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sunset May 18 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Kings 1:1-2:11; Psalm 131; Psalm 25; 2Samuel 23:1-7; 1Chronicles 29:26-30; 1Kings 2:12; 1Chronicles 29:23-25; Psalm72

Ending Well

We have worked all our lives and perhaps invested in children, businesses, non-profit organizations or other worthwhile things; so how do we end well? It doesn't happen automatically; we must be faithful. And, sometimes, late in life, we still have to take steps to protect a legacy. We should not do this from selfish pride, but for the good of future generations.

In today's Bible reading David has to protect his legacy late in life. David is an old king but is still plagued by his past sins. Psalm 25 appears to have been written about this time. David still fights feelings of shame for his previous misdeeds. He says to God in Psalm 25, “Remember not the sins of my youth.” Our sins, even when forgiven by God, can still trouble us. If we walk with God continually, the older we get the more sin troubles us emotionally and spiritually. At the end of our life we want to know we are right with God before we meet Him. The good news is that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” (1John 1:9, NIV).

Just before his death, King David has to put down a rebellion that threatens the kingdom. Although Solomon is anointed as king (see yesterday's lesson), he is not yet installed on David's throne. This hesitation allows an opportunity for David's son, Adonijah, to stage a coup to take the throne. Negligence regarding Absalom had caused trouble for David before, and now it is again happening with another son. David saw the mischief in his son, Adonijah, and yet neither said nor did anything about it (1Kings 1:6). Because of that neglect, his son Adonijah sets himself up to be king. Perhaps he thinks David is to be too old and feeble to do anything to stop him. When David is informed of the coup, he stops Adonijah's rebellion right away by installing Solomon as king, instead of waiting until his own death. Here are some lessons we might learn from this instance:

  • It is the duty of fathers to discipline their children. If we do not discipline our children faithfully, that negligence can come back to hurt, not only them, but us.
  • We may see threats to our home or organization by those who would be “king.” We cannot ignore them. We must deal promptly with them and the earlier the better. This lesson is true whether we are raising strong-willed children or dealing with overly ambitious leaders in an organization.

The last act of David, the righteous king of Israel, was to admonish his son Solomon.

When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’” (1King 2:1-4, NIV)

It appears from Psalm 72:20 that David composes a prayer for his son Solomon not long before he dies (more…). When our children leave home, or we are at the end of our life, or we leave an organization, it is a good idea to urge them to walk with integrity before God, to act justly, and even to pray for them. The greatest success comes from following God; He gives the blessing and prosperity. What does David pray for his son? David prays Solomon will exercise justice and righteousness like God. If Solomon will do that, the psalmist is confident he will prosper.

David also exhorts Solomon to deal with some unfinished business to secure his throne. We will look at how Solomon does this in our next lesson, but today we can learn that threats must be eliminated (if possible), reduced, or at least controlled. It is best that they are dealt with right away, but if that is not possible, or we have neglected to do so, still they must be dealt with to help secure prosperity for the future.

David had been patient with his commander Joab, but Joab did not always follow the king's will. He needed to be removed. In contrast, when David had to leave Jerusalem, Barzillai of Gilead was kind to provide food for the king and his whole assembly, and so David wants to remember his sons with kindness.

David had been unusually kind to Shimei, who was of Saul's tribe of Benjamin. He pelted David and his soldiers with rocks when they left Jerusalem. Although Shimei begged for forgiveness and received it, he apparently was troublesome to David. He needed to be put down. David told Solomon to do it because David had promised not to put Shimei to death. Is there unfinished business we need to deal with to secure prosperity for the next generation? We do not mean killing anyone; capital punishment must be determined and exercised by our governing officials (David was the king, the head governing official).

The broad lesson we can learn from David is to deal with unfinished business that could be detrimental to the future leadership and prosperity of the organization. We need to make sure that is done with wisdom and fairness.

The importance of leaving a godly legacy is found in David's last words:

The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: “When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.

Is not my house right with God? Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part? Will he not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire?” (in 2Samuel 23:3-5, NIV)

Faithful believers will eventually enjoy the spiritual fruits of their labors. They leave a good legacy, not only for their own benefit, but for those who follow. We need to leave the next generation with the best chance for success and prosperity by ending well.

Lessons to Live By

•  At the end of our life we want to know we are right with God before we meet Him. The good news for us is that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” (1John 1:9, NIV). (more...)

•  It is the duty of fathers to discipline their children. If we do not discipline our children faithfully, that negligence can come back to hurt, not only them, but us.

•  We must deal with threats promptly and fairly, and the earlier the better. This lesson is true whether we are raising strong-willed children or dealing with overly ambitious leaders in an organization. This helps us to secure future prosperity.

•  When our children leave home, or we are at the end of our life, or we leave an organization, it is a good idea to urge them to walk righteously and justly before God; He gives the blessing and prosperity.

Today’s Bible Memory Verse

1Kings 2:2b-3

“So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.”(NIV)

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

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