to comparison, but in others to contrast. Both were

(1) kings of united Israel;

(2) servants of Jehovah;

(3) writers of inspired and immortal literature.

But we are more struck with the contrasts than the likenesses between the two. We gather from a survey of their lives and public careers -

I. THAT THE END AND THE BEGINNING OF A COURSE DO NOT ALWAYS ANSWER TO ONE ANOTHER. Who could have supposed that of the shepherd lad of Bethlehem it would be written, "lie died full of days, riches, and honour" (ver. 28); that a prophet of the Lord would write of "his reign and his might" (vers. 29, 30)? His path was an ascending one: from a shepherd he became a victorious combatant, a leader of a band of men, the king of a tribe, the monarch of the land, the sovereign who raised his country to the fulness of its dominion, and impressed on it the love of the Law of the Lord. Solomon began his course as the chosen heir of the beloved king, "magnified exceedingly in the sight of all Israel," etc. (ver. 25), receiving the subjection of all within the kingdom, from the court to the peasantry (ver. 24); he ended his career with no little disapproval in the hearts of those who lamented his spiritual defection, and with no little alienation on the part of those who groaned under the exactions of his magnificence. Let us regard the lowly as those whom God may have fitted and destined for rank and power; let those who are exalted by birth and circumstance remember that there is a downward as welt as an upward path in estimation and influence.

II. THAT BRILLIANCE IS WORTH LITTLE IN COMPARISON WITH SOLID WORTH. David's reign would compare ill with that of his son in respect of brilliancy. His palaces, his retinue, his table, his exchequer, his navy, the outward grandeurs of his reign, were but slight and insignificant in comparison with those of Solomon. But the contribution of David to the unity, consolidation, religious truth, moral excellency of his people was immeasurably greater than that of his brilliant son. In all that is desirable to look back upon at the end of life or from the "other side the river," David's work was better and nobler far. Far more to be desired the life that adds to the virtue, godliness, strength, stability of the community than the one which flashes beams of brightness that fade with the passing day. Better far than any amount of "royal majesty" is the influence for good which lives in human hearts when ours are still in death, and which tells on human lives when ours are closed for ever.

III. THAT PASSING INCONSISTENCY IS LESS TO BE DREADED THAN CONTINUOUS DECLINE. We still look back with unfeigned regret on the lamentable inconsistencies of David; but these were bitterly repented of, and heartily repudiated by himself, and were forgiven by God. Unmeasurably worse was the steady spiritual decline of Solomon, which took him down from the heights of holiness to the deep and miry places of ungodliness and vice. Best of all, the day wherein the sun shines serenely from morning till evening; but better far the day on which the storm sweeps swiftly by and leaves the heavens clear, than that which begins with a brilliant morning, but passes into a clouded noon, and ends in a starless, drenching night. Strenuously and patiently should we strive against "the one dark hour which brings remorse," for that leaves a long, deep shadow on the path of life; but with still more devout and determined energy must we contend against "the sin that burns into the blood," for it is that which decides our destiny, which "will brand us after of whose fold we be."

IV. THAT DIVINE WISDOM IS LOFTIER THAN HUMAN PRUDENCE, and the service of example than that of painful warning. Solomon's writings are not without many passages of sacred import, but the strain of them is rather human than Divine. They teach us rather how to adjust ourselves to our human relations than how to abide in the favour and rise to the resemblance of God. But David's psalms bear the mark of a Divine hand; they breathe throughout the inspiration of God; they take us up to the throne of the heavenly King; they help us toward the possession of his likeness. Solomon, in his most fascinating work (Ecclesiastes), warns his readers from the perilous snare by recounting his own sad experiences. He says to us continually, "Be not as I was; shun the path I trod, that you share not the fate I suffer." But David, in his immortal songs, invites his readers to accompany him along the path of life, to resort with him to the throne of grace; he pours out of a full heart the devotion, gratitude, and sacred joy of which his pages are full, and says for ever to the Church of God, "Walk with me in the way of wisdom, drink with me the waters of life; let us partake, together, the truth which is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb; let us gather, together, the heavenly treasure which will make richer than the fine gold of earth, which will make 'rich toward God," even rich for evermore." - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And did eat and drink before the LORD on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the LORD to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest.

WEB: and ate and drink before Yahweh on that day with great gladness. They made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him to Yahweh to be prince, and Zadok to be priest.

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