Saturday, January 2, 2016

1 Kings 1

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Kings 1. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

NOTE: With Verve's Bible reading plan, you will be reading the New Testament (the part of the Bible written after Jesus came) on weekdays. In fact, if you do this Bible reading plan every weekday, you will read the entire New Testament this year! And you will read from the Old Testament on weekends. There are 39 books that make up the Old Testament, and we read like 3 to 5 of those books in a year, one chapter at a time, on Saturdays and Sundays. This year we are picking up where we left off at the end of 2015, so we are starting in 1 Kings.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • It may feel like you're jumping into the middle of a story as you read the first verses and you are. 1 Kings picks up where 2 Samuel left off. To give you the background: At this time (around 1,000 BC) Israel was the nation of people who believed in God and had committed to honor Him with their lives.  They had no king, but soon demanded one from God because they wanted to be like the other nations. Saul became their first king, but did not honor God. After Saul's death, David becomes Israel's second king and, for the most part, does honor God. At this point in the story, David is old and near death.
  • This whole "find a young virgin to spoon with the king at night" (verses 1-4) might sound strange but this was a time when polygamy was accepted and kings typically had harems of women.
  • David had already decided that his Solomon would succeed him as king, but his son Adonijah decides to subvert his decision and seize the throne (verses 5-10). Nathan discovers this and he and David's wife Bathsheba alert David (verses 11-27).
  • David responds decisively, immediately and publicly making Solomon the new king (verses 28-40).
  • Adonijah hears of this and, fearing for his life, goes to seek asylum in the "sacred tent," calling on Solomon to show him mercy (verses 41-53).
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Verse 6 mentions that David had never disciplined Adonijah at any time. David was a good king, but he often failed as a parent. Not providing discipline for his son growing up left Adonijah thinking he could always get his own way and that there wouldn't be consequences for his actions. That is the predictable result whenever parents don't discipline their children.
  • In a sense, Adonijah should have been king as he was the oldest living son of David. But God's plan was for Solomon to be king (see 1 Chronicles 22:6-10). God's ways are often not our ways (see Isaiah 55:8-9). 
  • Adonijah sought mercy after his plans failed. If he had never planned to do the wrong thing, he wouldn't have found himself in that desperate situation. When you've screwed up, the possibility of receiving mercy is great, but it's better not to have screwed up.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • If you are a parent you have to discipline your children when they do something wrong. The Bible says, "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them" (Proverbs 13:24). When children aren't disciplined they start to believe the world revolves around them, and that they can do whatever they want without consequences. That is not the way the world works, so if we don't train our children correctly, we're setting them up for disaster.
  • Is it possible that in your life you have a plan, that makes sense and seems right to you (like Adonijah's did for his becoming king) but God has something else in mind? Do you have a sense that God may be "shutting the door" on a plan you have and trying to show you a different path?
  • Is there something you're doing (or planning on doing) that if you just play it out and look forward, you can see will eventually put you in a desperate situation and needing mercy? Stop now. You will be glad you didn't end up screwing up.