David Gives Up His Throne
1 Kings 1:28-35
28 Then King David answered and said, "Call Bathsheba to me." So she came into the king's presence and stood before the king.
29And the king took an oath and said, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress,
30just as I swore to you by the LORD God of Israel, saying, 'Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,' so I certainly will do this day."
31Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and paid homage to the king, and said, "Let my lord King David live forever!"
32And King David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." So they came before the king.
33The king also said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord, and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. 34There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, 'Long live King Solomon!'
35Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah."
An American businessman was at a pier
in a small coastal Mexican village
where a small boat with just one fisherman docked.
Inside the small boat were several large tuna.
The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish
and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican said it took just a few hours of fishing.
The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer
and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's needs.
The American asked the Mexican how he spent the rest of his time.
The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little,
play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria,
stroll into the village each evening
where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos.
I have a full and busy life, senor."
The American replied, "I am a Harvard business professor
and could help you.
You should spend more time fishing
and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat.
With the proceeds from the bigger boat,
you could buy several boats.
Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.
Instead of selling your catch to a middleman
you would sell directly to the processor,
eventually opening your own tuna cannery.
You would control the product, processing and distribution.
You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village.
Your could move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles
and eventually New York City
where you will run your expanding enterprise.
The Mexican fisherman asked,
"But senor, how long will all this take?"
The American replied, "15-20 years."
"But what then, senor?" asked the Mexican.
The American laughed, and said, "That's the best part!
When the time is right, you would sell your company.
You'll become very rich, you would have millions!"
"Millions, senor?" replied the Mexican. "Then what?"
The American said, "Then you would retire.
Move to a small coastal fishing village
where you would sleep late, fish a little,
play with your kids, take siestas with your wife,
stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine
and play your guitar with your amigos."
In our Bible passage today, King David was ready to retire.
Before he did, there were a couple of more things to accomplish.
David had lived a long life.
He was a king who was greatly respected by his people.
He is famous far and wide for his numerous military victories.
He is known for his great love for God.
Like so many elderly people, David, in his old age,
was weak and unable to do many things.
He became somewhat thin and feeble.
He was unable to keep himself comfortably warm.
1 Kings 1:1-4 says,
Now King David was old, advanced in years; and they put covers on him, but he could not get warm. 2 Therefore his servants said to him, "Let a young woman, a virgin, be sought for our lord the king, and let her stand before the king, and let her care for him; and let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm." 3 So they sought for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4 The young woman was very lovely; and she cared for the king, and served him; but the king did not know her.
They searched throughout Israel for a young virgin girl
and found Abishag, a Shunammite.
They brought her to the king.
She took care of the king and waited on him,
but the king had no sexual relations with her.
I wonder what she thought about this assignment.
She likely was a teenager, perhaps only 14 to 15 years of age.
To tend to the personal and private needs of an aged king
they called for a young woman.
Meanwhile, in the absence of David's strong leadership,
an attempt to take the throne of Israel was made.
1 Kings 1 verses 5 through 27 tell us
David's son, Adonijah, took advantage of the situation.
He proclaimed himself to be the king.
Adonijah was David's 4th son,
but it appears that he was next in line for the throne.
The oldest son, Amnon, had been murdered.
The next oldest, Absalom, had been executed by Joab
during Absalom's revolt against his father David.
Scripture does not reveal what happened David's 3rd son.
His name was Daniel who was born to Abigail.
We can only assume that he, too,
died somewhere along the way.
That meant that the logical person to be in line for the throne
would be Adonijah.
The Bible says: 1 Kings 1:5-10
Then 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 (And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, "Why have you done so?" He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.) 7 Then he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed and helped Adonijah. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David were not with Adonijah. 9 And Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En Rogel; he also invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Judah, the king's servants. 10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother.
So Adonijah was determined to be the next king of Israel.
He set himself up to succeed his father.
He assembled horses and chariots
and had mighty young footman to run before him.
He sought support from Joab,
David's long-time commander-in-chief,
and Abiathar, the old priest who had always served his father.
Notice what it says about Adonijah in Verse 6:
(And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, "Why have you done so?"
David had not corrected, disciplined or guided this young man.
The result was a self-centered, selfish, spoiled adult.
I suspect that Adonijah knew what he was doing was wrong.
When it was time for him to be crowned king,
notice who Adonijah left off the coronation guest list.
His brother Solomon, Nathan the prophet,
and Benaiah, David's special guard are not invited.
So Adonijah assembled his supporters outside the royal city
and held a big coronation banquet.
He was anointed with oil as king by Abiathar.
Then came the cry of the people, "Long live King Adonijah!"
When the prophet Nathan heard what was happening,
he was stunned.
The Bible says: 1 Kings 1:11-14
So Nathan spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, "Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know it? 12 Come, please, let me now give you advice, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go immediately to King David and say to him, 'Did you not, my lord, O king, swear to your maidservant, saying, "Assuredly your son Solomon shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne"? Why then has Adonijah become king?' 14 Then, while you are still talking there with the king, I also will come in after you and confirm your words."
Nathan wondered if the king changed his mind
or was this a rebellion against God's choice of Solomon?
Nathan saw at once that the nation stood in danger.
Civil war and bloodshed could be the outcome.
Without delay, the old prophet went to see the queen Bathsheba.
He urged her to go talk to King David.
She went to tell him of the threat to her son, Solomon's future
and her own life, too.
She alone could remind David of God's choice
and David's promise to her.
Bathsheba moved quickly.
Moments later she was in David's private quarters
presenting her case and demanding a decision
that would determine the destiny of all Israel.
No sooner had she spoken her piece
than Nathan stood outside the royal chambers
requesting a word with the king.
Nathan's main purpose was to determine
if indeed the king had changed his mind
regarding the successor to the throne.
A decision had to be made without delay.
Amid his weakness and ill-health,
David did not hesitate.
The Bible says: 1 Kings 1:29-37
And the king took an oath and said, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, 30 just as I swore to you by the LORD God of Israel, saying, 'Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,' so I certainly will do this day." 31Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and paid homage to the king, and said, "Let my lord King David live forever!" 32 And King David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." So they came before the king. 33 The king also said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord, and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. 34 There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, 'Long live King Solomon!' 35 Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah." 36 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, "Amen! May the LORD God of my lord the king say so too. 37 As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David."
David's faithful servants did exactly as he had commanded.
They followed through with the 7 steps of sure succession
and Solomon was indeed the rightful king.
The coronation ceremony for Solomon shook the whole city.
The roar of the celebration reached as far
as the place where Adonijah was still celebrating with his guests.
Immediately Joab was alarmed.
He had backed the wrong man
and he knew that his future was in jeopardy.
Immediately, a messenger arrived.
He explained that Solomon had been officially anointed as king
and was sitting on the royal throne.
The Bible says: 1 Kings 1:49-53
So all the guests who were with Adonijah were afraid, and arose, and each one went his way. 50 Now Adonijah was afraid of Solomon; so he arose, and went and took hold of the horns of the altar. 51 And it was told Solomon, saying, "Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.' " 52 Then Solomon said, "If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die." 53 So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, "Go to your house."
So much for "Long live King Adonijah!"
Adonijah's supporters disappeared.
In panic, Adonijah, rushed to the tabernacle
and flung himself on the sacred horns of the altar.
He thought to himself, "Surely I'm safe in the house of God."
When the new king Solomon heard of Adonijah's actions
he acted with some self-restraint.
He gave Adonijah a solemn warning: "Behave yourself, or else."
Only time would tell if Adonijah would live or die,
but the decision would be based on his own actions.
So David had made Solomon the king.
That pleased many who had followed David.
The Bible says: 1 Kings 1:36-37
Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, "Amen! May the LORD God of my lord the king say so too. 37 As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David."
The Bible also says: 1 Kings 1:47
And moreover the king's servants have gone to bless our lord King David, saying, 'May God make the name of Solomon better than your name, and may He make his throne greater than your throne.'
This was also a very satisfying thing for David.
The Bible says: 1 Kings 1:47-48
Then the king bowed himself on the bed. 48 Also the king said thus, 'Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who has given one to sit on my throne this day, while my eyes see it!' "
What are some lessons we can learn from today's story?
Lesson #1. Leadership sometimes calls for decisive action.
As leaders in the church, or the community, or the home
when danger threatens
we must act wisely and decisively.
It is important for us to immediately look to the Lord
for direction and wisdom before we act.
Once we have a sense of the right action to take,
we must take it.
To hesitate or put it off could be disastrous.
King David saw the danger of Adonijah's rebellion.
He acted wisely and decisively.
He had not done that when faced with Absalom's revolt.
David had learned from that mistake.
Leadership calls for decisive action.
May God give us the wisdom and strength to do His will
and to oppose any threat to the church or our families.
Lesson #2. We must accept from the Lord the positions and places that God has given us, and we must never seek to take what is not meant to be ours.
Solomon was the rightful successor to the throne.
The position of king was not Adonijah's to take.
If he honestly approached God about the position,
then he would have known it was not for him.
It is not for us to complain to the Lord
about the positions and places the Lord has ordained for us.
We must simply trust God
and allow Him to work in us as He wills.
To try to take what is not for us only leads to trouble.
To desire what God intends for others
and to somehow take it by force or by trickery
will not result in blessing.
Lesson #3. Age will catch up with all of us.
None of us should fear growing old.
Some people don't get that privilege.
There is a time for everything.
There's a time to be younger and more able and more active.
There is a time to be older and less able and less active.
King David has been a great servant of the Lord
when he was younger; so able and active.
Now he is older and less able and less active,
but he is still a great servant of the Lord.
Even in his older age, he is taking care of his responsibilities
to the best of his abilities.
That's all God asks of us!
He wants us to be faithful at all of the stages of our lives
with whatever abilities we have at each stage.
As a church we must appreciate and respect all of the stages of life.
We should appreciate and benefit from the older stages of life.
Proverbs 16:31 says:
The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness.
Proverbs 20:29 says:
The glory of young men is their strength,
And the splendor of old men is their gray head.
Age catches up with all of us.
That is part of God's plan.
These earthly bodies are not meant to last forever.
Like King David, let us serve God
and be faithful all our days.
As we near the end of our days, and our abilities diminish,
let us do what we can to serve and bless God's people.
Let us all honor our elderly members
and appreciate their service.
Let us meet their needs as best we can in their older days.
Let me end with this piece written by someone young at heart:
I have become a little older since I saw you last, and a few changes have come into my life since then. Frankly, I have become quite a frivolous old gal. I am seeing five gentlemen every day.
As soon as I wake up, Will Power helps me get out of bed. Then I go see John. Then Charlie Horse comes along, and when he is here he takes a lot of my time and attention. When he leaves Arthur Ritis shows up and stays the rest of the day. He doesn't like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint. After such a busy day I'm really tired and glad to go to bed with Ben Gay. What a life! The preacher came to call the other day. He said at my age I should be thinking about the hereafter. I told him, "Oh, I do all the time. No matter where I am, in the parlor, upstairs, in the kitchen, or down in the basement, I ask myself 'what am I here after?"
We all should be thinking about the hereafter.
Are you ready for the hereafter?
If today should be your last day,
are you ready to meet your Lord?
Jesus said, "Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2:10)
Are you faithfully serving God?
Are you faithful as years mount up and your body is giving out?
Are you ready?
Let's be ready all the time!