HomeBible StudyLessons from the Life of David V: David's Last Words

Lessons from the Life of David V: David’s Last Words

I Chronicles 28:9-10

“Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. Be careful now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.”


This moment comes near the end of David’s life, after Solomon has taken the throne. This was a brief period when David and Solomon ruled in a co-regency. Both men were king, but David was still supreme while he lived. This is the time when Solomon comes into power

David is communicating the most important principles of his life that he has learned and doesn’t want to fail in communicating them to his son. David had many failures as a father. When his children sinned, he often let it pass (Amnon raped his sister, David did nothing. Absalom murdered Amnon, David did nothing. Adonijah tried to seize the throne, David did nothing. None were punished under David’s regime according to the Law).

Sometimes, it’s said that a person’s last words are his most important. These are David’s last words to his son and to us. These words encapsulate the most important things David has learned in his whole life. 


“Know the God of your father.” In the biblical sense to know something is to experience it. Notice what David didn’t say. He didn’t say, “Be a good king.” He didn’t say, “Treat the people gently.” He didn’t say, “Lower taxes.” He didn’t say things we expect a ruler to say in our age. He said, “Know the God of your father.” Solomon is being charged to remember the person of God.

Notice the wording here: serve, whole heart, and willing mind. Did you notice the connection? Heart, mind, and strength from Deuteronomy 6. 

What does it mean to serve God? How do we serve him? We do the things that give him glory. This passage actually gives us a hint at what serving God means. Whole heart means we serve God emotionally. A willing mind means we think about the things that please God. Let’s dive into this.

“Whole heart.” This is the seat of our emotions. This is to serve God with all of our feelings and all of our love. We cannot say we love God if our emotions don’t match our words or our thoughts.  II Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” If our hearts are not fully devoted to Christ, then our mind and our strength will not be devoted either. 

“Willing mind.”“Think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). Paul describes thinking on something as to dwell on it, to turn it over and over in our minds. Solomon actually excelled in this. His wisdom was a trait of his intellect. To constantly think about spiritual things, or things that benefit others, is to love the Lord with your mind. When we occupy our minds with godly things we are loving the Lord with our minds.


“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21). 

Here it is that Solomon is charged to pursue his relationship with God. God should be part of all his plans. Plans are associated with the heart, our innermost desires. When we make plans to do something it’s because we have an emotional attachment to that thing. We plan a career. We plan our education. We plan for a spouse. We plan for our kids and grandkids. Plans indicate passion.

How have you planned for a spiritual life?

Is a spiritual life your primary passion?


Our thoughts are either oriented around the things of the world or on spiritual things. There are no thoughts that the Lord is not aware of.  

Actually, though the heart is important, everything in the spiritual life begins with the mind. What we think about determines what we feel. When we dwell on things, it causes us to feel a certain way. In fact, in spiritual warfare, the central battlefield is the mind. 

Consider what Eve did in the garden when she considered eating the forbidden fruit. She reasoned in her mind what she wanted to do. Genesis 3:6, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” She reasoned everything in her mind and that affected her heart, then she sinned. The same process works in doing what is right. We reason it with our minds, guided by the Holy Spirit, to do what is right. Feelings follow our thoughts; they do not lead our thoughts. 

What kinds of things do you think about the most?

Is it hard to think about spiritual thing?

Notice how easy it is, even in a “spiritual environment,” to turn our thinking to nonspiritual things. Thinking rightly takes serious effort. 

One of the best things we can do to set our thoughts aright is to have a time of Bible reading and prayer in the morning. It can help set your attitude for the whole day. It doesn’t mean you won’t sin or feel negative. But it will act as a gatekeeper to your mind, helping you to reorient. The scripture says to “Take every thought captive to obey Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5). I pray regularly, asking the Lord to help me address him throughout the day.


“Seeking refers to a search for something that is either lost or that is desired. It carries a sense of applied effort toward reaching a specific goal” (Lexham Theological Workbook). Seeking God doesn’t mean praying and leaving things alone. It means to apply effort. Seek in prayer. Seek in the scripture. See with other godly people. 

“You will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29). 

Whenever we seek something, we put lots of effort into it. If your dog ran away, would you call out his name from the front door and go back inside, or would you go on a hunt to find him? What if you lost your child or grandchild? You’d go on a hunt, wouldn’t you?

It is the same with seeking God. We don’t do it once and say one and done. We seek him daily, even throughout the day when we need him. We should be seeking him constantly and drawing near to him at every opportunity. 

If we seek the Lord as best as we can, the Lord promises to respond. This is all about the pursuit of God.


This indicates that there is something missing in our lives that we must find. The Hebrew word here literally means to find or reach something. We are reaching for God when we seek him out. And he can be found. Look what Paul and Moses said about God’s proximity to us.

“God is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:27). 

“The word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Deuteronomy 30:14).

The word of God testifies to the person of God. When we have the word of God, as Israel did, then we have God’s presence near to us. 


“To forsake God is to leave, to forget Him, to neglect Him, to prefer other things before Him” (The Sermon Outline Bible). 

Interestingly, later in his life, Solomon became an idol worshiper, but he did this in addition to worshipping the Lord. So, while he worshipped idols, he did not forsake the Lord completely. And thus, God punished him, but did not cast him off.

“Cast you off.”

The phrase “Casting off” is sometimes used regarding olives dropping off the tree or, to say a cow miscarries her calf. It means a total separation from God. Just like something cast off, once it happens, there is no going back. Olives don’t reattach to the tree. A calf can’t un-miscarry. To be cast off is to be cast off forever. The word literally means to reject, expel, or exclude. This is terrifying.

“Build a house.”

Now Solomon is charged with a place, building a temple for the Lord. Before a person takes up their ministry or calling, he should be completely dedicated to the Lord, as David admonishes. This is what David is telling Solomon. His relationship with the Lord comes first and prepares him for the task of building the temple. If you are not oriented toward the Lord, then he won’t occupy your house. 

A person is never really prepared for their calling without having an intimate relationship with the one who calls. 


There is a progression of concepts in this passage. First, just prior to our passage, Solomon was called to power. Then he is admonished about the person of God and the pursuit of God. Then he is charged to build a place; for God, the temple. 

  • Power
  • Person
  • Pursuit 
  • Place

The most important thing in David’s mind is not the kingship; rather, it is the building of the temple. Solomon’s religious duties are greater than his political duties. 

“Build a house.” You and I are being built into a house for the Lord. We are the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. I Peter 2:5, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house.” 

What kind of house are you?

Is your life one that the Lord takes pleasure dwelling in? Why or why not?

“Without sincerity and seriousness, our religion can be of no value in the sight of the omniscient God, of Him who is described by Himself as searching all hearts and understanding all the imaginations of the thoughts” (The Sermon Outline Bible).

Notice that David did not direct Solomon’s heart toward the law but to the Lord himself. This reminds me of Jesus’ words to the Jewish leaders, “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; but it is these that speak of me” (John 5:39). 

How are you fulfilling these four gifts of God? 

Power: How are you using your influence? 

Person: Is Jesus Christ the chief affection of your life? 

Pursuit: How do you pursue spiritual things? 

Place: You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Are you a good place to live?

Tom Terry is head of Global Broadcast Strategy for JESUS Film Project and serves as General Manager of The Better FM, an online radio station for Asia. Tom is also the author of several books, including Bible studies and "Like An Eagle," his biography about living in Mongolia for ten years.
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