1 Kings 1:5-10
5 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.
The reason Adonijah’s bid failed was because he exalted himself, and we already know what our Lord has to say about that: (Matthew 23)
11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Adonijah was an opportunist, taking advantage of David’s weakness in age and his penchant for not disciplining his sons. It wasn’t the first time, for Absalom had also taken a run at the throne, so this was a spiritual stronghold for David in terms of being vulnerable, but it was G-d who’d secured David to the throne, not his men, and not the people, therefore he couldn’t be overthrown by earthly means, though many had tried.
David instinctively knew not to kill Saul, though he had every reason, and more than one chance to do so. But when the time came for Saul to be removed, G-d didn’t let David do it, but a prideful soldier who thought he was serving the crown by taking advantage of his opportunity.
Adonijah surrounded himself with other opportunists, and no one rebuked him or tried to stop him. The wrong people, also not confirmed by G-d, were at the feast, but now comes the contrast. David now had to act, and quickly, lest word of Adonijah’s coronation spread, and the people begin to drift toward him and get him in their minds as being the rightful king. G-d had not confirmed him, and neither had David.
Bathsheba’s timely warning came not a moment too soon: (1Kings 1)
20 And as for you, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.
David’s response was immediate, and the following ritual that rightly confirmed Solomon to the throne was done within the guidelines of the Lord’s decrees. David had learned from the Ark of the Covenant fiasco. (1 Kings 32-37)
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.”
And G-d used the city as an ampitheater to quickly end the false reign of the usurper:
40 And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound.
At the feast of the false king, when Jonathan, the priest’s son, brought news of the official coronation, these men proved themselves no more loyal to Adonijah than they’d been to David.
49 So all the guests who were with Adonijah were afraid, and arose, and each one went his way.
How often have we gone before G-d, without waiting for confirmation, with presumption of His blessing, and yes, even with pride that we are the one called to fill the gap and come to the rescue, only to be humiliated, or hurt, when we find out we weren’t only not called, but are incapable of doing the job we thought we could do.
It’s all around us: “Live every day like it’s your last.” “Carpe diem.” “Opportunity only knocks once.”
But Solomon himself wrote through the Holy Spirit:
11 I returned and saw under the sun that—
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.
Time for what? Chances to do what?
To do the work G-d has called us to do, to use the gifts and talents He’s given us to His glory. If He has plans to give us a hope and a future, and instills us with gifts, and calls us out of the world, we need not get caught up in the world’s need for recognition. But it’s not in our timing, necessarily. The favor of man is not where our blessings come from, but the favor and calling of G-d.
And how many times has it happened, the manifestation and needs for our gifts, that it never came in the way, or among the people, we thought it would?
Peter tells us this: (2 Peter 1:10-11)
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches—
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
9 Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.
Help us, like David, to bide our time and do no harm as You anoint us, confirm us, and exalt us to where You need us to be, securing our position, opening doors no one can shut, and shutting those no one can open.
Let us keep before us in our hearts and minds that we will triumph over our enemies, no weapons formed against us will prosper, and let it be that our light so shines, those who mean us harm will glorify You.
Prepare our hearts that our exalted place may be out of the sight of people, but as we are skilled in our work, we will not remain in obscurity. But if we do, that too, is for Your glory, and You see us, and our reward will be no less without earthly praise.
It is a humanly impossible task in this imperfect world where pride, standing out, being unique, is a daily command to our flesh. Remind us when these temptations come that with You, Father, as Your Son has told us, all things are possible.
I ask it in the Name of Jesus, believing I’ve received.
May it be to us You have said.