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April 12 Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 2-3
“David drew nigh that he should die.”
1 Kings 2:1
There is something very moving about the dying moments of men and women, those moments when immortal souls are about to leave their earthly tabernacles and enter into eternity. As our lives draw near their end, we see things differently than we have in the past. These things are true of all dying men and women. But when God’s saints are about to die, their dying moments are both instructive and comforting. I love to be in the company of dying saints. I am always anxious to know what they will say, as they step into Jordan’s chilly waters. Here we are brought again to David’s deathbed. What shall we learn from this man? What does God the Holy Spirit teach us in the life and death of this man of faith, this man after God’s own heart? There is much more to be learned than that to which I will direct our hearts and minds today; but if God the Holy Spirit will set these things in our hearts, they will serve us well.
A Concerned Pastor
As he lay dying, David the King of Israel was very concerned to provide God’s people with a man to succeed him who would be an even better pastor to the Lord’s sheep than he had been. Faithful men, who have served the people of God faithfully all their lives, are always very concerned for the well-being of God’s church they are leaving behind.
Of all the thoughts pressing upon the heart of a faithful pastor, this must be one of his heaviest concerns: Who will the Lord set over this household? Who will God send to go in and out before his people? Who will the Lord God raise up to feed his people with knowledge and understanding? Nothing is of greater concern to a faithful gospel preacher than the souls of those to whom he devotes his life. And when he comes to die, no weight is heavier. David’s determination to thrust out Adonijah and establish Solomon in the kingdom vividly portrays a dying, faithful pastor in his concern, desire, and earnest prayer that the Lord would cast out all the Adonijah’s who serve their own bellies and send the people a pastor after his own heart!
Knowing that concern as a pastor, I find comfort here. Our Lord Christ still has the keys. He still walks in the midst of his churches. He is still King upon his throne. When David died, Solomon reigned. When the Lord God puts out one light, he can easily cause another to shine. He has the stars in his right hand!
A Forgiven Sinner
Great as this man David was, he was a sinner, just like you and me. David was a man found in obscurity, brought into royalty, and elevated to the highest possible dignity by the hand of God. How God blessed him! How God honored him! How God used him! Then David fell by horrible transgression, giving the enemies of God occasion to blaspheme. And David was recovered by that same, divine, omnipotent hand of grace that had lifted him up on high. David died as a sinner chosen in eternal love, redeemed by precious blood, saved by sovereign mercy, and preserved by immutable grace, — a forgiven sinner! What mercy! Well might we pray this day, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!”
A Type of Christ
And as David was the man after God’s own heart, we see in him a very obvious type of the Lord Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s elect, our Savior, of whom God says, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
As David fought the battles of the Lord, as he slew Goliath, the armies of the uncircumcised Philistines, and all Goliath’s sons, it was Christ, our mighty David, who alone obtained the victory over all our foes and won our everlasting salvation.
As David was anointed king over Israel and Judah contrary to the wishes of Saul and contrary to all the expectations of men, our blessed Redeemer was crowned king in Zion in direct defiance of Herod and of the Jews who declared that they would not have this man to reign over them.
As David made his way to the throne, by a relentless series of persecutions, afflictions, and distresses, so our Savior purchased our redemption and won his crown by all the sorrows he endured in his body, in his heart, and in his soul, in his life, and in his death. Go again and again, my soul, to Gethsemane, Gabbatha, and Golgotha, go a thousand times a day to the cursed tree and see the glory of our great David voluntarily made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him!