Monday, February 1, 2016

Prophets And Kings, Day 2. A New King

Prophets And Kings
Day 2
A New King

Yesterday Davids wife Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan came to inform him that Adonijah hads set himself up as king, despite the fact that the throne weres promised to Solomon. This news rouses the weak and sickly king to action. While him haves lain ill in bed, no longer able to go out among the people, treason haves taken place in hims own family. I picture David sitting up now in bed, hims voice made stronger by the urgent need to act quickly. I think there is some fire in hims aged eyes as him lays out the plans to anoint Solomon king today.

1 KINGS 1:32-53
"King David said, 'Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.' When they came before the king, he said to them: 'Take your lord's servants with you and have Solomon my son mount my own mule and take him down to Gihon. There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, 'Long live King Solomon!' Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.'" (1 Kings 1:32-35) David calls in three of his top men who have remained loyal to him, trusting them to carry out this vital piece of business. Two men of God and an army commander are to get Solomon and place him on David's own mule as a sign of the legitimacy of his claim to the throne. A mule was an imported animal and usually reserved for kings and leaders, so there is no mistaking David's intentions when he insists Solomon ride his mule. Benaiah's presence there will show the people that the army is behind Solomon. The presence of Zadok the high priest and Nathan the prophet will show the people that the Lord and the priesthood are behind Solomon. This new king is given the blessing of both the military leaders and the spiritual leaders of the nation. The men of God will anoint Solomon king and then the trumpet will be blown and the men will shout, "Long live King Solomon!" Then they are to place him on David's throne in the palace at Jerusalem, making a clear and unmistakable statement that David himself has handed over the crown to his son. 

"Benaiah son of Jehoida answered the king, 'Amen! May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, so declare it. As the Lord was with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon to make his throne even greater than the throne of my lord King David!'" (1 Kings 1:36-37) Benaiah is saying, "May the Lord bless what we do today! May He bless King Solomon and bless the nation through him! May Israel prosper even more under the rule of Solomon than it prospered under David!" The man who formerly commanded the army, David's nephew Joab, has betrayed him by supporting Adonijah. But God is faithful and in Benaiah He has given David a man who is both loyal and godly. As we go through life there are some friends who will stick with us no matter what; forty years from now they will still be our friends. Other friends may come and go. Some may desert us when hard times come or when things don't go their way. God is faithful to send us the kind of friends we need when we need them and I believe Benaiah is that type of friend. Joab deserted David after all these years but the new army commander supports David with all his heart.

"So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and Pelethites went down and had Solomon mount King David's mule, and they escorted him to Gihon. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, 'Long live King Solomon!' And all the people went up after him, playing pipes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound." (1 Kings 1:38-40) You may have heard of the Gihon Springs. This was a populous area and a gathering place because of the water there. Taking Solomon to Gihon to anoint him king was like going on TV and making an official statement. The area was so populated on the day Solomon was anointed that the ground shook from the noise they made as they celebrated the new king.

"Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they were finishing their feast. On hearing the sound of the trumpet, Joab asked, 'What's the meaning of all the noise in the city?'" (1 Kings 1:41) Joab is never one to catch on quickly to spiritual matters. He has no idea why anybody would be blowing the trumpet and shouting with joy. Nobody is shouting with joy at Adonijah's feast even though he has declared himself king.

"Even as he was speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. Adonijah said, 'Come in. A worthy man like you must be bringing good news.'" (1 Kings 1:42) Jonathan risked his life for King David in 2 Samuel when, as a spy, he ran to warn David that Absalom was coming for him. If not for the help of Jonathan, David might not be alive. Because Jonathan is the son of Adonijah's henchman Abiathar, he assumes he is bringing good news. But it is not so.

"'Not at all!' Jonathan answered. 'Our lord King David has made Solomon king. The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites, and they have put him on the king's mule, and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon. From there they have gone up cheering, and the city resounds with it. That's the noise you hear. Moreover, Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne. Also, the royal officials have come to congratulate our lord King David, saying, 'May your God make Solomon's name more famous than yours and his throne greater than yours!' And the king bowed in worship on his bed and said, 'Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor on my throne today.'" (1 Kings 1:43-48) It seems to me that Jonathan takes pleasure in giving this news to Adonijah, for it appears he has remained loyal to David. He keeps referring to David as "our lord King David". He was in the palace to observe David bowing in worship on his bed. I believe that even though Jonathan's father betrayed David, Jonathan himself has not.

"At this, all Adonijah's guests rose up in alarm and dispersed." (1 Kings 1:49) Adonijah has gathered to himself a bunch of fair weather friends and now they desert him like rats leaping off a sinking ship.

"But Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went and took hold of the horns of the altar. Then Solomon was told, 'Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon and is clinging to the horns of the altar. He says, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.'" (1 Kings 1:49-51) The altar was considered a place where a man could flee to find mercy for his crimes, although Exodus 21 points out that this will not help anyone who deliberately kills a person. Since Adonijah hasn't yet gone so far as killing anyone to take the throne, he runs to the altar and takes hold of it, begging leniency from Solomon. It's ironic that, upon taking the throne, Adonijah would have killed Solomon and his mother Bathsheba, yet here today he is pleading for Solomon not to kill him.

Solomon is willing to show mercy to his half brother. "Solomon replied, 'If he shows himself to be worthy, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.' Then King Solomon sent men, and they brought him down from the altar. And Adonijah came and bowed down to King Solomon, and Solomon said, 'Go to your home.'" (1 Kings 1:52-53) Solomon grants Adonijah a pardon for his treason and sends him home. This could have been the end of it if Adonijah had subjected himself to Solomon's rule. He could have lived the life of a prince of Israel in peace but he will not show himself worthy. This man whose name means "my master is Yahweh" feels that nobody is the master of him...not the Lord and certainly not his brother Solomon. If Adonijah had respected the Lord, he would have respected the Lord's chosen king, but Adonijah doesn't even respect his own father. This is why I believe the Lord commanded us to respect our parents; even if they don't have the type of character we can respect, we are to respect their position of authority. If we cannot respect those in authority over us on earth, how can we learn to respect our Father in heaven? This lack of respect will lead to Adonijah's doom at the hands of the king. 

A proud, rebellious, and disrespectful spirit is a quality the Lord deplores in us. It will bring harm to us and He would rather spare us that. A willingness to respect God and His decisions will help us a great deal in life. We must follow the example of the Lord Jesus who said to His Father, "Not My will, but Yours be done."

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