Introduction

When a person life is approaching death, that is when he realise his time is short. So therefore he will put in a lot of effort to do things that matters most to him. If they had not drawn up a will, they will put in the effort to write one. Sometimes they may even leave behind important notes and instructions to their family member.

1 Kings 2:1 reads

“Now the days of David drew near
  that he should die, and he charged
  Solomon his son, saying”- 1 Kings 2:1

As David is drawing close to the end of his life, he left his will for Solomon, they contained many of his unfulfilled wishes and instruction. If one were to read this on the surface, it will appear as if it contains many of his personal grudge against people.

But the truth is that the contents of his will concern the kingdom of God. He made them so that both the kingdom and the king would have security.

In the kingdom of God, words of God is used as a standard for right and wrong, those who keep the commandments of God receive the bless while those who went against God will be met with judgement.

These blessings and judgement can be seen clearly in the will of David.

Let us learn from the will and see what lessons can we get out of there.

The 1st Will : To Keep The Commandments Of God

“I go the way of all the earth; be strong,
  therefore, and prove yourself a man. 
  And keep the charge of the Lord your God:

  to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes,
  His commandments, His judgments, and
  His testimonies, as it is written in the Law
  of Moses, that you may prosper in all that
  you do and wherever you turn;  

   that the Lord may fulfill His word which
  He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your
  sons take heed to their way, to walk before
  Me in truth with all their heart and with
  all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack
  a man on the throne of Israel.’- David (1 Kings 2:2-24)

The first will of David is perhaps the longest part of the will, over here he instructed Solomon to prove himself a man. Every dad hopes that his children will be strong and courageous, that is why they trained them to be like this since young.

But have we ever wonder “Why is there a need to be strong and courageous?”

In life we encounter many people, some may be good while some bad. In the face of enemies if we appear weak and fearful, we would be bullied and manipulated by others. It is true that we must be strong and courageous when facing problems in life.

Being Strong And Courageous Before God

But David is not referring to Solomon facing his problems in life. He wanted Solomon to be a man and be strong in the words of the Lord. this is far more important.

Today we had many men who are hard and strong when it comes to dealing with issues of the world, these man appear fearless, and courageous in face of problems in life. But they are small and weak before the words of God. They are afraid of facing God and are unable to stand before the judgment seat of God. 

It is good to be strong and courageous in the world, for it will bring benefits and riches. But one would stand to lose if he appears weak and small before God. This is why David reminded Solomon to keep the words of God, for there are consequences for not following the commandments of the Lord. 

One would prosper if he keep the commands of God and God promised that David will never lack a man on the throne of Israel if his children were to walk with God wholeheartedly.

David knew that  the safety of the king and his kingdom depends on the faithfulness of the king before the Lord.

In order to be faithful to the Lord, Solomon needs to keep the word of God fully. He must never subtract or transgress against it. For if he went against God, he will bring disasters to himself, his family as well as his kingdom.

David had such experience when he went against the commandment of the Lord. The bible records of 2 of such incidents. They serve as a warning to everyone who reads it. Let us consider these 2 incidents.

David’s sin of Adultery And Murder

The first time he committed sin was when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Uriah was a warrior of David and he was fighting in the frontlines when it happened.

David first broke the 7th Commandment by committing Adultery with Bathsheba. When he discovered that Bathsheba was pregnant, he tried hard to cover the sin. He summoned Uriah to the palace. He was hoping that he will go home and stay with Bathsheba. By so doing there will be no suspicion when they found Bathsheba pregnant

The plan failed, then David proceeded to break the 6th commandment, he ordered Joab to get Uriah killed in battle. Joab must sent Uriah to the battle front and withdraw. That will allow Uriah to be killed on the battlefield. It will appear as if the enemies killed him

Finally he broke the 10th commandments when he took Bathsheba the widow as his own wife. Even though the actions of David appeared legal in the eyes of the Law (all he did was to marry the widow Bathsheba), but God looked beyond his physical action.  

The sin of David brought disaster onto his family as well as his kingdom.

His son Ammon rape and committed incest with Tamar his sister. Ammon was eventually killed by Absalom. Later on Absalom rebelled against King David and he tried to take his fathers throne. His rebellion led to a civil war within Israel

David’s sin of Numbering Israel

David once commanded Joab to number the kingdom of Israel. This was recorded in 1 Chron 21:1-4. Usually it is common for a country to take censes of the people to gather the statistics. For the country needed to know its population, and how large their army is. That statistic is often used as a sign of the glory of the nation. It is also the glory of the ruler.

But this is not the same in the case of ancient Israel. She is the nation belonging to God. All her glory must be given to God. That is why the King is not allowed to number the people. Numbering of Israel is only permitted if God commands so. God had commanded Moses to number the people when they left Egypt, they had a similar census carried out just before crossing the Jordan.

But the king should not number the people for his glory. Even though he may be tempted to see how powerful and glorious he is, but he must restraint himself not to number the people.

That is the reason why Joab said that it is against the will of God. He said to King David

“May the Lord make His people a
  hundred times more than they
  are. But, my lord the king, are
  they not all my lord’s servants? 
  Why then does my lord require
  this thing? Why should he be a
  cause of guilt in Israel?”- Joab (1 Chron 21 :3)

Sadly, David ignored his advice, and Joab had no choice but to carry out the work. the action of David displeased god greatly.

“And God was displeased with this thing;
  therefore He struck Israel.
   So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and
  seventy thousand men of Israel fell.” – 1 Chron 21:7,14)

On the surface, this will appear as if God was unfair, for David had acknowledge his sin

“I have sinned greatly, because I
  have done this thing; but now,
  I pray, take away the iniquity of
  Your servant, for I have done
  very foolishly.” – David(1 Chron 21: 8)

Why then did God kill 70 thousand Israelites? This punishment seem so unfair that David pleaded with the Lord again

“Was it not I who commanded the
  people to be numbered? I am the
  one who has sinned and done evil
  indeed; but these sheep, what have
  they done? Let Your hand, I pray, O
  Lord my God, be against me and my
  father’s house, but not against Your
  people that they should be plagued.”- David (1 Chron 21:17)

David knew that he must face up to the judgment of God, but he did not expect the punishment to be so severe. But was God being unrighteous when he killed those men?

No, for God does not judge wrongly. If we were to look at this on the surface, it will appear as if God is being unfair. But if we consider the full truth then we would refrain from commenting.

Let us examine this closely.

The Question Regarding The Fairness Of God

it is true that King David issued the command to number Israel. But it is also noted that many of the leaders of Israel wanted it to be done as well. Even though all could  understand that it is wrong to number Israel but yet they did not object to it.

Everyone had heard the order of King David, but only Joab spoke out against it.

Today when we see a man on the verge of committing sin, will we take the effort to stop him?

Joab is not the only person who heard the order, the other elders must have heard it as well. But none of them tried to stop King David. If all were to oppose him, King David may not have proceeded to number the people.

Sadly, only Joab spoke against David, while everyone else kept quiet. As they have chosen to remain silent they too have a part in the sins of David. Therefore they must face the judgement of God. If they are willing to repent, they may not have to go through judgment and die.

This can be seen in the fact that God had spared Joab for conducting the censes.

Lets consider this, Joab was the man who physically conducted the censes yet why did God no punish him?  It is most likely because Joab had already spoken out against the King and he already said that it was a sin.

There are further example of Joab making the point.

But he did not count Levi and
  Benjamin among them, for the
  king’s word was abominable to Joab.” – (1 Chron 21:6 )

Over here the tribes of Levi and Benjamin are not numbered, for Joab found the command of David abominable. Joab did not agree with David and he openly show his displeasure for the kings command.  That is why God was gracious and did not charge Joab for numbering Israel. He was merely a soldier following an order from the King 

Lesson For Us Today

We need to obey the commands of the Lord for it is our duty to do so. But if we were to see someone transgressing the word of God. We need to be like Joab and advice him against it. For if we remain silent, we will have a part in his sin.

So Paul reminds us not to be a part of the sin of others.

“I charge you before God and the
  Lord Jesus Christ and the elect
  angels that you observe these
  things without prejudice, doing
  nothing with partiality.  Do not
  lay hands on anyone hastily, nor
  share in other people’s sins; keep
  yourself pure.” – Paul (1 Tim 5:20-22)

Paul is talking about the authority to church.   The church had the right to pass judgement,  but her judgment must be based on the word of God. The church must maintain order  based on the word of God. They need to continue to warn and execute judgement when necessary.

On the most severe cases, she may even need to excommunicate people. But the duty to  judge must be exercised with care. Just like the way Paul instructed Timothy. 

“Do not receive an accusation
  against an elder except from
  two or three witnesses.  
 
Those who are sinning rebuke
  in the presence of all, that the
  rest also may fear.” – Paul (1 Tim 5:19-20)

Paul reminded Timothy to be careful when accepting a charge against an elder. He is only to accept the charge when there are 2-3 witness. This is ensure that the complaint is not a personal grudge.

If anyone have a personal grudge against an elder, they ought to resolve it among themselves. However if the complaint concern the well-being in the church, 2-3 witnesses are needed.  If the complaint is true, and the actions of the elder brings harm to the church, necessary actions must be taken to address the issue.

The church must be cautious  when dealing with an accusation against the elder. At the same time the church must not intrude into the privacy of her members. The church needs to rebuke openly when necessary. So that everyone who heard it will be careful and be watchful.  

Paul reminds Timothy to observe these words and they are important points about church management. Paul told him not to be hasty in laying hand on others, for if he does that he will have a part in his sin.

Conclusion So Far

The bible teaches us to obey the commandments and not to transgress against them. But if we see someone sinning, it is our duty to warn and advise him against it. IF we fail to do so, we will share in his sin

Joab had did well and he had left  a good example for us to learn.

Through the experience of David, we can know the safety of both the king and his kingdom depended on his faithfulness to the law of God

Therefore David instructed Solomon to obey the commandments of God. For if he observe the commands of God, God will abide with him. When God abides with us, we receive blessings and not punishment

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