A GAME OF THRONES
Lord, give me clarity of thought in crisis.
Read 1 KINGS 1:1–27
Adonijah Sets Himself Up as King
1 When King David was very old, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. 2 So his attendants said to him, “Let us look for a young virgin to serve the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.”
3 Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4 The woman was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no sexual relations with her.
5 Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. 6 (His father had never rebuked him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)
7 Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David’s special guard did not join Adonijah.
9 Adonijah then sacrificed sheep, cattle and fattened calves at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, 10 but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the special guard or his brother Solomon.
11 Then Nathan asked Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, “Have you not heard that Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has become king, and our lord David knows nothing about it? 12 Now then, let me advise you how you can save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go in to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, did you not swear to me your servant: “Surely Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ 14 While you are still there talking to the king, I will come in and add my word to what you have said.”
15 So Bathsheba went to see the aged king in his room, where Abishag the Shunammite was attending him. 16 Bathsheba bowed down, prostrating herself before the king.
“What is it you want?” the king asked.
17 She said to him, “My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant by the Lord your God: ‘Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne.’ 18 But now Adonijah has become king, and you, my lord the king, do not know about it. 19 He has sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and has invited all the king’s sons, Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army, but he has not invited Solomon your servant. 20 My lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to learn from you who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise, as soon as my lord the king is laid to rest with his ancestors, I and my son Solomon will be treated as criminals.”
22 While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23 And the king was told, “Nathan the prophet is here.” So he went before the king and bowed with his face to the ground.
24 Nathan said, “Have you, my lord the king, declared that Adonijah shall be king after you, and that he will sit on your throne? 25 Today he has gone down and sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep. He has invited all the king’s sons, the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. Right now they are eating and drinking with him and saying, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But me your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon he did not invite. 27 Is this something my lord the king has done without letting his servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Like David, most of us in our later years have some regrets about how we raised our children. It’s a matter of degree. What regrets do you have? If you have no children at all, is this a source of regret for you?
David sports a poor track record of dealing properly with his children. Years ago, his inaction gave rise to the rebellion and death of Absalom. Now a peaceful succession to the throne is at risk. Israel has not yet established a hereditary monarchy which the eldest son would automatically inherit; so, Adonijah has decided that he wants to become king. His campaign smacks of personal ambition, not God’s appointment. Family associations, covert planning, and personal abilities provide a support base. Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and a few others see nothing but trouble here.
Nathan spoke boldly to David when he sinned with Bathsheba many years ago, but now he collaborates with her to secure the promised succession of her son Solomon. Solomon is the one the Lord loves, and David is hastily contacted to ensure that God’s appointment prevails. We need to know not only what God’s will is, but also how to secure it when others seek to subvert it. Solomon’s allies finally prevail upon David to issue a full-throated declaration of who his successor will be.
In this account we see principles of God’s actions. First, we see his graciousness in giving David and Bathsheba a second son who would become the king of Israel. Second, we see a king of his choosing and not one whose qualifications add up to a logical choice. God, who personally has chosen Solomon, will personally equip him for the task of leadership. In reading of this struggle for succession, we also anticipate the coming of the true King of Israel who is anointed and equipped by his Father to save his people from their sins as he is lifted up on the cross and raised from death to reign forever.
Ask the Lord to help you remember that there are people placed in leadership by divine appointment in both the secular world and in the church. Pray for those leaders now.
Jesus, I rejoice in You, our King!
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