Torah reading: Genesis 47:28-50:26
Haftorah reading: I Kings 2:1-12
Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: “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.’ ” I Kings 2: 1-4
David, son of Jesse – Israel’s greatest king, apart from the Messiah – recognized that he was but a man and shared the common destiny of all men. Knowing he would soon pass from this life, David gave a final charge to his son, Solomon.
Perhaps David sensed some weakness in Solomon. Perhaps he knew Solomon would be tested in far greater ways than he was. Whatever the exact reason was, David knew Solomon needed strength and courage. Great responsibilities require great strength and courage.
David also knew that Solomon could not be strong or courageous without obedient fellowship with God. In this place of obedient fellowship, Solomon would prosper in all that he did.
David had a general reason to exhort Solomon to obedience, but he also had a specific reason, a specific promise of God. God promised David that as long as his sons walked in obedience, they would keep the throne of Israel. This was an amazing promise. No matter what the Assyrians or the Egyptians or the Babylonians did, as long as David’s sons were obedient and followed God with their heart and with all their soul, God would establish and protect their kingdom.
We love to read about the promises of God but sometimes overlook the condition tied to those promises. The book of Deuteronomy is filled with the repetition of the words: “If you will….I will…” If WE will love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength, than HE will dispense blessing, protection and prosperity of soul and body to us in proportion to our obedience to Him. This is an uncompromising principle in God’s Word.
Here are some examples of this principle:
Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all the nations you will be My treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep His covenant of love with you, as He swore to your forefathers. Deut. 7:12
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from the way that I command you today by following other gods which you have not known. Deut. 11:26-28
If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. Psalm 91:9-10
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land… Isaiah 1:18-19
The promises of God can be likened to a spiritual bank account. He has placed those promises on deposit, not because of anything we have done but because of His own eternal covenantal integrity. Our means of accessing those promises is obedient faith; i.e., to believe what God has said and to walk according to His ways. That is what ‘takes us to the bank to make a withdrawal’. To attempt a withdrawal without the ‘access code’ will get you nowhere! Our ‘access code’ is obedience to the conditions.
God wants us to benefit from His promises. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have made them!
This Shabbat would be a great time to take the scriptures quoted above and in quiet reflection, examine our own hearts to see if there are conditions we have overlooked, dismissed or ignored. Repentance is the way back. May we all live in such a way that the blessings of the promises of God can flow freely into our lives.