DAVID AND SOLOMON AND THE OBSERVANCE OF

THE FIRST COMMANDMENT.

People are always told about the story of David and Goliath but I invite you for a change to read

another story, the one about about David and Solomon.

Why was David so successful during most of his life and why was he according to the heart of Yahweh?

On the other hand, why did Solomon fail so miserably during the second part of his life?

What are the differences between these two kings separated by only one generation?

Can we establish a comparison for today's life? What lesson can a Christian learn from this comparison?

Let us discover the answers to all these questions in the Word of our Father.


King David.


 

David grew when the kingdom of Israel was under the threat of Philistines, a powerful nation who emigrated few hundreds years ago out of the island of Caphtor, another name for Crete. The living conditions in Israel at that time were precarious and people were not wealthy.

In the days before David, when the judges were ruling the country, many wars devastated the land of Israel. The cruelty of the enemies is frightening:

 

"Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, on this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel." (I Samuel 11:1-2)

 

Several times Israel was deprived from his harvests and suffered from starvation.

Oppression is so strong that one day the Arch of Yahweh was taken by the enemy as a trophy!

 

"And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.." (I Samuel 5:1-2).

 

The people are so despaired that they are looking everywhere for a saver to rule the country and finally, Yahweh agreed to be replaced by a king named Saul:

 

"And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom Yahweh hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king. Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said how shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought no presents. But he held his peace." (I Samuel 10:24-27).

 

These passages summarize rather well the precariousness of the life in Israel during the childhood of David.

David is the last born of the large family of Jesse. Like Jesus, he did not have anything to attract the glance of others. Let us read in the bible how he was found and anointed by Samuel!

 

"And Yahweh said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons...

And Samuel did that which Yahweh spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto Yahweh: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely Yahweh's anointed is before him. But Yahweh said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for Yahweh seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Yahweh looketh on the heart...

And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And Yahweh said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of Yahweh came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah." (I Samuel 16: 1, 4-7, 11-13).

David did not live in a palace and he did not receive the education of a future king; on the contrary, he serves his father as a shepherd on his flock. He is also a servant for his brothers who however scorned him as we can read in the following story:

 

"And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.  And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp of thy brethren; and carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.

Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle…

And the men of Israel said, have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel. And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, what shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? And the people answered him after this manner, saying, so shall it be done to the man that killeth him.

And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. And David said, what have I now done? Is there not a cause? And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner." (I Samuel 17: 17-20, 25-30).

 

But, if you have paid attention, in the same story we can discover the true nature of David:

Since his early childhood, David did not have any other gods before Yahweh.

 

The fight and victory over Goliath took place because David could not accept the insult made by the Philistine against Yahweh! At the opposite, the army of Israel standing on the battleground was silent and did not move during the insult because it had several other gods before Yahweh:

First of all Goliath who frightened them by his gigantic size and his aggressiveness!

Second, their selfishness, the concern to protect their own lives and a complete lack of faith in their Lord. By the way, it is the right place to tell you that our worst enemy in front of our Father is often ourselves and we will address this point in a forthcoming chapter.

The friends' circle of David is not very recommendable; indeed, David, after having been anointed by Yahweh, must face the jealousy of Saul who wants even to kill him. While escaping in the desert, David is joined by a group of ruined and disappointed people:

 

"David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men." (I Samuel 22:1-2).

 

David relies on Yahweh for his daily food as we can read in the following:

 

"And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, the king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place. Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present. And the priest answered David, and said, there is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women. And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before Yahweh, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away."

(I Samuel 21:2-6).

 

This fragile situation did not change when David started officially to reign after the death of Saul. During most of his life, David was uncertain about what would be his next day.

Indeed, after having fighted the Philistines and being pursued by Saul, David saw his throne threatened by his sons and his servants. Even at the end of his reign, he was obliged to flee Jerusalem and to ask for protection in the territory of the Ammonites!

We invite you to discover in another article entitled "Trials and punishments" why David had to undergo all these events. This text can only be found in the French part under the title "épreuves et châtiments":

A second aspect of David's character and the direct consequence of his wish to obey the first commandment, is his efforts to put an end to his sins. David is investing all his efforts to eliminate sins from his house in a same way we should eliminate the leaven, a symbol for sin, from our houses at the time of Passover! Let us read how David speaks in psalm 119:

 

Make me understand the way of Your precepts; so shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word. Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me Your law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me. I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame! I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart.

Teach me, O Yahweh, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way…

Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day…"

(Psalm 119: 27-37 and 97).

 

All day long, the law of Yahweh is in the back of David's mind and there is no better proof showing that David is doing all his effort to have no other god before Yahweh. The fruit of David's behaviour is described in the continuation of the psalm, verse 151:

 

"You are near, O LORD, and all Your commandments are truth.."

 

A spectacular example of the strong attachement of David for his Lord is his attitude after his sins of adultery and crime following the rapt of Bath-sheba, Uriah's wife. With humility and without any spirit of rebellion, he recognized the serious sins he committed and accepted that his life was now pending in the hands of Yahweh who is the only one who can save him from the death penalty, the only wages of sin. This is what Paul writes in his epistle to the Romans (chapter 6, verse 23).

 

All this reveals us that our Father likes who is humble and always looking to help his next. We should never believe that we have anything to attract the glance of the others and we must recognize that anything we do that seems worthwhile is a gift from Yahweh and of His Holy Spirit in us if we are true Christian. This kind of attitude is a key to avoid that our pride will become like a god before Yahweh!

 

David lived primarily with this attitude until his death and tried to never have any god before Yahweh.


King Solomon.


 

The life of king Solomon is quite different! Since his birth, Solomon is prepared for the kingdom. He receives an education of prince in the palace of his father. He does not meet any opposition as we can read in the following:

 

"Then Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him. All the leaders and the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David, submitted themselves to King Solomon. So Yahweh exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel."

(I Chronicles 29: 23-25)

 

During his reign, Solomon never had to face precarious living conditions and during most of his lifetime, his kingdom was in peace. Solomon was surrounded by gold and treasures and  by a high and educated society.

 

"So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. 23And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year. Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem. So he reigned over all the kings from the River, to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland. And they brought horses to Solomon from Egypt and from all lands."

(II Chronicles 9: 22-27).

 

On the contrary of David who contemplated the Word of Yahweh, Solomon did not take into account this warning:

 

"For Yahweh your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless Yahweh your God for the good land which He has given you.
"Beware that you do not forget Yahweh your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest--when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied;  when your heart is lifted up, and you forget Yahweh your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
 " (Deutéronome 8: 10-14).

 

Solomon forgot that each day, Yahweh is the only One who grants him food, wisdom and wealthiness. Instead of seeking to become better and to eliminate from his house the leaven, symbol of the sin, Solomon opened the door to the sin and he disobeyed the first commandment ordering not to have other gods before Yahweh!

 

"For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to Yahweh his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and did not fully follow Yahweh, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

So Yahweh became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from Yahweh God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, "

(I Kings 11: 4-9).


Today in the world.


 

Didn't we live these days something similar to David and Solomon for the generations of the twentieth this century? During first half of the century life was extremely similar to that of David if one thinks in particular of the two world wars, the value of the food that was really obtained in the sweat of the face. The starving in the Eastern European countries of Europe and in particular in Germany and the crisis of 1929 in the United States are few events showing the precariousness of life and the need for humbleness. Puting aside the wars, this precariousness of the life pushed the western world to show some civisim in its behaviour and to transmit some education to their children. But let us jump in the second half of the twentieth century, and we discover a new type of people, people a little like Solomon at the end of his reign. There is no more war but peace in the west, an abundance in all goods, so much food coming from all the parts of the world that one throws it whereas so many men in the Third World are dying from starvation. The comfort in our dwellings is unheard of with our fully equipped kitchens, televisions, video and sound equipment for music installation, luxirious cars  and so on. But unfortunately today, step by step civism is disappearing as well as  morality; the humbleness is replaced by pride, each one believes he should becone a manager of the others and cannot accept to be a servant anymore! More and more and without noticing it, all the thoughts of man turn to evil as our Lord had prophesied when he said:

 

"But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Mattieu 24: 37)

 

Indeed the thoughts of mankind at the time of Noah was turned only to evil as the Bible is telling us:

 

"Then Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6: 5).

 

 

Jesus- Christ knew well in advance that the people who would live at the end of this world shortly before his advent would live in abundance and would run the same risk as Solomon; let us read about this aspect in Luc 21: 34

 

"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life and that Day come on you unexpectedly...."

 

Isn't it striking to see that even the unemployed people or the "poor" in western countries  often are wasting the "little" which they gain (that would be a fortune for those of the Third World) by drinking alcohol in excess or smoking while destroying their health? Matthiew, who wrote under inspiration his book, knew that the warnings pronounced by Jesus-Christ were  addressed to ALL THE READERS of the Bible wherever they are on earth.

These READERS are asked to open very carefully their eyes to catch and understand the important warnings! Indeed, we can read in Matthieu 24:15

 

"... whoever reads, let him understand!"

 


Today in the Church of the Father.


 

If the non-Christian world has a lot of reason to not hear nor listen the warnings of Jesus-Christ, one would expect that at least the Christians will hear and take into account all these teachings to save their lives! But unfortunately, here also the people of our Lord will  disapppoint their Father, as  the Churches will behave in the same way as David and Solomon. Indeed on one side, there will be a Church conscious of her weakness and which will put all her confidence in her Father like David did; this is the famous Church of Philadelphia, a Church that will love her brother according to the meaning of her name.

 

"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
"These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie--indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
(Apocalypse 3: 7-11).

 

But unfortunately, side by side with the Church of Philadelphia, there will be another Church, the Church  of Laodicea! The Church of Laodicea will live in the same environment as Solomon since she will have the impression that she is rich and that she doesn' t need anything. She will not follow the laws of the Bible but, as according to the meaning of her name, she will follow the laws of the people. Like Solomon, the Church of Laodicea will be seduced and will be attracted by the materialism of the dying world:

 

"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
"These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
" (Apocalypse 3: 14-20).

 

Then, before it is too late, take this advice of Paul:

 

"Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light."
Walk in Wisdom! See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

(Ephésiens 5: 14-17).

 

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