Posts Tagged ‘grace undeserved’

1 Kings 1:28-53
David Confirms Solomon as King

Have you ever heard someone say, “he is only remorseful because he got caught!” when speaking of someone who has committed a wrong and has been caught doing it. That’s the case here with Adonijah. Knowing what we know about the rest of the book of 1 Kings already, we know that Adonijah ultimately rebels again against the kingship of his brother Solomon and ends up being executed. But here in this passage, he seems contrite and accepts the grace of his brother and goes on home.

When I was a teenager, although I was not a bad seed and never was in trouble with the law, never did badly at school (I graduated high school with a 3.4 GPA, basically a 5 A’s and a B kind of student each 9 week grading period), but I pushed the boundaries of my dad’s hard and fast rules of behavior on every occasion I could. I was that classic preacher’s kid who was a little on the anti-authoritarian side. I remember right after we moved to Travelers Rest, SC (TR) (where my dad’s next appointment as a United Methodist Church preacher in South Carolina was located), me and one my buddies from the town we just moved from (Anderson, SC) who had came up to visit got bored during his summertime visit. We proceeded to walk around what was a small town then in the mid-70’s, TR. We got it in our teenage heads (me, age 14, and my buddy, age 13) that it would be a good idea to see what we could get away with that day. One thing was to vandalize the local elementary school building (it was summertime and nobody was there but the 12-month employees). For some reason, that I cannot figure out all these years later, was why we thought this was a good idea. But I am 56 now and I think so much differently than I did at age 14. But at age 14, it seemed like a good idea to see what we could get away with. Well, we vandalized and we got spotted and we ran. We ran to the local convenience store right down the street from the school – dumb mistake. By going inside, we cornered ourselves and the local police just came in and got us. Talk about being embarrassed. Talk about being fearful. Talk about a small town potential scandal for my dad who just moved to town as the pastor of the local United Methodist church.

Since small town TR did not have a detention facility and particularly for underage boys, we were transferred to the custody of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department and taken to their law enforcement center (LEC) in downtown Greenville. All the while, I was worried about going to jail and worried about my steely blue-eyed dad whose stares could bore a hole through you when he was mad at you. I was more worried about the punishment than the crime. No matter what happened with the law I knew that my dad was going to eat my lunch, so to speak. Finally, my dad came to get us at the LEC. And, yes, those steel blue eye bore holes through me when he saw me. He said nothing until we got in the car. He was so mad at me. I could feel the tension in the car on the way home. He finally spoke and none of it was flattering. He spoke of how stupid I was. He spoke of how he had raised me to know better than to do such stupid things. I dreaded this drive home almost as much as being in the LEC. Needless to say, my friend’s dad had to make the hour’s drive up from Anderson to TR to pick up his son. And oh my, the two dads together let us have it and talked of all the punishments that we would have to suffer separately and the fact that we would not see each other for a long time after this. This day and night go down as one of several seminal bad days in my life. It certainly was the worst day of my life to that point at age 14.

Hanging over both of us for the next six weeks or so was the upcoming pre-trial intervention meeting with the youth offender’s county official/attorney. Since we had no prior criminal record, the case was diverted into the county’s pre-trial intervention program. During that meeting, I learned that my friend’s dad and my dad had paid to have the damage that we had caused to the school repaired and that no charges would be filed against us. We would not have that hanging over us the rest of our lives. Oh what joy that brought my heart. Up until that point, I was more concerned about having been caught and what the possible punishment for that would be than what I had done wrong. In that sense, I was like Adonijah in this passage.

However, that day, I was shown grace by so many people that saw me as a kid with potential that did not need to be marred for life by a stupid mistake at age 14. How different would my life had been if I had not been shown grace that day back in 1976? I shutter to think about it. At that moment, I realized that I had done wrong and that I had been graciously forgiven for it. Not that I deserved it in anyway. I deserved whatever punishment that came from it. Not only did my friend and I get shown grace that Monday morning in the Fall of 1976 in the face of the law but my dad and my friend’s dad took us down to Anderson, SC that day and celebrated with a day on Lake Hartwell where my friend and I water-skied all day long. Not only did we get shown grace but we were shown a banquet of sorts by doing what my friend and I loved most at that time in our lives – skiing on Lake Hartwell, our water home. The moment was not lost on me then and especially not now as a middle-aged man. What grace was shown us that day! My friend and I are forever thankful and grateful for the grace shown us that day. What great love was shown us that day. We didn’t deserve it but we got it. It changed our thought process about life that is for certain. No longer were we kids after that day. We did understand what we deserved and how by miracle of our parents we had been shown grace. After that, we drew back from our “pushing the envelope” teenage ways because we had been shown grace. Life was altered that day – for the better.

That’s what I thought of this morning, how my event back in 1976 was similar to what happened with Adonijah. He had done wrong obviously but Solomon showed him grace. Then, what matters after that is what we do with our grace. As we shall see, in a future passage in 1 Kings, that Adonijah did not heed the grace that was given him. He simply saw it as getting a reprieve but there was no life change. Let’s read the passage now, 1 Kings 1:28-53:

28 Then King David said, “Call in Bathsheba.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him.

29 The king then took an oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 30 I will surely carry out this very day what I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place.”

31 Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground, prostrating herself before the king, and said, “May my lord King David live forever!”

32 King David said, “Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came before the king, 33 he said to them: “Take your lord’s servants with you and have Solomon my son mount my own mule and take him down to Gihon. 34 There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.”

36 Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, so declare it. 37 As the Lord was with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon to make his throne even greater than the throne of my lord King David!”

38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon mount King David’s mule, and they escorted him to Gihon. 39 Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 And all the people went up after him, playing pipes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.

41 Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they were finishing their feast. On hearing the sound of the trumpet, Joab asked, “What’s the meaning of all the noise in the city?”

42 Even as he was speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. Adonijah said, “Come in. A worthy man like you must be bringing good news.”

43 “Not at all!” Jonathan answered. “Our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44 The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites, and they have put him on the king’s mule, 45 and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon. From there they have gone up cheering, and the city resounds with it. That’s the noise you hear. 46 Moreover, Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne. 47 Also, the royal officials have come to congratulate our lord King David, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s name more famous than yours and his throne greater than yours!’ And the king bowed in worship on his bed 48 and said, ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor on my throne today.’”

49 At this, all Adonijah’s guests rose in alarm and dispersed. 50 But Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went and took hold of the horns of the altar. 51 Then Solomon was told, “Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon and is clinging to the horns of the altar. He says, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’”

52 Solomon replied, “If he shows himself to be worthy, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.” 53 Then King Solomon sent men, and they brought him down from the altar. And Adonijah came and bowed down to King Solomon, and Solomon said, “Go to your home.”

In this passage, we see that Sometimes, it takes getting caught before someone is willing to give up his scheme. When Adonijah learned that his plans were doomed to fail, he ran in panic to the altar, the place of God’s mercy and forgiveness. He went there, however, after his plans for treason were exposed. If Adonijah had first considered what God wanted, he might have avoided trouble. So, in getting the process backwards, Adonijah thought he would be safe by clutching the horns (or corner posts) of the sacred altar of burnt offering in the Tabernacle court. By doing this, he hoped to place himself under God’s protection. Solomon granted Adonijah a reprieve, hoping this grace-filled act would end Adonijah’s conspiracy. Unfortunately, as we shall see in a future passage here in 1 Kings, it did not, and Adonijah was later executed.

What road are you on my friend? Do you need to be shown what could be in your life? Do you need to be brought to the edge of the cliff of hell? Are you one who can understand that God is trying to get in touch with your heart and change your path? Any grace that you have been shown so far – do you see it? Or do you see it as having been lucky and are hellbent on continuing your current lifestyle? Or are you one who thinks that because of the bad things that you have done, you are beyond the reach of God’s grace? The thing is here in this passage is what you do with your grace? All of us are sinners to the core. All of us, even those of us who are in fellowship with Jesus Christ as our Savior, are sinners who do not deserve grace. One sin taints us, not to mention our lifetimes of one sin piled on top of another. If we were literally on trial for our sins, and tried to claim that our sin for which we are being tried, God would bring out the evidence of our lifetime of sins. We are habitual sinners. We are addicts in need of a fix when it comes to sin. We have no excuse before God, our righteous Judge. We cannot claim that it was a one-time thing and we can throw ourselves at the mercy of the court because of that. Nothing can be repaid by us to make things right. We are no longer pure with our first sin. And then the purity is further and further degraded with each and every sin that we commit daily.

It is only through Jesus Christ that we are set free from the penalty of our sin. We are given a pardon and are set free only through Jesus. He died on the cross so that we would not have to suffer the consequence of our sins. All we have to do is cry out to Him to take over our life and cover us in His redemptive grace. He will come to us before the Judge of All Things and say I have paid the price for His sins, Father. Please let this one go. He is mine. Just as our earthly fathers did for us back that day in 1976, they paid the price for us to be set free. Just as our earthly fathers wanted us not to have permanent scars that follow and dog us for the rest of our lives, Jesus does the same for us. He cleanses us through His sacrifice and makes us pure and spotless before the Judge.

And even more surprising than that, we are treated to the banquet with the saints much as the prodigal son was by his father in the parable. We are treated as if we have simply come on and we are celebrated as being a member of Jesus’ banquet table. We are made worthy to be at the table through his grace. Just as me and my friend were shown a day of fun in the September sun on Lake Hartwell as if we were being celebrated, so too can you and attend the banquet of the King, Jesus Christ, with all rights and all honors accorded to a child of God (even though we certainly do not deserve such treatment) through the grace of Jesus Christ. You have a place at the table of celebration. Come home to Jesus.

Amen and Amen.

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