This is the fifth and final devotional in our series on David’s Dying Words. To read the first four devotionals, visit my Wednesday's Word page. If you want to utilize the entire series, we've made it available as one PDF document for small groups or Bible studies. Click here to download the entire series.
5. Deal Decisively with Good and Evil
“Moreover, you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me … But deal loyally with the sons of Barzillai … Now therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man. You will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.” (excerpts from 1 Kings 2:5-9)
I would summarize David's fifth command to Solomon this way: deal decisively with what is evil and be quick to reward what is good.
Joab was a seditious and murderous man; that evil needed to be dealt with. Shimei was a man who had cursed David; that needed to be dealt with. David is saying to Solomon, “Don’t hang around with this evil. Don’t let this evil begin to infect your reign. Don’t open yourself up to the influence in the counsel of these men. This evil needs to be dealt with, and it needs to be dealt with decisively.”
These are harsh words, and they’re hard for us. But I wonder if they’re hard for us because it’s hard for us to be this decisive - this black and white - with what God says is wrong. How decisive are you with the evil that still remains in your heart?
When I hear these words from David, I hear the echo of Christ's teaching: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” (Matthew 5:29-30).
But it’s not just evil that David wants to deal with decisively. He also encourages Solomon to reward what is good. He wants the sons of Barzillai, who were kind to him as he fled from Absalom, to be cared for. David wants see them encouraged, loved, and treated as family.
Do you actively seek ways in which you can encourage God’s people? Are you quick to point out evidence of God’s grace or the fruit of the Spirit in their lives? Parents, are you equally as good at catching your children doing what is right as you are in rebuking them? Husbands, do you encourage and thank your wives? Wives, do you encourage and thank your husbands?
This final command from David challenges us with an important question: are you committed to a ministry of encouragement, support, faithfulness, and love? That’s as important to the work of God’s kingdom as being decisive with evil is.
Well, that wraps up this series. I’ve really been challenged and blessed by studying these five commands, and I hope you’ve been equally as blessed by reading it. Remember, if you want to use this series for a Bible study or small group, we've made it available for you. Click here to download the PDF; you can distribute as many copies of this devotional as you want.
Paul David Tripp
- How can you be more decisive with remaining sin in your heart?
- Are you afraid to speak out when you witness sin in the lives of others?
- Do you actively seek out opportunities to encourage those in the body of Christ?
- How can you reward good in your child, spouse, neighbor, or friend?