Celebration of Humility: David’s Confession and Solomon’s Wisdom - 27 May 2019

Louise Gevers

“O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:15-17

David’s true greatness did not come through his majesty as king, but through his humility, and his readiness to confess his sins. It proved his worth as being a man after God’s heart. (1 Samuel 13:14) Although God had made him king, and he was treated with great admiration and affection by his people, he had the humility to recognise his wrongdoing, and acknowledge that God didn’t give special privileges to some because of status when it came to sin; like anyone else, he needed to repent of his wrongdoing and confess it to God, to receive His forgiveness and be restored.

His confession shows the substance of his relationship with God: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” David realised that sin against his fellow man is sin against God, and even a king has no excuse to hide behind.

Solomon’s greatness originated in his humility while following his father, David’s, instructions to him to, “be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways …” (1 Kings 2:2-3). Solomon showed his love for God extravagantly, as David had done: once he sacrificed a thousand burnt offerings at Gibeon, because of the presence of the tabernacle there. He had not yet reached David’s understanding, but it was a great witness to his desire to please God. After that God came to him in a dream and told him to ask of Him whatever he wanted.

Solomon could have asked of God vast power and riches; instead he acknowledged his weakness in the immense task that lay before him in leading God’s people, saying, “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties … So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” (1 Kings 3:7-9) God was pleased with Solomon’s answer and went on to reward him, in addition to it, with wealth and honour unequalled at that time; He also promised him long life if he was obedient and followed His commands as David had done. In time, He also blessed Solomon with the honour of building His temple. This, with His gift of astounding wisdom, brought Solomon renown and splendour, and under his wise rule, the people of Israel and Judah were happy as they enjoyed a time of plenty.

Sadly, not even Solomon’s wisdom always helped him against sin: his foreign wives led him astray and he ended up worshiping their gods. Nobody is above temptation or sin, but through David’s example of humility, we can learn the blessing of confession and celebrate the joy of restoration through God’s forgiveness and grace. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and will purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9)

Prayer: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” (Psalm 51) I celebrate Your goodness and mercy and rejoice in Your tender care. Amen

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