The Heir Presumptive
Loving Father, as I breathe the very air that sustains me, I am reminded of Your love that has given me new life.
Read 1 KINGS 1:1-27
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“In the midst of the incredible mess these kings are making of God’s purposes, God continues to work his purposes, and uses them in the work–doesn’t discard them or detour around them. They are part of his sovereign rule” (Eugene Peterson). A cause for heart-felt thankfulness!
There are a lot of situations in the world at the moment where it seems impossible to work out what the right course of action could be or to distinguish between the goodies and the baddies. Which of several fallible leaders should we support? When should we be proactive and when should we just wait and see? How long should we allow an unacceptable situation to continue? The writer of Kings is very well aware of this kind of dilemma. It is a challenge for readers to identify the different layers of interest lying behind the apparently straightforward account of events.
Without actually using the word “incompetent,” we are shown clearly that David was no longer fit to rule, but he had made no attempt to appoint a successor. He had never been a good father, and the spoiled prince Adonijah, the eldest of David’s remaining sons, could not be blamed for presuming that he should be the next ruler. His fault, if any, was in acting presumptuously–trying to manipulate the nation into accepting his leadership. Nathan and Bathsheba then conspire together to ensure that it will be Solomon rather than Adonijah who will take over from David. It is not clear whether David’s promise to Bathsheba was a reality or an invention–David would not be able to remember either way, and his statement in verse 30 may simply reflect an idea planted in his mind. It is interesting that Nathan told Bathsheba what to say, but made no reference to that promise himself. It is also interesting that there is no mention anywhere in this section of seeking God’s way forward. Apparently neither Adonijah nor Solomon had been appointed or anointed by Yahweh. At this stage we are presented simply with a story of political intrigue, with two parties trying to ensure that the situation works out to their own advantage.
Have you ever resorted to the kind of manipulation described in today’s passage? How did it make you feel? Read 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 and reflect on the implications.
Lord, give me wisdom to know whom I should support and courage to offer such support without ever resorting to manipulation or deceit.