1 CHRONICLES 28:9
DO YOU know God? Answering that question is not as simple as it may seem. Truly knowing God involves becoming thoroughly familiar with his will and ways. We thereby develop a closeness with him that profoundly affects our entire way of life. Is such closeness really possible? If so, how do we find it? The answers can be discerned in King David’s advice to his son Solomon, found at 1 Chronicles 28:9.
Imagine the scene. David has ruled Israel for nearly 40 years, and the nation has prospered under his rule. Solomon, who will soon succeed him, is very young. (1 Chronicles 29:1) What parting counsel does David give his son?
Speaking from his own rich experience in serving God, David begins: “Solomon my son, know the God of your father.” David must mean something more than having head knowledge. Solomon is already a worshipper of David’s God, Jehovah. About a third of the Hebrew Scriptures have been completed, and Solomon is no doubt aware of what these sacred writings say about God. One scholar says that the Hebrew word rendered “know” can refer to “the most intimate acquaintance.” Yes, David wants his son to cultivate what David himself has treasured—a close personal relationship with God.
Such closeness should deeply affect Solomon’s outlook and way of life. David exhorts his son: “Serve him [God] with a complete heart and with a delightful soul.”* Note that the charge to serve God comes after the admonition to know him. Truly knowing God leads to serving him. But he is not to be served with halfhearted hesitancy or doublehearted hypocrisy. (Psalm 12:2; 119:113) David implores his son to serve God wholeheartedly and willingly.
Why does David urge his son to worship with the right motive and thinking? David explains: “For all hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.” Solomon must not serve God just to please his father, David. God is looking for those whose hearts are sincerely inclined toward Him.
Will Solomon follow his father’s example and draw close to Jehovah? That is up to Solomon. David tells his son: “If you search for him, he will let himself be found by you; but if you leave him, he will cast you off forever.” To become a worshipper who is close to God, Solomon must put forth real effort to come to know Jehovah.
David’s fatherly advice assures us that Jehovah wants us to become close to him. But to develop that closeness, we need to “search for him,” digging into the Scriptures in an effort to come to know him intimately. Knowing him should move us to serve him wholeheartedly and willingly. Jehovah desires—and deserves—nothing less from his worshippers.—Matthew 22:37.
Some translations here read: “Serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind.”
Sadly, although Solomon did start out serving with a complete heart, he did not remain faithful.—1 Kings 11:4.