Adonijah . . . put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” 1 Kings 1:5
Aaron Burr anxiously awaited the result of the tie-breaking vote from the US House of Representatives. Deadlocked with Thomas Jefferson in the 1800 race for the presidency, Burr had reason to believe that the House would declare him the winner. However, he lost, and bitterness gnawed at his soul. Nurturing grievances against Alexander Hamilton for not supporting his candidacy, Burr killed Hamilton in a gun duel less than four years later. Outraged by the killing, his country turned its back on him, and Burr died a dour old man.
Political power plays are a tragic part of history. When King David was nearing death, his son Adonijah recruited David’s commander and a leading priest to make him king (1 Kings 1:5–8). But David had chosen Solomon as king (v. 17). With the help of the prophet Nathan, the rebellion was put down (vv. 11–53). Despite his reprieve, Adonijah plotted a second time to steal the throne, and Solomon had him executed (2:13–25).
How human of us to want what’s not rightfully ours! No matter how hard we pursue power, prestige, or possessions, it’s never quite enough. We always want something more. How unlike Jesus, who “humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross”! (Philippians 2:8).
Ironically, selfishly pursuing our own ambitions never brings us our truest, deepest longings. Leaving the outcome to God is the only path to peace and joy.
What do your desires and goals tell you about your heart? What do you need to give to God today?
Dear God, please help me fill the role You’ve given me and not to covet more. Help me trust You in everything.
By ancient rules of inheritance, Adonijah, the oldest of David’s surviving sons, was the rightful heir to the throne. David decided, however, in favor of Solomon, a younger son by Bathsheba (1 Kings 1:17–18, 30), even though two of his trusted advisors thought that Adonijah would be a better choice (vv. 5–7). But why would God let David choose Solomon knowing that in the end Solomon would break all the laws of the throne (Deuteronomy 17:14–20), scandalize his own reputation, and embrace idolatry (1 Kings 11:1–13)? Scripture doesn’t directly answer the question. Instead, it becomes part of the bigger story. Just as the world needed a more faithful and self-controlled king than David, it needed a wiser and more faithful king than Solomon. Only with the arrival of Jesus do we get the kind of wisdom, goodness, security, and King the whole world needs.