Solomon seems like an unlikely candidate for king. He wasn’t the eldest son of David, and he was born amidst scandal. However, time proved Solomon was the “wisest choice” (excuse the pun). As 1 Chronicles ends, David offers a blessing for his son:
“Now, my son, the LORD be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the LORD your God, as he has spoken concerning you. Only, may the LORD grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the LORD commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed” (1 Chronicles 22:11 – 13).
What does David pray for? “Discretion and understanding” – two essential traits for any leader, but I’d like to focus on the last phrase: “Fear not; do not be dismayed.”
“Do not be afraid….” What would Solomon have to be afraid of? Responsibility can be a tremendous burden for any leader. Likewise, fear of making the wrong decision paralyzes many leaders, and fear can paralyze us. It kept the one-talent man in the parable Jesus told (Matthew 25) from investing his master’s money. Fear keeps many leaders from taking action. In the book of Revelation, cowards are thrown into the lake of fire along with murderers, adulterers, and liars.
So what should we do? Respect fear, and it can empower you. A carpenter who respects his power tools can build beautiful objects. A mountaineer who appreciates the challenges of a mountain face can safely reach his goal. Jude told us, “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 22 – 23).
“… or discouraged.”
David also prayed Solomon would “not be dismayed.” Discouragement must be guarded against because it robs us of joy and saps our energy. There are many causes of discouragement. Failure and being tired (physically, mentally, and spiritually) are two of the leading causes of discouragement.
For me, discouragement is the greater enemy because it hits us when our resources are at their lowest. We are tired and seem to be unappreciated. No one notices the hard work we are doing but think about it. Are we working for praise, or are we working to please the Lord? He will reward us at the proper time. For now, we need to persevere! James tells us:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2 – 4).
The Apostle Paul said, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:3 – 5).”
Meanwhile, consider you may not be the only person who is fearful or discouraged right now. Take a moment to encourage someone you love right now!