“When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, ‘I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, 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,” (1 Kings 2:1-3)
They say that the words of a dying man are important. In fact, it is at the point of death, for many, that the greatest clarity of the true meaning of life begins. Some engage in a time of reflection. Others desire to pass on what they want their children to know so that they don’t make the same mistakes. There are many famous people whose last words were recorded for us to ponder.
Abolitionist Harriet Tubman was dying in 1913; she gathered her family around and they sang together. Her last words were, “Swing low, sweet chariot.”
Actor John Wayne died at the age of 72 and is reported to have turned to his wife and said, “Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you.”
Blues Singer Bessie Smith died saying, “I’m going, but I’m going in the name of the Lord.”
It seems that some of us have the opportunity during the critical time of our departure, to leave words that will last in the minds of those who love us and hold us dear.
King David knew that this was important and used this time to express that which holds the greatest joy in life. David instructed his son, Solomon, to be strong and to keep the commands and statutes of God. David had experienced a life of obedience and knew the joy that came from obeying God’s command. He experienced the slaying of Goliath, the winning on the battlefield, and the promised advance of his Kingdom. Of course, David also knew the heartbreak of disobedience upon sleeping with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah to cover his sin. Understanding the extremes that life would provide through disobedience and obedience, David instructed his son to walk in the ways of the Lord in order to prosper. We should listen to these important instructions from a man “after God’s own heart.”