Sunday, January 31, 2016

Prophets And Kings, Day 1. Another Rebellion Against David

Prophets And Kings
Day 1
Another Rebellion Against David

Happy Sunday mornin and welcome to ours new Bible study coverin the books of 1st & 2nd Kings! Mommy and I are so excited to get started because we haves never done a really in-depth look at these books before. We are going to learn all sorts of new and wunnerful things bouts ours God. 

We are tryin somethin different wif this study if thats ok wif ours readers. If not, we invite you to tell us whether or not this is acceptable to you. But as you know, the Belinda haves been in heaven now for 15 months and up til now I haves mostly been the voice of the blog because of being much older and wiser than the Mommy. I weres almost 108 years old in doggie years when I lost my battle wif congestive heart failure, so I experienced a long and eventful life on earth. I haves given the Mommy a lot of advice and help wif the blog. I weres thinkin now it might be time to let her take a bigger role while I step back a bit, like a pawrent steppin back and lettin go of the bicycle seat. I will still be here and I will still contribute, but I wants to let the Mommy be a big girl now. I haves taught her a lot of what I know about life and about God and I think hers ready to give it a try. Mommy will always love me and I will always be a huge influence on hers life, so you cans be certain the Belinda will be here all the time watchin over her. 

Now lets begin ours look today at the word of God.

"When King David was very old, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him." (1 Kings 1:1) To us seventy may not seem "very old" but David was a warrior all his life. David faced stress after stress, hardship after hardship, and his body is tired and worn. He is confined to his bedroom and no amount of covers is able to warm his thin blood. 

"So his attendants said to him, 'Let us look for a young virgin to serve the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.' Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The woman was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no sexual relations with her." (1 Kings 1:3-4) I believe Abishag was a concubine, and therefore a legal but lesser type of wife, for otherwise it would have been improper for her to sleep in David's bed even though he had no sexual relations with her. I imagine David would have had relations with her if he could have because David had a weakness for women, but he is obviously in very ill health by this time. Another reason I believe she was a concubine is that David's rebellious son Adonijah will ask for her hand in marriage after David's death, a custom which signified a man's desire to take the dead man's place in every way. It was a presumptuous and sinful request for Adonijah to make because it indicated his disrespect for his father. Some historians have tried to equate the beautiful Abishag with the woman Solomon writes the Song Of Songs for, but most mainstream Bible scholars reject this idea. The Bible forbade a man to sleep with any of his father's wives, "Do not have sexual relations with your father's wife; that would dishonor your father." (Leviticus 18:8) Even in New Testament times this practice was forbidden by all cultures as the Apostle Paul points out, "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate; a man is sleeping with his father's wife." (1 Corinthians 5:1) Although Solomon would have inherited everything that belonged to David, including the harem, this does not mean he slept with those women. They are now widows but it is still wrong, according to the word of God, for any of them to be married to any of David's sons. 

All of Israel knows that David's time is short and so his son Adonijah sees an opportunity to make a bid for the throne. "Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, 'I will be king.' So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. (His father had never rebuked him by asking, 'Why do you behave as you do?' He was also very handsome and was born after Absalom.)" (1 Kings 1:5-6) We see why Adonijah feels he can lay claim to the throne. Absalom was at one time the heir-apparent and now that Absalom is dead Adonijah is next in line after him.  

David was a successful man on the battlefield but was never very successful at home. His children are rebellious because he never rebuked them, as the author of 1 Kings tells us. David never once took matters in hand to ask Adonijah why he is disobedient. His actions here are very similar to the actions of Absalom who also procured for himself a chariot and horses and runners to announce his journeys through the land as he stole the hearts of the people of Israel. That strategy worked pretty well for Absalom and Adonijah copies him. David, as his father and as the king, could have at any time prevented this behavior but he never did. No wonder Solomon spends so much time in the book of Proverbs discussing the importance of discipline and training for children. He has seen firsthand what happens when a family is allowed to run amok. 

"Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support." (1 Kings 1:7) Joab, David's nephew and army commander, turns away from him after all these years and places his loyalty with Adonijah. Up til now Joab remained loyal to David and many times in 1st and 2nd Samuel we wondered what David would have done without Joab to advise and encourage him. I think there are several reasons Joab supports Adonijah. For one thing, he may still harbor resentment over being demoted after he killed Absalom. Joab had to kill his replacement in order to get his job back and even now a new commander named Benaiah is gradually taking over the army. For another, at the end of 2 Samuel we saw that Joab was disgusted with David's sinful plan to count all the fighting men and he may feel greatly offended by having to perform such a task. And third, he has always been a shrewd and ambitious man and he sees now that David is near the end of his life. It may seem to him that the prudent thing to do is to stand behind the man who looks like he will be the next king. Abiathar's reasons for betraying David are less clear. Previously he was a spy for David during Absalom's short occupation of Jerusalem but some commentators speculate he is jealous that David made Zadok high priest instead of him.

"But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David's speccial guard did not join Adonijah." (1 Kings 1:7) The high priest, a great leader in the army, a loyal prophet, David's close advisers, and his personal group of bodyguards remain firmly in support of David.

"Adonijah then sacrificed sheep, cattle and fattened calves at the Stone of Zoleheth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the special guard or his brother Solomon." (1 Kings 1:7-8) Adonijah offers these animals to the Lord and burns the fat to Him, then prepares a feast with the meat. He invites all those he thinks will support his bid for the throne. It's very telling that he does not invite Solomon, for we will find that it is well known that David has chosen Solomon to reign after him. Solomon is nowhere near being next in line as far as birth order is concerned, but God didn't choose the first several kings of Israel according to man's rules. Throughout the Bible we find God choosing leaders according to what is in their hearts and He has chosen Solomon and has made this choice clear to David. We find this passage in 1 Chronicles 22 when David intends to build a temple for the Lord but the Lord tells him Solomon will build it instead. The Lord promised David regarding Solomon, "He will be My son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever." 

Nathan finds out what is happening at En Rogel and he hurries to speak to Solomon's mother, "Then Nathan asked Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, 'Have you not heard that Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has become king, and our lord David knows nothing about it? Now then, let me advise you how you can save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go in to King David and say to him, 'My lord the king, did you not swear to me your servant: "Surely Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne?" Why then has Adonijah become king?' While you are still there talking to the king, I will come in and add my word to what you have said." (1 Kings 1:11-14) David is too feeble to keep up with what is happening in the nation but Nathan is surprised Bathsheba has heard nothing about this from the women. He would expect Haggith to be bragging about her son Adonijah. But one thing is for certain: if Adonijah becomes king he will be sure to kill his rival Solomon and Solomon's mother Bathsheba. Adonjiah may think he has the title to the throne by birth order, but God's will trumps birth order every time. He has chosen Solomon to lead Israel and Adonijah will waste no time getting rid of Solomon.

"So Bathsheba went to see the aged king in his room, where Abishag the Shunammite was attending him. Bathsheba bowed down, prostrating herself before the king. 'What is it you want?' the king asked. She said to him, 'My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant by the Lord your God: 'Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne.' But now Adonijah has become king, and you, my lord the king, do not know about it. He has sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and has invited all the king's sons, Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army, but he has not invited Solomon your servant. My lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to learn from you who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise, as soon as my lord the king is laid to rest with his ancestors, I and my son Solomon will be treated as criminals.'" (1 Kings 1:15-21) Bathsheba makes a lovely and respectful speech before the king. She repeatedly refers to him as "my lord the king", reminding him he is still in control of Israel and still has the power to take charge of this dire situation. She reminds him of the promise he made to her in the name of the Lord. She also points out that she and Solomon are sure to perish at the hands of Adonijah if he is allowed to set himself up as king.

"While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. And the king was told, 'Nathan the prophet is here.' So he went before the king and bowed his face to the ground." (1 Kings 1:22) Nathan arrives to be a second witness to the national emergency that's taking place. Evidently Bathsheba is asked to wait outside while David talks to Nathan, for she is called back in later.

"Nathan said, 'Have you, my lord the king, declared that Adonijah shall be king after you, and that he will sit on your throne? Today he has gone down and sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep. He has invited all the king's sons, the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. Right now they are eating and drinking with him and saying, 'Long live King Adonijah!' But me your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah son of Jehoiaha, and your servant Solomon he did not invite. Is this something my lord the king has done without letting his servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?'" (1 Kings 1:24-27) Nathan knows David never approved of such a thing but appeals to him in a respectful manner, as if David may have made decisions he knows nothing about.

"Then King David said, 'Call in Bathsheba!' So she came into the king's presence and stood before him. The king then took an oath: 'As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, I will carry out this very day what I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place.' Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground, prostrating herself before the king, and said, 'May my lord King David live forever!'" (1 Kings 1:28-30) This very day, while David is still alive, he will give the throne to Solomon. He will not make an announcement that Solomon will reign after his death; instead he will assure that the throne goes to Solomon by giving it to him now. There will be no way anyone else can lay legitimate claim to the throne after this, for King David himself will give it to Solomon. Solomon's reign can never be spoken against and no other son of David will be able to say the throne rightfully belongs to anyone else.

Tomorrow we will see David carry out this plan and we will see a little bit of the old warrior come out in him as he takes charge of things during his final days on earth. Today I want to conclude by meditating a moment on the grace of God in making Solomon king. Solomon is the son of the woman with whom David committed adultery, though he is not the child of that sinful escapade. Solomon is the son of the woman David married after having her husband killed, so he is a legitimate child, but who would ever have thought God would choose him to be king of Israel? But over and over in the Bible we find God redeeming people and circumstances. God redeems this family line of David, so much so that God's own Son will spring from this branch of David's family. What a Redeemer we have! He takes us in all our faults and failures and makes something new of us. He casts our wicked past aside and gives us a glorious future in Christ. There is nothing God cannot make new. There is nothing He cannot redeem.