1 When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. 2 "I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, show yourself a man, 3 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, 4 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.Be Strong, Be Courageous, and Be Faithful. Is this a legacy you would like your children to have?
Be Strong. What kind of strength do you want your children to have? Was David interested in a kingly strength, a physically powerful strength that is about being able to defend one's nation? Is this a superhero kind of strength when we have the power to defeat our enemy? Is there an alternative to this style of strength that is about force? My foil for David this week is Horton the Elephant. We see a strength found in compassion. Horton is the elephant who believes that a person is a person no matter what size. In Horton Hatches an egg, a lazy bird Mayzie decides she doesn't want to hatch her egg. She needs a vacation and tricks Horton into sitting on her egg. Horton sits on this egg through rain and snow, through the teasing of friends and their ability to play, through the terror of hunters, through a cage and boat. Yet, he remains with the egg. He stays with the egg, guarding it, caring for it. Horton shows strength of character by his compassion and determination to take care of the egg.
Be courageous. Did David mean he wanted Solomon to be brave or was he hoping that Solomon would have courage in the face of fear? Nelson Mandela is a person I believe represent both strength and courage. In Richard Stengel's book Mandela's Way, he writes that Mandela often spoke of being scared. "He was scared during the Rivinia Trial that led to life in prison; he was scared when wardens on Robben Island threatened to beat him; he was scared when he was an underground fugitive known in the press as the 'Black Pimpernel'; he was scared when he secretly began talks with the government; and he was scared during the turbulent before the election that would make him president of South Africa." But Mandela had learned early in life that to act in spite of fear. He learned not to let fear stop you from fighting injustice and righting wrongs. Courage is acting in spite of fear.
Be Faithful. David encourages Solomon to follow the laws of Moses, to walk in God's way. What a legacy for our children to teach them to be faithful to God with their heart and soul? David through his life shows us how one can live one's life with God and yet still be fallible. He is not prefect. He commits adultery and murder. He breaks many of the commandments and yet he shows great faith in God. He shows a person who can praise God with heart and soul and yet still be human. Although Horton is probably a more faithful in that he shows what it means to be there and protect someone no matter the circumstances. As Horton says: I said what I mean and I meant what I said. An elephant's faithful one hundred percent.
Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be Faithful.