May 1 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him….Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go…” 1 Kings 2:2-3

The book of the kings is the sequel to the book bearing Samuel’s name. And Kings, like Samuel, is one book with two parts. (The books were originally united under the title “The Kings” and were separated in later biblical translation periods.) It is fitting that the first story in the book describes how Solomon became king of Israel. The transfer of power from one king to the next was a dangerous undertaking. Even after a person was officially installed as sovereign of the land, his claim to the throne would be tested and challenged by influential rivals for a time.

Solomon’s brother, Adonijah, organizes plans to become king even before David dies. He develops quite a following, including the priest and the commander of the army, Joab. This is a dynamic duo since both wield considerable influence in the nation. However, David proves himself as cunning as ever and sees Solomon installed on his throne.

Being king isn’t for the weak, and David’s instructions to his young son are telling: “Be strong, show yourself a man…” (1 Kings 2:2). A man has to be wise and willing to act! When Adonijah tries to maneuver his way into power by claiming David’s concubine, Abishag, Solomon is wise to his tricks and orders an end for the dangerous rival. However, it isn’t only Adonijah of whom Solomon must be wary. Others within the kingdom seek to weaken David’s successor.

David’s instructions regarding those who have betrayed him are not directives to “get even, “ especially as they come on the heels of his exhortations to Solomon to commit to following the Lord and His commands for life (1 Kings 2:3). If Solomon does so, God will establish his kingdom. David guides his son to be cautious and cunning in his dealings. While the aging king doesn’t tell his young and untested son exactly how to handle each of his enemies, he does tell him to do whatever is necessary. Solomon must be strong; he must show himself a man in his political dealings, in his leadership of the people, and in his obedience to the Lord.

Chances are, none of us are going to have to fight to hold a throne, but every one of us lives in a fallen world that needs people who will be strong and wise for the cause of good and God. We must not be naïve. There are those who seek to harm our children and us. There are those who seek to harm our churches. There are those who seek to harm our schools. There are those who are motivated by greed and lust and selfish ambition and revenge. We must be wise, and we must have the will to act. What is more, we must teach our children, like David taught his son, “Go out there and make a difference in this evil world. Be strong. Be courageous. And follow God for the rest of your life.” May God give you strength today to live for His glory in this world!

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.