Reading 1 Kings 2:1-11 (NRSV)
Today’s reading recounts King David’s final words; his last will and testament. Although David epitomizes the good kings of ancient Israel and Judah, this passage reveals a mix of God-centered and self-centered sentiments. First, he directs Solomon to focus on God. Solomon is to walk in God’s ways, and keep God’s commandments with all his heart and soul. Then, David tells him to take action against old enemies, and specifies people to reward. By handing down personal grievances and debts, David reveals a focus on self.
God-centeredness mixed with self-centeredness.
We may be reluctant to “speak ill of the dead” but even beloved family members and honored war heroes had both good and bad in them.
Does that mean we should honor them less? Perhaps we should honor them all the more: for the times they succeeded in keeping God’s charge to love one another and be a blessing to others.
Likewise, we should honor the living, focusing on God-centered actions.
Instead of giving up on ourselves or others when we show our self-centeredness, we can forgive, and turn with heart and soul to walk faithfully in God’s ways.
Let us pray. Thank you, God, for David’s example of a sometimes self-centered human who still showed God-centered sentiments. Help us to forgive each other, as you forgive us, when we selfishly hold on to personal grievances and debts. May we learn to keep your charge with all our hearts and souls. Amen.