“Okay. What have you learned from this?”
This phrase, spoken by my father, was a mainstay of my growing up. I heard it one summer afternoon when I was eight years old, following my sheepish confession that I’d accidentally shot my neighbor, Mr. Horner, with my BB gun. I heard it late one snowy Michigan night, when my car came to rest against a chain-link fence—after I’d impatiently tried (unsuccessfully) to maneuver it between a ditch and another parked car in my girlfriend’s driveway—resulting in a phone call to my dad, asking him to come help me dig my car out of a snowdrift. And I’ve uttered that same question to myself countless times since, even as I’ve grown older and the learning opportunities have evolved with time and age.
Always spoken in love, and almost always received with humility, it’s a phrase so simple, yet it resounds with the essence of the relationship between a dad and a son. I’m deeply grateful to fall into the increasingly receding percentage of men whose fathers are truly fatherly.
We might not expect to find such a rare, human moment between father and son within Scripture. While God’s Word is relatable and relevant across time, I still struggle sometimes to grasp the idea that these words were written to real people who existed in a real time and place. But that wasn’t the case for me when I read David’s words to his son, Solomon, in 1 Chronicles 28. His words could’ve just as easily been written to me in a text message from my dad on any given Monday morning:
“As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father,
and serve him wholeheartedly and with a willing mind,
for the LORD searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought.
If you seek him, he will be found by you” (v.9).
I can almost picture the memories and hard-won lessons flashing before David’s eyes as he distills his life into just two simple sentences, passing down parting wisdom to his son. After charging Solomon with the great responsibility of building the temple and outlining the requirements of the job, David’s parting words to his son, and some of his last we read in the Bible, include loving encouragement that ultimately points Solomon to a present, secure, steadfast God. He tells Solomon to “be strong and courageous, and do the work… for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He won’t leave you or abandon you until all the work for the service of the LORD’s house is finished” (v.20).
What a delight it is to be offered wisdom by those who’ve come before us, and in turn, to offer guidance to those who will come after us. But isn’t that what this entire book, the Bible, is about? It’s a lamp to lead our feet along the path of life (Psalm 119:105). It gives guidance from a loving Father through stories of His own and others’ that are full of grace and love, that shape us and call us to grow. May we honor the same Father of David and Solomon, feel loved by Him, and love like Him every day.
Written by Ryan Myers