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The Drama of Our Lives
Now King David was old and advanced in years. (1 Kg1:1a)
These are the opening words of the book of First Kings. They set the stage for the dramatic events about to take place: The time of transition from David to a successor has come. As we shall see, a life and death struggle quickly develops between two of David's sons.
Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king." And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. (6) His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, "Why have you done thus and so?" He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. (1 Kg1:5-6)
Adonijah would seem to have a right to claim his father's throne: After all, he is David's oldest living son (Absalom died in an insurrection earlier). So he boldly decides to push himself forward and claim the kingship. How many times has trouble appeared in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones? Troubles, worries and heartaches simply inject themselves into our lives. As soon as they arrive they seem to have every reason and right to suddenly turn our worlds upside down. It seems we have to accommodate it or even surrender to them. But do we?
Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fattened cattle by the Serpent's Stone, which is beside En-rogel, and 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 mighty men or Solomon his brother. (1 Kg1:9-10)
Not only does Adonijah jostle for the throne, he also purposely slights his chief rival, his half brother Solomon. Why is Solomon his chief rival for the throne? Read on.
Then Nathan said to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, "Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king and David our lord does not know it? (12) Now therefore come, let me give you advice, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. (13) Go in at once to King David, and say to him, 'Did you not, my lord the king, swear to your servant, saying, "Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne"? Why then is Adonijah king?' (1 Kg1:11-13)
Solomon also has a claim to the throne. He, too, is a son of David. And, though Adonijah seemingly has a more natural claim as the oldest son, isn't Solomon's claim - based on his father's promise - more legitimate?
"Our lord does not know it" Nathan the prophet said these words to Bathsheba. But doesn't our Lord know all things? Yes, He does. It is written in the Psalms that He even knows our thoughts (Ps 94:11).
So, perhaps the type here is breaking down, but I don't think so. There are several places in scripture where it appears as if the Lord does not know a matter. For instance, the Lord said this to Abraham:
"Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know." (Gen 18:20-21)
Similarly, look up how often the Lord "remembered" His people or His promises to them. (Then see how He then moves on their behalf.)
"The children of Israel groaned because of their bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." (Ex 2:23-24)
It can seem sometimes like God has forgotten us or that He is unaware of the trouble that has reared its ugly head in our lives. Take your troubles to the Lord and ask Him for His help. Be like good king Hezekiah - when he received a threatening letter from an enemy that boasted of how he was about to destroy Hezekiah and his people, the good king laid that letter before the Lord and called on Him for help. I have done the very same thing with an ominous-sounding doctor's report about my heart. You can, too.
So Bathsheba went to the king in his chamber (now the king was very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was attending to the king). (16) Bathsheba bowed and paid homage to the king, and the king said, "What do you desire?" (17) She said to him, "My lord, you swore to your servant by the LORD your God, saying, 'Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.' (18) And now, behold, Adonijah is king, although you, my lord the king, do not know it. (19) He has sacrificed oxen, fattened cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king, Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of the army, but Solomon your servant he has not invited. (20) And now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. (21) Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king sleeps with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted offenders." (1 Kg1:15-21)
Bathsheba answered Adonijah's boldness with her own. She took her case to David, reminding him of the solemn promise he swore to her.
Think! Not only does Adonijah seem to be the natural heir, but can't you see how doubt could rise up in Bathsheba's heart? Remember how she met David and became his wife? It was through sin - David's primarily, but hers as well. Scripture clearly states that a woman found to be with a man not her husband is only innocent if she cries out for help, but Bathsheba did not.
So, it would be understandable if she were to begin to doubt the 'great and precious promises' made many years earlier now that they are put to the test; now that they've been rejected and ignored.
We rarely have our confidence in God shaken or tested while we are "up" in the Lord and everything seems right in our lives. It is always later, when the excitement has faded and the warmth of His presence has cooled. Do we believe, or not? Did God promise us, or not? Is He true to his word, or not? Will we go in boldly to His throne of grace in our time of need, or not?
And the king swore, saying, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, (30) as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, saying, 'Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,' even so will I do this day." (1 Kg1:29-30)
David, soon to leave this world, did not need to involve himself with the political intrigues that would arise after he was gone. Yet, this saga has now changed from a struggle between brothers to an open question regarding his integrity and faithfulness. The king honors his promise and fulfills his oath.
So it is in our lives. The accuracy of the doctor's report is not the key issue. The daunting challenges looming over you are not the main issue. The questions you must answer are: Did the Lord promise to bless you? Do you believe Him? Is he faithful to His word and able to keep it? Those are the questions you need to answer. If it is 'yes' He has promised to never leave you or forsake you and to give you a future and a hope; if it is 'yes' I believe Him; if He is faithful and able, then go to Him and plead your case. Do not let go of Him until He blesses you. Stay in Luke 18 that He might see there is still faith on the Earth - in your heart.
There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, "Long live King Solomon!" (40) And all the people went up after him, playing on pipes, and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth was split by their noise. (1 Kg1:39-40)
Another coronation party takes place to match Adonijah's, but this one has been made legitimate by the decree of David. He who exalted himself has been humbled, while he who stayed in a low place has heard the king say, "Friend, move up higher."
Promises made are now promises kept. That is the very essence of testimony: When you and I can say "Amen! The Lord is true to His word! He has demonstrated it in my life."
Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished feasting. And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, "What does this uproar in the city mean?" (42) While he was still speaking, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came. And Adonijah said, "Come in, for you are a worthy man and bring good news." (43) Jonathan answered Adonijah, "No, for our lord King David has made Solomon king (1 Kg1:41-43)
The force of all the logic that seemed to make Adonijah confident and king is melting away. "Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes" (1Cor 4:5a)
If God be for us who can be against us? All that has risen up to trouble you - everything that has pushed its way into your life, robbing you of joy and sleep - will be shown for what it truly is: A squatter to be evicted
Then all the guests of Adonijah trembled and rose, and each went his own way. (50) And Adonijah feared Solomon. (1 Kg1:49-50a)
Adonijah is undone and all his support has vanished. "I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree. (36) But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found." (Ps 37:35-36)
For, "Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; (38) but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." (39) But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Heb 10:37-39)
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of [those] (33) who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, (34) quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. (35) Women received back their dead by resurrection. (Heb 11:32-35a)
© Matthew Schilling September 2010
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