Regular nibbles from the Bible. . .come for a bite, leave with an appetite

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. (Psalm 19:14, MSG)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

CONSEQUENCES (1 Kings 1-2)

Today's post is by Becca Whitham

If I were to choose a theme for these chapters, it would be “Consequences”.  There are a number of
them, but let’s focus on David’s sons, Adonijah and Solomon.

Adonijah hasn’t come up against consequences.  According to 1 Kings 1:6, he’s been acting like the crown prince for a while—preparing chariots and horsemen with fifty men to run before him—and David hasn’t stirred himself to say, “Um…what do you think you’re doing?” 

Before writing off Adonijah as a spoiled boy trying to steal the throne, he had every right to assume he was next in line since he was the eldest of David’s surviving sons.  In fact, it’s not clear whether David conferred the honor of succession on Solomon privately or publicly.  If the promise was private, Adonijah might have acted in the best interest of Israel by setting himself up as ruler so the kingdom didn’t fall apart because David was weak and approaching death.

However, whether from pure motives or selfish ones, Adonijah’s actions were wrong but went unchecked. I find it ironic that David’s final words to Solomon list out the enemies he needed to watch in order to secure the throne, but David failed to mention Adonijah—the biggest threat of all.

After David died and Solomon was king, Adonijah still thought he could have the throne.  There were no pure motives this time.  The request for Abishag was a power play.  She was King David’s property, one of his royal concubines.  And, though I hate to make this comparison, if Adonijah married Abishag, it was as much a sign of royal succession as when David called for Solomon to ride his royal mule.  Unlike the rest of David’s concubines, Abishag was in the unique position of being a virgin, so the request to marry her didn’t go against Mosaic Law, but it certainly went against Adonijah’s promise of loyalty to Solomon. 

Let’s skip to Solomon, Bathsheba’s son.  Bathsheba learned a great
deal about consequences (see 2 Sam. 11-12).  Though pure conjecture on my part, I think at least some of the difference between Adonijah and Solomon can be attributed to the mothers who raised them. And I think Bathsheba taught Solomon about consequences of actions.  A few of those painful lessons and a boy learns to look past what seems okay now to the end result.

When Adonijah came to Bathsheba and requested she ask her son for Abishag, she wasn’t ignorant of the implications.  I think she presented it anyway because she trusted Solomon to have both the intelligence to see through it and the fortitude to act accordingly.  A good king gets rid of all threats to his authority.  A good king doesn’t allow pretenders.  A good king follows through on consequences of disobedience no matter how painful.

So, too, will the King of Kings.  Adonijah’s presumption to rule cost him his life.  What will it take for us to submit to the rightful ruler of our hearts?

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