Sunday, June 17, 2007

1 Kings 2:1-3 As David's time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, 2 "I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. 3 "And keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn,

1 Kings is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I love the accounts of the various kings of Israel and Judah with all of their humanness and frailties front and center. It shows me they are mere men and God uses mere men. But even before the division of the Kingdom of Israel, as King David was old in age and passing the kingdom to his son, he told him to "Be yourself a man" (v.2).

I have learned many things from my dad, but this is one of them. I have learned to be strong. I have learned how to be strong by watching him. I have learned how to show myself a man by watching my dad be a man. I have been in numerous situations with him over the years and have had the intimate privilege of seeing him relate to various situations and watching his integrity and Godliness flourish.

Also in this text, King David is advising his young son, Solomon, and he commands him to "keep the charge...walking in his ways, keeping his statutes...and what is written in the Law" (v.3). As I have learned from my dad, there is one main truth that I have been overwhelmed with, the passion to keep the charge by walking in his ways and keeping his statutes. My dad has exemplified this example for me and given me an excellent example of what it means to "keep the charge."

A good friend of mine, the book of Proverbs, says (which is actually King Solomon speaking here - the same Solomon who received the counsel from his father, King David, above in the text from 1 Kings 2):

Proverbs 4:1-4 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding, 2 For I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction. 3 When I was a son to my father, Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, 4 Then he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live;

It is again the command I receive to heed the instruction and commands of my father. He has told me to "hold fast to God's word and keep His commandments and live." This is an example that all fathers ought to teach to their children. Keeping the commands of God, holding fast to his words, loving him wholeheartedly is what the Christian life is all about. It is about a lifestyle completely committed to the supremacy and Lordship of Jesus Christ over one's life. It is about living a life that is set apart from the world. It is about "growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Pet 3:18). It is about teaching the Word of God and heralding the truth high with all authority. These are the duties of the Christian man. These are the truths that I have seen exemplified in my dad. And for that, I am grateful.
So Dad, on this Father's Day, I want to say thank you for not only commanding me and training me to obey the commands of God, to follow His word, to love His word and to "keep the charge," but more importantly than that, I thank you for being a living example (a tupos) as to what it means and how it fleshes itself out.
This is my praise for your example to me. Though it was given to younger men (by no means saying that you are "old" :=) ), but the principle still fits:

1 Timothy 4:12 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.


Anonymous said...

My dear son Geoff,

You are incedibly gracious in your post today, and it is humbling to read.

As I once said on Father's Day at our church, as we were getting ready to commission you to serve with Jews for Jesus on Summer Campaign a bit later, "You are the kind of son who makes Father's Day a delight!" Perhaps you recall that day.

Your Hebrew name suits you very well...Y'rachmiel...God is compassionate! INdeed God has been most gracious and compassionate in giving us such a son!

I recall reading 2 Timothy with you as we made our inaugural trip to LA to send you to the College, and I remember the words I called out to you when Mom and I said our painful but joyful "goodbyes" your Freshman year..."fulfill your calling!" (from 2 Timothy). You have done that and you are faithfully staying the course by God's matchless grace.

You are a blessing and a delight to call "son"!

The commandment to "honor your father and mother" has a promise...that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. You should rival Methusaleh in length of days at the rate you are going in honoring your mom and dad!

And we are so very grateful that the Lord has now given us a lovely, delightful, God-fearing daughter as well!

With all my love,


Anonymous said...

After only knowing your parents for less than a year, I must say, Honey, I echo your sentiments. I obviously wasn't there while you were growing-up, but the times that I have spent with your parents have been incredibly telling. Your Dad is such a godly man. He is a marvelous human-reflection of our heavenly Father in wisdom, grace, love and mercy. I am so humbled & encouraged by his example!

As the saying goes though "the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree" :) With an example (a legacy, really) like your Dad's, it isn't terribly surprising that you turned-out to be such a wonderful godly man as well!

I love you, Honey. And, should the Lord bless us with children, I pray that we can continue the legacy that your Dad (& Mom) has established for the Kirkland Family :)... may the Lord grant us the grace!

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