1 Kings 1:5-27 (Part 2) – Spare the Rod; Spoil the Child

Posted: September 25, 2018 in 11-1 Kings
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1 Kings 1:5-27 (Part 2 of 2)
Adonijah Claims the Throne

Oh the mistakes that you make as parents! It’s a wonder that our kids make it through our parenting. As the old saying goes, “children do not come with instruction booklets!” What works with one child may not work with another. Add divorce situations into the mix and parenting becomes even more complex. My relationship with my youngest child is one that I made more than my share of mistakes. She was only about three years old when the ugly end of my first marriage came. Within 2 years I had remarried, and my second wife and her kids were so jealous of my relationship with my own kids that in order to keep the peace in that household I distanced myself from my own kids. For fear of being accused of favoritism and to keep the lovin’ coming from my then-wife, I only did what I absolutely had to for my girls. I did not have the kahunas to stand up to my second wife and her kids and say these are my girls and I am going to love them no matter what you say. All these blended family jealousies were ultimately the undoing of that marriage.

After the end of that marriage, Taylor was 14 and Meghan was 16. Meghan had her own thing going on at that point so my weekend visitations were with Taylor and I spoiled her rotten to make up for so many years of ignoring her. I gave her anything she wanted when she wanted it. Combine that with her mom’s own spoiling of this child, Taylor really never had any restraints. She grew up expecting that she would be taken care of and had no incentive to do things on her own. She had that classic entitlement mentality. So much so that she did not get her first job until she was almost 20 years old. Even then she did not make enough money to survive on her own. She would $50 me to death along with the other forms of support that I provided her. Finally when she was around 25 years ago, I finally cut off all financial support to her and that has altered our relationship for these last 3 years. She has barely spoken to me over the last three years. When she does it is only when she has an absolute dire financial emergency. The last time that I spoke to her face to face was in November 2017 when Elena and I gave her Elena’s car. Since then, she has missed every family event and will not communicate with me. She has not even come to visit my dad since his diagnosis with lymphoma. I honestly do not know what to do about it. I mean I love this child with all my heart and I have not done anything that I know of to deserve her “radio silence” over the last year and the periods of silence before that. I just keep praying that whatever Taylor-built walls that Taylor has built between herself and the rest of the family and particularly me will be broken somehow.

I know that mistakes were made in her parenting. Both my first wife, her mom, and I were way too easy on her. She was always handed the world on a silver platter. She never had to work for anything. Sure, my second marriage was not good for my kids and I know that. However, that’s all ancient history now. They have a stepmom who loves them unconditionally now in Elena. So, to any parents reading this out there now. Please think long and hard before you have kids. When you do, make sure that you show them equal parts unconditional love and strict discipline. I regret the mistakes that I made with Taylor and pray that whatever it is that is keeping her from our relationship right now will end and that she comes to me and says that she wants back into my life.

My relationship with my own child, my youngest, came to mind as I read today’s passage about Adonijah claiming the throne. As we know from this passage, he was given much and disciplined little, just as was the case with all of David’s kids. Again, we see how spoiling your child with no restraints will only cause them to be unruly when they grow up. Let’s read for the second time the latest sad story in this series of sad stories when it comes to David and his kids:

5 About that time David’s son Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, began boasting, “I will make myself king.” So he provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him. 6 Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?” Adonijah had been born next after Absalom, and he was very handsome.

7 Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah.

9 Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth[a] near the spring of En-rogel, where he sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves. He invited all his brothers—the other sons of King David—and all the royal officials of Judah. 10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king’s bodyguard or his brother Solomon.

11 Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and asked her, “Haven’t you heard that Haggith’s son, Adonijah, has made himself king, and our lord David doesn’t even know about it? 12 If you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon, follow my advice. 13 Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, didn’t you make a vow and say to me, “Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ 14 And while you are still talking with him, I will come and confirm everything you have said.”

15 So Bathsheba went into the king’s bedroom. (He was very old now, and Abishag was taking care of him.) 16 Bathsheba bowed down before the king.

“What can I do for you?” he asked her.

17 She replied, “My lord, you made a vow before the Lord your God when you said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne.’ 18 But instead, Adonijah has made himself king, and my lord the king does not even know about it. 19 He has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited Abiathar the priest and Joab, the commander of the army. But he did not invite your servant Solomon. 20 And now, my lord the king, all Israel is waiting for you to announce who will become king after you. 21 If you do not act, my son Solomon and I will be treated as criminals as soon as my lord the king has died.”

22 While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23 The king’s officials told him, “Nathan the prophet is here to see you.”

Nathan went in and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 24 Nathan asked, “My lord the king, have you decided that Adonijah will be the next king and that he will sit on your throne? 25 Today he has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. They are feasting and drinking with him and shouting, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he did not invite me or Zadok the priest or Benaiah or your servant Solomon. 27 Has my lord the king really done this without letting any of his officials know who should be the next king?”

In this passage, we see that, because David had never interfered by opposing or even questioning his son, Adonijah did not know how to work within limits. The result was that he always wanted his own way, regardless of how it affected others. Adonijah did whatever he wanted and paid no respect to others or God’s wishes. An undisciplined child may look cute to the parents, but an undisciplined adult spreads havoc and self-destructs. As you set limits for your children, you make it possible for them to develop self-restraint they will need in order to control themselves in adulthood. Discipline your children carefully while they are young so that they will grow into self-disciplined adults.

I think David would agree with all of this as he lies on his deathbed. He had to think that if he had been tougher on his kids, he would not have had half the trouble he had in his kingship. So let us learn from David to raise our children with limits and with discipline so that they will one day return to us as adults and tell us thank you for molding them into well-rounded, high-functioning adults. I pray that one day, Taylor and I can have a conversation like that no matter how long it takes for it happen. All a parent ever wants is for their kids to be able to function without them after they are dead and gone. It all starts when they are young, at home, and moldable by us, our love and our discipline.

Amen and Amen.

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