17 ¶ Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. 18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. 19 That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. 20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, 21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
Solomon here has a break where, as he has done a few times previously, he restates part of his purpose in writing to his son. Among the many kings and potentates who have written to their sons giving them advice, advice which was sometimes ignored but other times put to good use, was King James I, under whose authority, as in Authorized Version, the translation we use was created under the inspiration of God as defined BIBLICALLY in Job 32:8.
Part of King James I Basilicon Doron, written to his young son, Prince Henry, who would not live to take the throne, is also good advice for preachers and teachers of the word of God. I should say that it is all good advice for all of us but particularly for those in such positions. Putting it in modern day grammar;
“Think not therefore, that the highness of your dignity diminishes your faults (much less gives you license to sin) but on the contrary, your fault shall be aggravated according to the height of your dignity, any sin that you commit not being a single sin procuring but the fall of one; but being an example of sin, and therefore drawing with it the whole multitude to be guilty of the same. Remember then, that this glistering worldly glory of Kings is given them by God, to teach them to press on so as to shine before their people in all works of sanctification and righteousness, that their person as bright lamps of Godliness and virtue, may (going in and out before their people) give light to all their steps. Remember also, that by the right knowledge, and fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom (as Solomon says) [Proverbs 9:10] ye shall know all things necessary for the discharge of your duty, both as a Christian and as a King, seeing in him (as in a mirror) the course of all earthly things, whereof he is the spring and only mover.
Now, the only way to bring you to this knowledge, is diligently to read his word, and earnestly to pray for the right understanding thereof: [John 5:39] Search the scriptures (saith Christ) for they will bear testimony of me; And [2 Timothy 3:16,17] the whole Scriptures (saith Paul) are profitable to teach, to improve, to correct, and to instruct in righteousness, that the man of God may be absolute, being made perfect……”
Solomon tells his son to apply his heart to Solomon’s knowledge which came from God.
1Kings 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
Why did God do that? Well, for one reason, that is what Solomon asked for when he became king.
2 Chronicles 1:10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? 11 And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: 12 Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.
Solomon hopes that the words of knowledge he has given to his son will be fitted to his lips. Remember Joshua’s command to the Hebrews.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Solomon wants his son to trust in the Lord.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
To help his son maintain the focus he will need in life.
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
He then goes on to say that he wants him to know the words of truth with certainty so that he may answer those who question him. Christians are also told to be ready to speak.
1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
So, Solomon has now reinforced to his son what he means by giving him the advice that God has included in His Book for us to read and be edified by. This is not about reading the Bible only for a Bible Study, or reading it to prepare a Sermon or a Sunday School lesson, or reading it to be able to give a child an enriching story so they can learn about Moses in the bulrushes, David and Goliath, or Daniel in the Lion’s den, or even a few verses for inspiration to get through your difficult day. This, for you, is about reading it every day intending to go from cover to cover, hearing it in your car stereo on the way to and from work, and at other times as you are able, so that God can put the fear of Him and the trust in Him in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God, your Saviour and Creator, in your heart and in your mind.
Don’t ignore Solomon’s advice like his son, Rehoboam did in 1 Kings 12, ignoring the counsel of the old and wise and choosing instead to hear the flesh centered counsel of the young men he had gathered around him. The old and wise counselors would be in type like Christians of old who practiced daily Bible reading in order to know God more fully and be changed by His word. The young men would be in type like the modernists who don’t even know what a Bible is, much less read it, even the corrupted Alexandrian version they have, or the so called conservative fundamentalist who doesn’t feel the need or urgency to read the Bible because, bless God, they’re saved, sanctified, and separated and don’t have time for all of this reading stuff. To that person I say, that YOUR faith is a function of your own personality and, believe me, God can allow something to happen in your life so horrible that you completely crumble on the poorly constructed foundation of your own will to look like a Christian. You have more faith in your faith than you do in Christ. Don’t mistake optimism for FAITH or good intentions for GOD’S WILL any more than you should mistake a cynical attitude for REASON or an unwillingness to trust God for HEALTHY SKEPTICISM. Listen to Solomon.