Last week I examined verses 5-10, focusing primarily on the applications relevant to the family. It was titled "Camouflaged Sin," and we saw that it is a pretty scary picture of how sin in general can work. But the primary message of this whole chapter is political. Yes there was family involved, but it is a political chapter. And today I want to apply the same section to conspiracies in civil government. That will be point number I. And the second and third points will bring the encouraging news that our God is a Conspiracy Buster.
Now when I say that He is a conspiracy buster, I do not mean that He disproves conspiracies as if they do not exist. Rather, I mean that God scoffs at conspiracies, He exposes their secret meetings, and He frustrates their purposes. Psalm 2 (which we will be singing after the sermon) makes clear that conspiracies have always existed, and yet Christ will triumph over them. I love what Gary North wrote in his book, Conspiracy: A Biblical View. He wrote:
There have been many conspiracies in history. A few gain power for a while; most of them lose from the beginning. These conspiracies have a model: the satanic conspiracy against God. They rely on secrecy covered in a shell of public positioning. They promote hidden agendas. They all lose. One by one, they all lose. This is why Isaiah warned God's people:
You are not to say, "It is a conspiracy!" In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And he shall be your dread (Isa. 8:12-13, NASB).
And I say, "Amen!" "Amen!" to the idea that there are many conspiracies. It could not be otherwise when Satan has been in a cosmic war to try to retain control of the world. But I say "Amen!" to the idea that they will all eventually fail in light of the fact that Jesus sits on the throne of heaven and He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. In fact, He causes even the wrath of man to praise Him. You see, Jesus can use Satan's actions to undo Satan's kingdom. As in the book of Esther, He metaphorically uses Haman's own gallows to hang Haman. Jesus uses humanistic conspiracies to thwart other humanistic conspiracies. For that matter, He uses conspiracies to purify the church and motivate the church to quit longing for the approval of the world. But the thesis of Psalm 2 is that all conspiracies against Christ and His kingdom will eventually fail. And the main theme of 1 Kings 1 is that God is in the Conspiracy Busting Business. Though from a human perspective conspiracies are extremely dangerous and must be taken seriously, from God's perspective they are easily exposed and destroyed just as Adonijah's conspiracy was exposed and destroyed.
Let me start by highlighting some of the characteristics of the conspiracies that have existed over the past several thousand years of recorded history.
Characteristics of Conspiracy
Pride (v. 5a)
First we see pride in verse 5: "Then Adonijah the Son of Haggith exalted himself." Almost all conspirators are impatient with the Biblical principle of leadership through humble service. They seek to exalt themselves. They do not have the patience of David. David refused to take office until the people were ready to put him in office. And they put him into office because he had already served so well. So David served. And it is imperative that we not respond to the pride of conspirators with our own pride. Toward the end of his book, Gary North gives some extremely wise advice to those who want to expose the evils in our national civil government. He warns us not to use the same prideful methods that our enemies use. He wrote,
The principle of localism is fundamental. It has been the suicidal urge of political conservatives to focus on the "big issues" at the national level, where their nearly invisible political opponents have long since mastered the art of deception. What we need is to develop skills on the local level before we can hope to defeat our opponents nationally. The county courthouse, the local school board, the city council: here are our initial targets. If we cannot win here, why should we expect to win nationally? Is it pride which motivates good people with minimal skills to seek the highest offices first? The biblical principle of authority is clear: success first in the family, then in the church, then in civil and social affairs. Success in the little things of life is to precede any attempts to master the big things of life.
I don't think I need to delve into this further. It should be fairly straightfward that Satan (whose chief sin was pride) would motivate leaders to prideful self-advancement whereas God the Holy Spirit (whose defining characteristic is to point to Jesus) would motivate leaders to humility and service. And it is rare to find in politics.
Power (v. 5c)
Next we see a drive to power. Verse 5 quotes Adonijah as saying, "I will be king." And this drive to power can be seen in every form of conspiracy. The wife who is like Jezebel may look like she is serving her husband, but her goal is to control her husband, and perhaps to control agencies that her husband works for through her husband. It's a different manifestation of power, but it is still an issue of power. The husband who is like Ahab may look like a hen-pecked husband when he gives into his wife. He may seem to be giving up power, but in reality he knows what he has to do to feel like a man, and to feel like he has power, and unfortunately he does it. Ahab had power because he pleased and/or manipulated the key people in his kingdom. But there are many other examples. When the Church of Scientology enaged in all kinds of criminal behavior to intimidate, discredit, and even attempt to assassinate their critic, Paulette Cooper, it was an issue of power. Everything about "Operation Daniel," "Operation Dynamite," and "Operation Freakout" was related to power. And they were exposed by the FBI. The propaganda about the second supposed incident in the Gulf of Tonkin was engaged in because president Lyndon Johnson did not have the votes or the public sentiment on his side to go to war in Vietnam. The issues and ultimate outcomes may be different, but conspiracies are almost always a quest for some kind of power and control. Gary North wrote,
It has been the essence of conspiracies throughout history to substitute power for ethics, and to substitute unrestricted power for limited authority. If one word summarizes the conspiratorial program, it is this one: centralization. In all things, the State is to be the pre-eminent power, the initiating agency as well as the final court of appeal.
Manipulation (v. 5d)
And I won't take the time to look at every issue in your outline, but I think you could look at various conspiracies in American history, and you will see manipulation as a common element. Just as Absalom manipulated people over a period of time to get their support, you see Adonijah doing the same in verse 5.
Using the very system that has benefited them" (v. 6a)
Verse 6 shows Adonijah using the very system that had benefited him. You see that in the phrase, "And his father," referring of course to David. If it had not been for David's sacrifices, Adonijah would be nowhere, He would not have had the resources, influence, and position to even attempt to overthrow David. And it is frustrating that those who have overthrown America's Christian roots and Constitution have only been able to do so because of the way Christian liberty has benefited them. Yet virtually all conspiracies (including those within the family, like Jezebel's) use the very system that has benefitted them to attack or control the system. As Gary North words it, "This is a conspiracy of insiders against outsiders, not the other way around."
Misuse liberty, whereas once in power they will take away liberty (v. 6b)
And you can look at the other points in your outline and see that this conspiracy parallels other conspiracies in world history. There was a misuse of liberty. But Nathan points out in verse 11 that Adonijah was not planning to give the same liberty to Solomon, Bathsheba, or David should he get into power. No, he was planning to kill them. Solomon will have mercy, but Adonijah would not have had mercy. Nathan made that clear. The GLBT conspiracy in America has used Christian freedoms to get into power, and the moment they get into power in any city council or state they (in the name of tolerance) absolutely will not tolerate us. You see it on conspiracy after conspiracy.
Charisma, attractiveness, and other veneer issues camouflage the ugly dangers underneath (v. 6c)
Next, you see in Adonijah's conspiracy that charisma, attractiveness, and other veneer issues camouflage the ugly dangers hidden underneath. Verse 5 says that he was also very good looking. Conspiracies don't ordinarily put forward the most ugly person, Bella Abzug of the ERA being the one possible exception. Usually societal conspiracies are draped to some degree in charisma, charm, and attractiveness, or at least have some spokesperson who can be that for them.
An insider (v. 6a,d)
Like other conspiracies, this one was pursued by an insider with other insiders. And Gary North has a great deal to say about that. Obviously Adonijah was an insider working with other insiders.
Secrecy and secret meetings (v. 7)
In verse 7 you see secrecy. And I will spend a bit more time on this one because it is such a pervasive part of conspiracies. Later in the chapter you discover that David didn't have a clue what was happening. Verse 7:
1Kings 1:7 Then he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed and helped Adonijah.
They are the brains behind the operation. So they know certain things that cannot yet be communicagted to the populace. North points out that "conspiracies ... rely on secrecy covered in a shell of public positioning." I saw that in our former denomination. We conservatives always had public meetings to which everyone was welcome, while the progressives who were taking over the denomination had secret caucuses by invitation only. Constrast that with the actions of Jesus. Jesus said, "in secret have I said nothing." (John 18:19-21) The Gospels paint the open ministry of Jesus versus the secret conspiracies of the Jewish leadership. And Jesus called His disciples to be an open light not put under a bushel and a city set on a hill that all could see. Jesus was advocating a sunshine policy, not the backroom deals that go on in both dominant politicals parties. Gary North said,
A war is in progress. It is a war between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, ethics and power. It is also a war between two conflicting strategies: visible proclamation vs. secret organization, public representation vs. secret initiation. This war has been going on from the beginning (or at least one week after the beginning). It has been going on in human history since the serpent tempted Eve.
Secrecy. Now of course, not every aspect of a conspiracy can be secret or there would be very few followers. We already saw that Adonijah tested the waters with public displays of things that only a king should need. That may seem odd that he would show some of his hand by having chariots, and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. But we saw last week that he did it not only to test the waters but also to attract followers. So not everything he did was secret. Is that a contradiction? No. This is the way conspiracies almost always work. Gary North says,
The conspirators always kept their program of long-term convergence relatively quiet. I say "relatively." Since 1973, the Trilateral Commission has published its intention repeatedly to create a New World Order. Doesn't this refute my contention that they are a conspiracy? Aren't all conspiracies always completely secret?
No, they aren't. Adam Weishaupt's Illuminati were almost entirely secret. But, as time goes on, the conspirators have become more open, especially the "conspirators by execution." Hitler published Mein Kampf. Lenin published his intentions repeatedly. True, they did not announce their intention to liquidate specific numbers of specific groups, but they announced their general intentions. But hardly anyone in power believed them. Why not? Because the "conspirators by manipulation" always said that these were just verbal excesses. "They really don't mean it! So let's make a deal."
But aren't all "conspiracies through manipulation" always secret all the time? No, they aren't. They are secret about some things. They were secret about the real intentions of the Federal Reserve System before it was voted into law in 1913. They were secret about the real intentions of the Federal income tax before it was voted into law (or more accurately, before voters were told that it had been voted into law) in 1913. But some of their program has always been public. Their "helpful guys" image is carefully maintained. Nevertheless, prior to Dan Smoot's Invisible Government (1962), the C.F.R. kept an incredibly low profile.
And the same has been true of every conspiracy in America to throw off the bonds of Christ. George Grant has written a wonderful expose of Planned Parenthood's carefully guarded meetings and agendas of eugenics against blacks and other minorities that would have discredited them and then contrasting what was done in secret with their very public activities that made them popular. That parallels in some ways what was secret and what was public with Adonijah. Adonijah was not about to tell everyone that he was planning to kill his brother, Bathsheba, his dad, and others. No, It wouldn't look good. Instead he told the public what they wanted to hear and he told Joab and Abiathar what they needed to hear secretly. The ACLU too has had secret meetings for many things and very public activities for others.
Years ago I had a friend who was a mole in the American Humanist Society secretly tape recording all of their meetings. And I have listened to their tapes. And their secret conspiratorial plans to infiltrate, discredit, and overturn are remarkable. Actually, I found one of those tapes very interesting because they said that the only Christian movement that posed a danger to their agenda was the Reformed Reconstructionist movement that takes biblical law seriously, has an eschatology of hope that drives its people, and has concret actions to carry out their plan. I was encouraged to see how discouraged they were that Reconstructionists posed a threat to their conspiracy. And they said that they needed to do everything they could to discredit us in seminaries, in churches, in the media, and politics. And they have been busy doing that in the thirty years since I listened to that tape. But they also talked about what they should publically disseminate to promote their ideas. They knew what had to be kept secret and what could be public.
You see the same things in the GLBT community, and other conspiracies against Christ. They have had this division between the public statements (that were radical enough) and the secret books and agendas that would have been too much for even the Americans of the 60s. And the success of these secret conspiracies has been very frustrating for American Christians and conseratives. And if you are discouraged by the state of events today, hopefully you will find the remainder of this chapter very encouraging.
God is in the business of exposing sin and rebellion (vv. 11ff)
What we are going to be seeing today is that God is in the business of busting conspiracies. He does so providentially, and under point III we will be looking mainly at his providential use of key players in this passage. But He also does so by the direct working of His Holy Spirit. Verse 11 says, "So Nathan spoke to Bathsheba..." Nathan is a tool in God's hand of providence, and I will look at that aspect of the equation in a moment. But I want to briefly examine the role of the Holy Spirit who sent Nathan the prophet. Why did the Holy Spirit send Him?
Earlier the Holy Spirit had sent Nathan to expose sin in David's life, and with the frequency that the Spirit convicts you and me of our own sin you might think that His only concern is exposing sin in His own people. But I want to read to you an interesting passage that explains one of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit once Pentecost had happened. John 16:6-11 says
But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
The Holy Spirit exposes sin. And in that context, He is called our Helper, which implies that we too are called to expose sin in the world. So there is a logical connection between points II and III. The Holy Spirit is very involved in frustrating the purposes of conspiracies down through history, but He involves His people as well.
But don't forget that it was God who sent Nathan. King Jesus is taking over this world, and one of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to expose sin wherever it might frustrate Christ's purpose. This is one of the things we can be praying for, that the Holy Spirit would expose evil as evil just as He did in the book of Esther. In that book, initially Haman succeeded in convincing the emperor that what he was doing against Christians was good, and then overnight Haman was discredited and exposed. God is in the business of exposing what Satan doesn't want exposed. And if you have not read the book of Esther, it is one of the most exciting reads in the Bible. You really need to do so.
Jesus warned his disciples, "Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops." (Luke 12:3) He's not talking about the final day of judgment; He is talking about the exposing of sins to the public - in history while there still are housetops.
And the point is that there is no conspiracy so powerful that the Holy Spirit cannot expose it. There is no secret so deep that the Holy Spirit cannot dig it up. Moses told Israelites who thought they could get away with their sin, "be sure your sin will find you out." (Numb. 32:23) Isaiah 28 talks about leaders in Israel who seemed to be getting away with high crimes. And Israelite citizens were frustrated and shaking their heads at how impossible it seemed to expose the evil in high places. And Isaiah summarizes the confident attitudes of those wicked government officials where they said, "we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves" (v. 15). They too thought that the public could never expose them. Just as it now seems impossible to take conspirators down in Washington DC, to Isaiah's contemporaries it seemed impossible to take down the politicians who hiding behind their lies. But God assures the populace of that day that even powerful conspiracies in government cannot remain secret forever. Who would have thought that Snowden would expose the things that he exposed? Who would have thought that other leaks would take down people in power over the past 50 years? In verse 18 God used a metaphor of what he would shortly do with these conspirators in government. He said, "the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place." In other words, the leaders were hiding safely behind a wall of lies, and yet God took away that refuge.
So the most important lesson in this story is the story behind this story. The story of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit advancing the Davidic kingdom, which was a type or picture of the Messianic kingdom. Solomon was to prefigure the future glory period of Christ's kingdom, and no conspiracy would be able to undo it. And part of the Holy Spirit's work today is to expose sin and rebellion wherever such sin and rebellion will hinder the advance of Christ's kingdom.
God uses tools to providentially expose sin and rebellion
Nathan (v. 11)
Well, let's quickly look at how God did it through providence and through His people. This is Roman Numeral III. God often uses tools to engage in conspiracy busting. Nathan the prophet was the first tool in God's hand. Verse 11.
1Kings 1:11 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?
Where did Nathan find out about this? We don't know for sure. My assumption is that the Holy Spirit revealed it to him. But he could have simply been told. Perhaps he had received a Snowden-type-leak of the scandal, and he immediately acts. Every action in verses 1-49 had to be decisive and quick. There could be no hesitation.
But the focus on the passage is not so much on how he found out, but rather on the fact that a person like Nathan the prophet should be involved. Nathan finds out about a political conspiracy and he immediately does something about it. I wish that pastors today would act as decisively in writing letters, making phone calls, instructing, and doing what they can to expose the Adonijah's of our day. There once was a time when there were thousands of pastors in the Black Robed Regiment. It was called the Black Robed Regiment because pastors used to wear black robes or Genevan gowns. These were not the priestly white robes of Roman church. These were the robes worn by teachers. And pastors used to know enough about the Bible and politics that they were worth having as teachers. Preachers once knew how to apply the whole counsel of God to the whole of life. And until the church becomes informed on what the whole Bible says to the whole of life, and until its ministers begin to take their role of salt and light seriously, the Adonijah-conspiracies will continue to prevail. But I believe though we are small in number today, all it takes is one Black Robed Regiment preacher connected by the Holy Spirit to one person of influence, and a world of trouble in America might be able to be averted.
And of course, Bathsheba was a woman of great influence in David's life. So it is providentially a good thing that Nathan is able to connect with her. He tells her,
1Kings 1:12 Come, please, let me now give you advice, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon.
How did he know that their lives were even in danger? It could have been a logical deduction. It could have been knowledge from a Snowden-type informant. But it is more likely that this was revelation from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows far more of what is going on behind the scenes than we ever will, and we can have confidence that when it serves His purposes, He can make sure that enough information gets released (from whatever source) to make bad guys go down big time. This piece of information that he is giving is a pretty serious charge against Adonijah. And it is going to be his undoing. Verses 13-14
Kings 1:13 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?’ 1Kings 1:14 Then, while you are still talking there with the king, I also will come in after you and confirm your words.”
And Bathsheba does what she can to expose the conspiracy. She's just one person, but she can play a part. Verses 15-17:
1Kings 1:15 So Bathsheba went into the chamber to the king. (Now the king was very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was serving the king.)
1Kings 1:16 And Bathsheba bowed and did homage to the king. Then the king said, “What is your wish?”
1Kings 1:17 Then she said to him, “My lord, you swore by the LORD your God to your maidservant, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.’
So she is appealing to a vow that had been taken, much like we can appeal to the vows taken by politicians to the constitution. Then she points out that failure to do something about it would be a violation of that promise:
1Kings 1:18 So now, look! Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it.
Here she is assuming the best about him - that it is simply an issue of ignorance. But she goes on to speak of the crisis that is happening and quickly names three people who are not in on the conspiracy. It's important for David to know whom he can trust. And we need to know which men in government that we can trust. Who are the Christian constitutionalists? More importantly, who are the Christian biblicists? Anyway, she goes on in verse 19:
1Kings 1:19 He has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king, Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of the army; but Solomon your servant he has not invited. 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.
1Kings 1:21 Otherwise it will happen, when my lord the king rests with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted as offenders.”
In this speech, without being disrespectful, Bathsheba has made four things crystal clear to David: 1) First, she has made it clear that he has lost touch with his kingdom, and needs to act quickly. And there are a lot of people who have lost touch with what is happening in America; who don't realize how serious things are. It is imperative that more people wake up. The Christian church as a whole is shivering in bed with Abishag and letting the kingdom go to pot. It's scandalous.
Second, she has made it clear that Adonijah, Abiathar, Joab, and David's other sons are all involved to one degree or another in the conspiracy, and so he cannot depend upon them to help him. And I think it is high time that we start naming names of traitors in DC, and in State and County governments. It's past time for politeness. We live in critical times, and conspirators need to be identified and exposed. Unfortunately, conservative Republicans are unwilling to be impolite and unseat traitors like Boehner. Just look at the recent vote and see purported good-guys who voted to retain him. They had a chance to get rid of him. If we do not have the will to name names and expose conspirators, we won't have the boldness to make a difference.
Third, she makes it clear that Israel is not indifferent to what happens. She says that "the eyes of all Israel are on you." Some politicians fail to take the kind of decisive and bold actions of David because they are afraid that the public will not stand behind them. I think they underestimate the public. The public may be foolish, but it longs for leaders of backbone who are statesmen, not politicians. Intuitively people despise politicians as much as they despised the compromising nobles of Scotland in the movie Braveheart. We long for politicians who will take bold actions to defend God's law and to defend the constitution. We can tell Christians the same words she told David: "the eyes of all Israel are on you." They really do want a leader. And so we can encourage our leaders to be bold.
Fourth, she makes it clear that both she and Solomon are in danger of their lives since Solomon will be treated as a threat to the throne. And in the same way, conspiracies down through history have had a habit of dealing harshly with independent thinkers and critics. Don't think that because we have not yet been persecuted, that we won't be persecuted in the future. If pastors keep quiet now while we still have a chance to preach, we may well lose the ability to preach the whole counsel of God as happened under Hitler. I find it offensive when the pastor of Coral Ridge Ministries recently said that pastors must not address social evils from the pulpit. D. James Kennedy would grieve if he knew who had replaced him. If citizens keep quiet now when they have a chance to act with principle, they may not have the opportunities to vote for true constitutionalists in the future. If Congressmen fail to act on principle, there may come a time when they cannot act. The dangers are real for the kind of totalitarianism that always tends to follow the victory of Adonijahs. Verse 22 continues:
1Kings 1:22 And just then, while she was still talking with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in.
This is tagteaming. There needs to be a synergy of efforts and a uniting of true Biblicists across our nation. Verse 23:
1Kings 1:23 So they told the king, saying, “Here is Nathan the prophet.” And when he came in before the king, he bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.
I want you to notice that there are others around. This is not secret. Verse 24:
1Kings 1:24 And Nathan said, “My lord, O king, have you said, ‘Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne’?
1Kings 1:25 For he has gone down today, and has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s sons, and the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest; and look! They are eating and drinking before him; and they say, “Long live King Adonijah!’ 1Kings 1:26 But he has not invited me—me your servant—nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. 1Kings 1:27 Has this thing been done by my lord the king, and you have not told your servant who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?”
So Nathan arrives while she is still speaking so that there is no time to question or dispute what she is saying. God knows just what is needed to move David to action. And though David was sometimes passive when it came to family issues, he was anything but passive when it came to the welfare of the kingdom. So despite his frailty and physical weakness, it is clear that he still has a sharp mind, and he takes four actions which will make it clear to everyone who his choice for king has been.
Public witnesses to his oath to Bathsheba
First, he swears to Bathsheba in front of everyone:
1Kings 1:28 Then King David answered and said, “Call Bathsheba to me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before the king. 1Kings 1:29 And the king took an oath and said, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, 1Kings 1:30 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.” 1Kings 1:31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and paid homage to the king, and said, “Let my lord King David live forever!”
Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah
Then come the players Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah:
1Kings 1:32 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.
1Kings 1:33 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.
1Kings 1:34 There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, “Long live King Solomon!’
1Kings 1:35 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.”
1Kings 1:36 ¶ Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, “Amen! May the LORD God of my lord the king say so too.
1Kings 1:37 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.”
So David swore to Bathsheba in front of everyone. That was a clear public testimony. Then he summons men who will be able to stand up against Joab. Then he has Solomon placed on the king's mule. This was a symbolic statement of his wishes concerning the aftermath. The mule was a sign of peace whereas a horse was a sign of war. And I think this is significant when it comes to chapter 2 where people have criticized David. But I think David had a balance between mercy and just action when it is needed. Next he has Solomon anointed with oil by the priest and by Nathan the prophet to make it clear to the public that Solomon was not simply David's choice but had also been God's choice all along. Nathan had earlier brought a message from God that Solomon was Jedediah or beloved of God and that God had chosen him to be king. So Solomon was very publicly being declared to be God's choice. And then finally he has Solomon sit on David's throne to show that he was already been given the full powers of a king, even though this would still be a co-regency until David died. Solomon was thus vested with everything constitutionally allowed that would enable him to deal with the rebellion and to hopefully avoid civil war.
This all must have transpired very very quickly because the celebrations of verses 38-40 happened at the same time as the celebrations going on with Adonijah. Verse 38:
1Kings 1:38 ¶ So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and took him to Gihon.
1Kings 1:39 Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!”
1Kings 1:40 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.
With Jerusalem as a whole in on the celebration, it would be hard for Adonijah to mount an offensive. This was brilliant thinking on the part of David and showed that you can be weak in body and still be very sharp in mind.
Now, next week I hope to take verses 41 through chapter 2:9 to contrast revolutionary over-reaction to conspiracy with Biblically principled handling of conspiracy. It is a remarkably measured response that I wish Republicans would embrace. Instead, Republicans typically want to oppose terrorism and other conspiracies with more control and more centralization. That's not a good thing.
But I want to end with verse 40 and not continue because the main take-home thing that I have for you today is this: don't get paralyzed by the conspiracies in our nation. Realize that God can use conspiracies to wake up the church, to discipline the church, to oppose other tyrannies, etc. In other words, they are simply pawns in His hand. God is doing something with them - and I believe it is discipline of a nation that has become idolatrous. But ultimately, conspiracies are no match for King Jesus. That's the guarantee of Psalm 2. That's the message of this section. God is in the Conspiracy Busting Business. And may we be willing participants with Him. Amen.
Charge to congregation
For my charge this morning, I want to read the quote from Gary North that I started this sermon with. He said,
There have been many conspiracies in history. A few gain power #for a while; most of them lose from the beginning. These conspiracies have a model: the satanic conspiracy against God. They rely on secrecy covered in a shell of public positioning. They promote hidden agendas. They all lose. One by one, they all lose. This is why Isaiah warned God's people:
You are not to say, "It is a conspiracy!" In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And he shall be your dread (Isa. 8:12-13, NASB).