We’re in the middle of a five-part series examining David’s last words to his son Solomon. The first week we looked at David’s source of strength. Last week we discussed taking our calling and obedience seriously. Today, we continue “David’s Dying Words” with this third command:
3. Keep Your Eyes on the Lord's Reward
“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.” (1 Kings 2:3).
I think that we need to resuscitate a theology of blessing, or a theology of reward. Everyone who lives and is rational is in pursuit of reward.
Think about it. The employee who earns the most out of his colleagues is promised a reward in the form of a week-long vacation. The child who is well-behaved in the super market is promised a reward in the form of a Popsicle when they go to the check out. Our multi-millionaire athletes are promised additional rewards for top performance.
Human beings are hardwired for rewards, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. God promises reward. “Keep the charge of the Lord your God…that you may prosper in all that you do.” But, like I’ve said before, a good thing can quickly become a bad thing when it becomes a ruling thing.
The Fall was about a promise of reward, was it not? Satan promised Adam and Eve that they could be like God if they followed the serpent's deceitful commands. So Adam and Eve compromised all that was good for the supposed reward on the other side of that forbidden fruit.
People lie for the reward on the other side of the deception. People steal for the supposed reward on the other side of that robbery. People give themselves to sexual immorality and pornography and adultery for the short-term reward they think they will receive.
For 10 out of 10 people reading this devotional, there is in your heart a war of reward. If you were to read the entirety of Solomon’s story, you would know that there was a war of reward in his heart, too. And in an effort to win that war, the Enemy will work tirelessly to persuade you that the real reward is outside of God’s boundaries.
If you’re a parent reading this material, or if you’re one who has influence or friendship with young people, please consider what I’m about to write: I’m deeply concerned for the thousands and thousands of young people in Christian culture who actually feel disadvantaged that they’ve been born into a family of faith because they think that will keep them from the good stuff.
Publicly they won’t declare that, and they’re good at parroting the faith, but they’re standing at the fence of God’s boundaries looking out so longingly that they have fence marks in their face. They really believe in their soul that what the world has to offer is more fulfilling and satisfying than the Gospel.
So, for parents and youth pastors and anyone else involved with teens, we need, with skill and perseverance, to hold out to them the danger of stepping outside of God’s boundaries, and the deep and fulfilling rewards that are only ever found in following Christ.
But this war doesn’t just rage in our teenagers; it’s being fought inside each of us. What your soul seeks cannot be found out there. Fulfilling joy won’t be found outside the fences of God’s boundaries. Those fences are not meant to restrict our joy – they’re there to protect us from the evil things that threaten to steal our joy.
David is commanding Solomon to stay within the boundaries of God’s law because it’s there that he will prosper. God’s way is a way of unique and fulfilling and eternal blessing. There is a beautiful reward, both now and for all of eternity, if we stay within His boundaries.
Paul David Tripp
- What treasures claim your heart? Please don’t give a spiritual “Jesus is my treasure” answer, because if you’re honest, that’s not always the case.
- What is a dangerous lie that might accompany your treasure? For example, the lie for a man about to commit adultery with his co-worker is that those 15 minutes of pleasure are more valuable than 15 years of marriage.
- Search the Scriptures and find some rewards that the Lord promises to those who “walk in his ways and keep his statutes.”
- How can you encourage others, especially teenagers, to stay inside God’s boundaries?