A house divided… doesn’t end well…


1 Kings 1:1 King David was old and advanced in years; and although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm…Now Adonijah son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king”; he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. He conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar, and they supported Adonijah. But the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the prophet Nathan, and Shimei, and Rei, and David’s own warriors did not side with Adonijah. Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fatted cattle by the stone Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, 10 but he did not invite the prophet Nathan or Benaiah or the warriors or his brother Solomon. 

This is the second son of David who attempted to assume David’s throne while he was still alive. There are some things that get my attention here.V.6 tells us David never “displeased” his son by holding him accountable for his actions. In other words, he refused to discipline his son. Unfortunately this was a pattern with David as he had made the same mistake with his son Amnon who raped one of his half-sisters – and David did nothing about it.

We’re also told David’s people were divided on the matter of his son Adonijah and whether they should support him as king or not. The Lord had told David that his son Solomon, who was younger than Adonijah, would succeed David on the throne – not Adonijah. God’s promise contradicted the precedents of culture which dictated the eldest son should succeed a king. We don’t know if Adonijah knew of this word from the Lord regarding Solomon, but it doesn’t appear he was taking any chances. V.9 tells us of all the animal sacrifices Adonijah made to the Lord. Some particular parts of the animal would have been burned in the fire upon the altar, but most of the animal would have been served up to the people at-large, sort of like a big BBQ. Sounds a lot like a political campaign stop to me. (Are you sick of the political ads yet?)

The overall vibe I get from this passage is one of conflict, of choosing sides, of dividing a people who plot and scheme for their own benefit. We have so much of that going on in our world today, it makes me sad. The conflict here in the book of 1 Kings does not end well. I fear something similar may happen to us in our current political climate, just days away from the mid-term elections. Jesus said, “A house divided cannot stand”. We may be about to find out just how true those words are.

Lord Jesus, we are a people divided. The political class has gone completely off the rails, resorting to misinformation, violence, hatred and vitriol toward the other side. Save us from our worst impulses dear Jesus. Amen.

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