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Weak and Feeble or a Very Present Help?

1st Kings opens by telling us King David had grown old and weak. And, in addition to becoming feeble, he was out of the stream of things. He seemingly had no control over the presumptive and threatening actions of Adonijah, unaware that he had put himself forward as king.

We see this meant trouble for Bathsheba and her son Solomon. There was a day, not too long before this, when Bathsheba was the queen and her son the heir apparent to the throne. But, now, at the opening of 1st Kings, she had hit a low place. Isn't it often the case that trouble comes when we are already down? Oh, we'd be confident and boastful if trouble dared to show up when we were at a highpoint in our walk with the Lord. But what about when our hope is ebbing away? What about when we are more likely to think on our sins than our blessings?

Like Bathsheba, centuries earlier Sara's mistress Hagar fell from a seemingly lofty place to a low one: Sara was barren, so she gave Hagar to her husband Abraham - and she promptly gave him his son Ishmael. We know Hagar grew boastful because the word shows us how her pride had to be dealt with. But, can't you picture her tucking her son into bed, biding her time? After all, Abraham was a great man and a good man - and her son was his heir. But then tragedy struck - tragedy by the name of Isaac.

We don't think of Isaac that way, do we? No, he is the promised seed and a bearer of the promises of God. But to Hagar, Isaac is the end of her world. The primacy of her son is gone, and soon she and Ishmael are gone, too - driven out. Abraham may not have liked it, but he listened to God and his wife - and rejected Ishmael and Hagar. Soon, she and her son were on the verge of dying of thirst in the wilderness.

But the word says God heard the boy cry and intervened on their behalf. Why? Because He had promised Abraham He would bless the boy. Kings would come from him. Get ahold of the promises of God in your life! They will keep you and sustain you when all others have abandoned you and all other hopes have failed. That day it was a little stream; who knows what will turn the day for you? Watch for those tokens of favor from the hand of God!

But, back to Bathsheba and Solomon. I said earlier how 1st Kings opens with David old and feeble and out of touch. David is a type of Christ. This picture of him weak and fading is not of Christ, per se, but of our relationship with Him. It can grow old and weak. It can fade so that it no longer is of any value in the "nasty now and now". Oh, you are in church on Sunday, but it does not seem that the Lord is with you on Monday.

If David is a type of Christ, what about this Adonijah? Well, he was David's oldest living son. He seemed a natural fit for the throne. David's first two sons, Amnon and Absalom, were dead (and good riddance). Adonijah was next in line. With David fading away, Adonijah pushed himself forward to be king. He prepared chariots and horses to accompany him, and fifty men to run ahead, announcing his arrival. He made great sacrifices and held a great feast. The kingship seemed to be his for the taking.

Now, it is obvious from the text that Adonijah saw Solomon as his biggest threat, therefore he became a grave threat to Solomon and his mother. Many of us have had an Adonijah show up suddenly, haven't we? One day trouble just inserts itself into our life and declares it's taking over. The good times are gone and dark days have descended upon you. Perhaps they padlocked the door where you work. Maybe the doctor's office called to say that nagging cough that led to a "routine" x-ray has turned into an ominous shadow on your lungs. We are all one fateful phone call away from trouble or sorrow; from doubts and fears. Our faith can be quickly shaken, can't it?

Bathsheba might've been thinking her sins had caught up with her. We all know her introduction into the bible was a sordid affair. And, hadn't the Lord struck down her firstborn son? Oh, it's all over for her and Solomon, isn't it? Is it? No it wasn't! But what did she do to turn the tide that was against her? She did what we all need to do from time to time - we need to repair our rickety relationship with the Lord. We need to visit the One we have pushed into a room off to the side of our lives. We need to wake up that which is shivering weakly on its deathbed. And, more importantly, we need to remember the promises of God. We need to stir ourselves up in our most holy faith and encourage ourselves in the Lord.

It turns out David of 1st Kings wasn't so feeble after all! She found he wasn't as disconnected from her plight as she feared. She went before him - and bowed before him. She reminded him of his great and precious promises to her: "Lord, you said! Lord you promised!" And what was the response of the "feeble" one? Why, he stirred himself up and proved himself to be as good as his word. He who had made promises now kept them. She found he still could speak and it came to pass; he could give an order and it became so! At David's direction, Solomon was put upon his own mule; he was escorted by prophet and priest to the throne (For all his bluster, Adonijah never made it there. There is only one God and he is on the throne. Remember that!) At David's command, Solomon was anointed king - even as David had been many years before.

As for Adonijah, all his bravado melted away; everything that he tried to make appear to be final and inevitable was nothing but dew that dissipates before the rising sun. All his support scattered and the word declares he was afraid of Solomon. "The end of a matter is better than its beginning" (Eccl 7:8): Chapter 1 may have opened with Adonijah strutting about, but it ends with him bowing low before Solomon - and scurrying away when dismissed by him. Solomon is just as clear a type of Christ as David. The very next chapter shows him center stage, seated on the throne, strong and in command, with Bathsheba sitting by his side in honor.

Therefore, do not let your relationship with God grow feeble and weak; do not settle for a walk with God that only works on Sunday mornings. Yes, tell your Savior of your troubles, but be quick to remind Him of, and thank Him for, His precious promises on your behalf. Soon and very soon, you too will see God arise and His (your) enemies scattered. As my wise and godly wife likes to point out, our tests will become testimonies.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;

to grant to those who mourn in Zion -
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. (Is 61:1-3)

© Matthew Schilling August 2014

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