1 KINGS 1:1 – 3:28 and JOHN 2:1–25
1 Kings 1
This chapter provides a vivid window in what it will be like in the last days. We have commented on several occasions that the church is dividing. One of the questions to ask is what is the basis of the division? One of the clear factors is doctrine. What one believes, what one has in their heart will in the end be aligned with leaders who speaks to those things. We saw this earlier with Absalom in his ability to draw people to himself when David was weakened. He was able to “steal” the hearts of the people (2 Sam 15:6). It was at this time when he asserted himself to become king.
Now that David is nearing the time of his passing we see it happening all over again with another one of his sons. A man by the name of Adonijah asserts himself to be the new king. Just like Absalom he prepared chariots and horsemen to go before him (vs 5, 2 Sam 15:1). We also find that David did not discourage him or give him reason to thwart his ambitions. In addition, Adonijah was very much like Absalom in looks and demeanour. It is interesting to note the popularity of Absalom and Adonijah in light of today’s personality cult type obsessions. These two men would thrive in today’s environment being readily acceptable through modern media. These men assert themselves in times of David’s perceived weakness. It’s as if a vacuum is created that allows for an opportunity for them to take advantage of.
Now that Adonijah has taken this action it puts David’s close advisers, priests etc into a position of having to make a choice. Should a person side with Adonijah who is clearly taking advantage of David’s weakness or do you hold steady in siding with a yet to be determined unknown? In Absalom’s rebellion Joab stayed true with David. In the earlier stages we saw him looking to measure Absalom to see if he might one day be able to take advantage of a close relationship with him if he were to become king. Once Absalom burned the fields of Joab all such plans were thrown out (2 Sam 14:30-31). This time however Joab immediately casts his allegiance with Adonijah (vs 7). Though he was faithful to David as his army captain he still had many unresolved heart issues. Joab was not going to let this opportunity pass. He knew that David would soon be no more and he wanted to make sure he was firmly entrenched in the good graces of the new perceived king. We see another primary defector in the priest Abiathar. This man was faithful to David from the time he began to flee from Saul (1 Sam 22). What a tragedy this proves to be. He walked alongside David through his most difficult days and yet in the end sides with the usurper.
The assertion of Adonijah also brought some other men to a point of a decision. We see Zadok, Benaiah, Nathan and a few others not being with Adonijah. A decision was required because of what Adonijah did. One had to decide to be with him or against him. In another place it was said that these men were not called; meaning the enemy was not able to touch them (vs 10). In other words Adonijah knew it would be a waste of time trying to go after them due to their integrity. Oh to have such a testimony! Adonijah gathered people to himself like a modern day Nimrod. Nathan became aware of the conniving of Adonijah and sought out Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, wife of David. He asked her if she was aware of the plan of Adonijah becoming king. He then devised a plan to counter this dastardly deed in quick fashion. He instructs her to ask David why Adonijah reigns when it should be Solomon their son on the throne. Nathan then says that he will enter at that time and confirm the story. Nathan understands well the ramifications if these matters are not countered quickly. He will let David know what Adonijah has done and make clear the case for quick action regarding Solomon. There was only a small window of opportunity to achieve this. He will drive home the point that all of the eyes of Israel are upon him (vs 20).
This verse is important in today’s context when we talk about church or leadership succession. There is that unique period of time when the founder of a work or current appointed leader is in a position of passing the baton or mantle. It is during such times when many dynamics are at work. The enemy will be present to try and circumvent God’s process. It is a time when motive and intents of the heart can be revealed. It is a time when the hearts of affected people come to the fore. Nathan is very wise in discerning and seeing the big picture. His plan of bringing Bathsheba into the picture is very wise because the life of her son will be involved in whatever the fallout. She did exactly what Nathan instructed (vs 15-20). On cue, Nathan followed up by confirming her words. He also asks the question if Adonijah is called to reign after him. He knew the answer but it would add to the urgency of David’s response.
Nathan was also quick to inform David concerning those who responded to Adonijah as well as Zadok, himself and Solomon who were not called to this gathering (vs 25-26). David, upon hearing the news from Nathan takes quick action. He makes clear his intention to Bathsheba regarding Solomon and then summons the priest Zadok and Nathan about how to go about the process of installing Solomon in becoming the next king (32-35). They followed through as David commanded resulting in Solomon being placed on David’s mule as a sign of the transition to his being the newly appointed king. Zadok then anointed Solomon with oil and the trumpet was blown. There then gathered a great number of people who rejoiced with great joy. It must have been a thunderous sound that went forth because it seems that everyone heard it, even Adonijah and his followers heard it though they did not know what it was. Once Adonijah and his men came to know as to what took place they fled and took refuge. Adonijah in fear caught hold of the horns of the altar pleading that his life be spared. Solomon in his first act of mercy makes clear that he would be spared provided he showed himself a worthy man.
There was that period of time when everything seemed to be in the balance. I personally feel that God allowed for this weakness on David’s part in not knowing or discerning what was taking place. It allowed for certain hearts of the people to take sides. There are times when a leader may well know what is happening but chooses not to act immediately. Such a person could be viewed as weak and not in touch but perhaps they are seeing a bigger picture. I have been blessed by this New Testament verse which I feel helps to put all of this into proper perspective:
1Co 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
1 Kings 2
David is now giving his final instruction to Solomon before he dies. The first nine verses are a brief review of the first nine chapters of Proverbs where David and Bathsheba’s instructions go into a bit more detail. He has some keen insights regarding Joab that he warns Solomon about (vs 5). The fruits of all he had done are being relayed to Solomon. David knew that in Joab’s final act of allegiance to Adonijah that he would be a man who would have to be watched. He also gives advice concerning Shimei. David is quite perceptive in his analysis and feels inclined to bring Solomon up to speed on his thoughts about key people before he dies. David, the great and beloved man of God dies after reigning over Israel for a period of forty years.
As Solomon assumes the throne Adonijah seeks to manoeuvre himself back into a position of influence. His approach seems innocent to the casual eye as Bathsheba is unable to discern his intent. Once the request was conveyed to Solomon about being given Abishag, the Shunamite to be his wife he responds quickly in ordering Adonijah’s immediate death. By seeking to marry David’s wife he would be the next in line if something were to happen to Solomon. Solomon was very discerning in responding that he might as well have asked for Joab and Abiathar for the kingdom as well. Their lives have been mercifully spared by David and here he was looking for opportunities to one day re-assert his way to the throne.
The above highlights the need for having discernment. Solomon quickly read through Adonijah’s intent and saw the big picture. The instruction from his now deceased father was also fresh in his mind. He sent forth Benaiah to slay Adonijah with immediate effect. If Solomon did not act quickly this motive could have quickly grown and taken root. It would have enabled the heart of Joab and others to soon manifest as well which would then have impact among the people. We are already seeing aspects of the wisdom of God upon Solomon as he takes action against Adonijah. Solomon moved quickly against Abiathar as well. He spared his life in taking note of how he had helped David his father through the years. What we see here is the fulfilment of the word of the Lord that came to Eli back in 1 Sam 2:32. The prophet told Eli that the priesthood would not last in his family line indefinitely. This was due to not dealing with the sins of his two sons, Hophni and Phineas. It is important to link the following verses together (1 Sam 2:32 with 1 Kings 2:27-28).
It is also important to note at this point the priesthood of the family line of Ithamar comes to an end. Aaron had 4 sons who were named Nadab, Abihu, Ithamar and Eleazar. The only remaining priestly line is Eleazar of whom Zadok is now functioning. It is the line of Eleazar that featured Phineas who executed God’s judgement in the matter of Balaam (Num 25:11-13). He was promised an eternal priesthood due to this act. Zadok and his family line of priests will be featured extensively during the future reign of kings and restoration era. The priest Ezra will later come forth from this line (Eze 7:1-2). It is amazing to see how the whole of the Word of God comes together when taken in total context. The rising up of Adonijah is a clear picture of the last days. When he asserted himself to be king he brought forth a clear dividing line. One of the demarcations was the two priesthoods (Abiathar and Zadok). It is the ministry of the sons of Zadok that must come forth in these last days. Zadok and Abiathar walked and functioned together through much of David’s life up until the end. The separation came about at the brief rising up of Adonijah. By all accounts he had the favor and it looked like he would become the king. He was popular and all the meanwhile David seemed silent. All eyes were on the king as to what he would do, who he would appoint but there seemed to be a void. It was during this void where Adonijah moved in and many cast in their allegiances with him, Abiathar being among them. The same thing is happening right before our eyes today. The question we need to address is whether we are aligned with Solomon or Adonijah; are we a priest like Abiathar or a Zadok? Right now it seems that the Adonijah spirit is in the ascendancy and many are aligning themselves accordingly. The old order of David seems silent but it is a period where the intent of hearts are being revealed. It is time for Nathan to sound the alert and help pave the way for the true stream to come forth.
Solomon then deals with Joab and Shimei so as to help ensure his throne would be established without the possibility of insurrection from the deeds of Adonijah. The final words of David to Solomon were prescient regarding Joab and Shimei.
1 Kings 3
There are many contrasting events to highlight in this chapter. We see Solomon taking the daughter of Pharaoh of Egypt to be his wife. Why does Solomon take on a foreign wife? Was it to solidify his rule by having allegiance with Egypt? In any case we see him violating one of the laws of the kings from Deu 17. We have been revisiting this chapter on several occasions already but it needs to be seen due to the consequences that it produces. We will see this tragically play out with Solomon as we proceed.
The Lord then asks Solomon as to what he would like to receive from the Lord (This was presented to him in a dream) (vs 5). In verses 6-9 Solomon gives a brief review of the blessings and favours he has already enjoyed from God. He also acknowledges that he is young and not knowledgeable in knowing how to lead so great a number of people. He asks that he might be granted an understanding heart so as to know how to judge and lead the people. The Lord was greatly pleased with his response since he did not ask for personal enrichment which is typical for most people. God gave him extraordinary wisdom and understanding and he gave Solomon what he did not ask for in the way of riches and abundance. He also gives him a promise of a long life and a successful reign provided he keeps God’s ways, His laws and statutes (vs 14).
Though this encounter was a dream we see the Lord beginning to give Solomon the fruits of the dream as he exercises unique wisdom in the matter of the two women with the one child. The wisdom that Solomon exercised in this matter caught the attention of all of Israel further establishing his authority. The fear of the Lord was upon the king and the people responded with respect and awe. In the early years of Solomon’s reign we will see vivid portrayals of the millennial rule of Christ. The glory and majesty of Solomon’s early reign will give hints to the splendour of what it will be like living and serving under Christ during His soon to come 1000 year reign. We are living on the threshold of those very days.
We have the first recorded miracle of the Lord as he attends a wedding in Cana of Galilee. There are many lessons that can be gleaned from this event. This marriage could have been like any other but it is marked due to the nature of the miracle. Have you ever wondered who this married couple was? What were their names, why did Jesus happen to be there? We do not know because that is not the focus of this text. It is on the miracle, but even more than the miracle it is the primary message of God saving the best for last. There is a new wine that the last day church is about to be partakers of. We enjoy reading and hearing of the mighty moves of God in times past. We have noted the mighty revivals and moves of God in scripture as well as significant moves of God in recent generations. We enjoy looking at the model of the early church and how the church exploded out of Jerusalem to the outer reaches of the known world. What we need to appreciate and what this miracle at Cana reinforces is that there is yet to be an even greater outpouring of God’s Spirit to come in these last days. It speaks to the day in which we now live. There are currently grievous persecutions and atrocities taking place around the world today and they will only intensify. At the same time there is to come a mighty move of God, a great revival that will take hold with a joy and glory never yet seen. In our commentary study it is interesting that our Old Testament parallel study is featuring the early reign of Solomon’s kingdom. The glory and majestic splendour seen in his early years is but a glimpse of what is to come. We do not want to have the mind-set of the governor of the feast who thinks that the best wine has already been given with only an inferior product to be given at the end. This is the way we commonly think but with God it is far different. All we have heard about in the past, as great as it was cannot be compared with what is to come. We need the Lord to reinforce this truth in our spirit. The beginning of miracles is clearly something to take note of in this account but it’s the message of the miracle that really deserves our focus. The best is yet to come.
In verses 13-17 we see one of the accounts where Jesus went into the temple to demonstrate His outrage as to what they were doing in His Father’s house. We are reminded that our body is a temple in which the spirit of God resides. What allowances do we make within these temples? Do we allow for merchandising that is contrary to the things of God? This is why the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a must in the life of all believers. What Jesus is doing here presents to us a picture of the future ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We need to give access and permission to the Holy Spirit to do a similar work within us. The outrage that Jesus expressed needs to be the demeanour we exhibit in the stewardship of our temple. This event will take place again in the last week of the Lord’s earthly ministry.
The people then asked Jesus for a sign in regard to the things that He was doing. The Lord then turns the attention once again to the temple. He makes a statement about Himself when He says “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (vs 19). There are two vivid points that the Lord was making to the people with this statement. First, He was referring to Himself regarding His death and resurrection. Second, He was referring back to the temple and what He had just done. The temple the Jews were thinking of was the physical building but Jesus was speaking of the temple of the body. This did not make much sense to them at the time but it would later after Jesus would rise from the dead. It would make even more sense when the Apostle Paul speaks to our body as being the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). John 2 has many messages but it is an introduction to miracles, to the fact that the best is reserved for the last which will all be accomplished by the Holy Spirit, who would be given in His fullness after Jesus ascends and takes His place upon the throne.