This devotional is about 1 Chronicles 22.
We don’t know how old Solomon was when he became king, nor do we know how old he was when David charged him to build the temple here in 1 Chronicles 22:16. Here’s what we do know:
- Solomon became king while David was still alive. His coronation happened in a hastily-arranged ceremony designed to short circuit his brother Adonijah’s attempt to usurp the the throne of Israel (1 Ki 1). So David and Solomon were co-regents for a while, but we don’t know how long.
- David reigned for 40 years total (1 Ki 2:10)
- Solomon started building the temple in the 4th year of his reign (2 Ki 6:1). But how was this counted–when he and David were co-regents or 4 years after he started to reign alone? My guess is that Solomon and David were co-kings for at least 4 years and that David charged Solomon to start the temple in his 4th year as co-king, so Solomon started right away. I get this from the phrase, “Now, my son…, build the house of the Lord your God” here in 1 Chronicles 22:11, but that may be reading too much into David’s words.
- Solomon referred to himself as “only a little child” in 1 Kings 3:7 and David referred to him as “young and inexperienced” in 1 Chronicles 22:5. The phrase “only a little child” maybe an exaggeration by Solomon to highlight how young and unprepared he felt to be king.
- Solomon reigned 40 years total (1 Ki 11:42).
- We are not told how old Solomon was when he became king or when David died.
It is not possible to calculate Solomon’s age when he became king. But David, and Solomon himself, had concerns about Solomon’s youth and inexperience. So, David did everything he could to set Solomon up for success. He went to “great pains” (v. 14) to provide excellent materials and excellent workers (vv. 15-16). But he also urged him to “keep the law of the Lord your God” (v. 12c) and “devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God” (v. 19a). As a result of all of it, David was confident that Solomon would “have success” (v. 13).
Note that there was both real-world planning and spiritual devotion in this chapter. If Solomon devoted himself to building a great temple but was indifferent to the Lord in his personal life, he may have completed a magnificent structure, but would God’s presence be pleased to dwell there?
What about if Solomon devoted himself to the Lord but did not put any preparation into planning and constructing the temple? He may have walked with God, but would God be pleased to dwell in a cheaply constructed, poorly built building?
Planning can be godly work but God’s work must always be spiritual. In our service for the Lord, let’s be careful to plan and work to do our best, but only as we walk with Christ daily, focusing on our faith in him, growth in his grace, consistent prayer, and obedience to his word.