1 Kings 2:1-11
Now the days of David drew near that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,…
1 Kings 2:1-11. Holy Scripture gives us many a touching and pathetic description of the death of the father of a family, showing how it at once sanctions and sanctifies natural affection. The farewells of David remind us of those of Jacob. Death sometimes seems to fill the men of God of the old covenant with the spirit of prophecy, as if the summit of the earthly life was illuminated with a purer radiance falling upon it from a higher sphere. Death is indeed to all the messenger of God to reveal to us great truths; it is a great prophet.
I. Death shows to us WHERE ENDS THE WAY OF ALL THE EARTH (1 Kings 2:2). Pascal says, "However brilliant the tragedy may have been, the end is always death. From every grave which is dug comes a voice crying, Memento mori."
II. DEATH TEACHES US TO LOOK AT OUR PAST EXISTENCE AS A WHOLE, as from a height we look down on the plain below. It brings out the great object of life, the essential truth too often drowned in the busy hum of the world. David thinks no more at this hour of the glory or of the pleasures of life. Its one great end stands out more clearly before him to walk in the ways of the Lord, to keep His statutes and His commandments. This is wisdom and prudence.
III. DEATH REMINDS THE SERVANTS OF GOD THAT THEIR WORK DOES NOT PERISH WITH THEM; that none of them, not even the greatest, is an indispensable instrument of the work; that they are only links in the chain. Thus the torch which is to enlighten the world is passed from hand to hand.
IV. THE INHERITANCE OF A HOLY WORK TO BE CARRIED ON is the best of those blessings which, according to God's promise, are to rest upon His people to the third and fourth generations (Exodus 20:6). A great responsibility rests upon a Christian family, and their education ought to be conducted with a view to it. This succession in piety, in living and acting faith, is more important and more real than the succession by means of official ordination.
V. Every servant of God, in his death, may say with Jesus Christ, "IT IS EXPEDIENT FOR YOU THAT I GO AWAY;" "YE SHALL DO GREATER THINGS THAN THESE." It is well to know, when our work is done, that it will be carried on by another. With Solomon, the Jewish theocracy received a new development, such as it had never known in the time of David. It is well for us to die, even for the sake of the work of God, which we are called to accomplish up to a certain point, but no further.
VI. How much BETTER STILL IS IT FOR US TO DIE, when we look at it in the light of eternity. "David slept with his fathers (ver. 10), but only like them to be carried home to God, to rest in Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:22). For ourselves, we may say with St. Paul, "To depart, and be with Christ is far better" (Philippians 1:18). - E. DE P.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,