Read 1 Kings 2:1-4
1 As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon:
2 “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. 3 Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. 4 If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ (NLT)
Any loving parent wants the best for their children. They want to pass on something of value to them (not just bricks and mortar and money either). David wanted Solomon to follow God’s ways and thus fulfil God’s purposes for him. We can imagine David fervently wanting this to happen and Solomon intently listening and nodding his head in agreement.
What happened? Solomon was a mixture: he did fulfil David’s wishes in part, but in other ways he strayed badly. In this, he is like many of our own children. Some of the things we wish for them come wonderfully true. Other things are neglected or rejected. The point being we can pray and wish and hope but we can’t control or guarantee.
It has been said that a wise Christian parent gives a child both roots and wings. Roots to form some sort of foundation for life; wings to set them free to work out how they build on such a foundation—or indeed whether or not to accept that foundation. We neither lazily abdicate our responsibilities towards them or assume full responsibility for them. It is, to say the least, a challenging exercise.
Solomon didn’t do all that David or God wanted him to do. But he wasn’t a complete failure either. And furthermore, God still worked out his purposes for his people. Imperfect parents and imperfect children will disappoint him but not derail him.