1 Kings 1:5 (KJV) Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having dreams and aspirations. But when those dreams and aspirations become too lofty, then it may take a major life event to bring its owner back to reality. This happens often when a person begins to have grandiose thoughts about themselves as being superior to others and, more often than not, includes a sense of entitlement as if to say something is owed to them.
One thing rings true: no one should owe anyone anything except to love them (Rom. 13:8). Being indebted to someone for love’s sake is something to which we all should aspire. Yet, when we look at the world around us, we easily that it is filled with foolish ambitions fueled by selfish motives.
Understanding The Text
In the text, the narrative has shifted from David the strong-willed, conquering king to an older, weaker David who is unable to perform in a manner expected of kings during his time (1 Kgs. 1:1-4). Having physical vigor was a sign of regal strength, and the lack of it constituted a major political crisis and national concern. In a scenario as such, the king’s oldest son would reign as co-regent with his father. However, this principle was not yet established and, therefore, could not be enforced.
At this point of the story, David’s son, Adonijah, enters onto the scene. Until now, Adonijah remains largely unknown apart from being mentioned in David’s lineage (2 Sam. 3:4). In previous narratives, we have heard about the intertwining saga of David’s firstborn, Amnon (2 Sam. 3:2; 13:1-19, 20-22, 26-33, 39), and his third son, Absalom (2 Sam. 3:3; 13:20-19:8). His second son, Chileab, receives an honorable mention prior to our first introduction to Adonijah (2 Sam. 3:3).
If the constitutional principle of the firstborn being entitled to receive the king’s throne was already enacted, Adonijah would have been fourth in line to the throne by conventional norms. Even with the melodrama of Amnon and Absalom, he would have been next in line after his brother, Chileab. However, we never hear from Chileab again. He never presents any desire to be king. His presence is nonessential to the overall narrative, and therefore, is nonexistent.
In verse 5, we are reintroduced to Adonijah and here we first learn of his ambition to be his father’s successor to the throne. There was no discussion of his older brother. There also appeared to be no concern for what his father had planned. Most importantly, Adonijah never consulted with God, even with Abiathar the priest joining forces with him (v. 7). As we discussed previously, God was the True King of Israel, therefore, if anyone had anything to say about the matter, it should have been God. Israel belonged to Him.
Choosing God’s way brings far greater rewards in life than choosing our own paths…
Although we are never told that Nathan the prophet received a message from God, it is safe to assume that Nathan was acting based upon a historical relationship with the king (2 Sam. 7, 12). The events following David’s tumultuous affair with Bathsheba led to the birth of David’s son, Solomon (2 Sam. 12:24-25). In that narrative, we learn that Solomon was the favored heir from birth, leading Nathan to act in conjunction with Bathsheba to solidify Solomon’s position as David’s heir apparent.
Adonijah assumed that he could take advantage of the fact that his father was no longer capable of defending his throne as he did when Absalom usurped the kingdom years before. Who would dare challenge him, he was, in fact, the king’s son? He did have the support of the King’s trusted general (Joab) and priest (Abiathar) (v.7). Yet, it was not the will of God. Therefore, the scheme was destined to fail before it was set in motion.
Why Is This Important To Us?
This is important to us because although we have been granted the privilege of being stewards of our lives, we are not in control. Although we make decisions on a daily basis that help determine our eternity, we do not decide where we will spend eternity. That is God’s decision as Sovereign Ruler and Judge. He has the final word on the matter.
There may be dreams, goals, and aspirations that we plan for ourselves, but if they are not aligned with God’s plan for our lives, our foolish ambitions will fail. Success to God is quite different from humankind’s definition of success (Isa. 55:8-9).
If Adonijah would have taken the throne without any action on David’s part, it would have been detrimental to the Davidic dynasty. This would have jeopardized God’s promise to David of establishing his kingdom forever (2 Sam. 7:8-16). God’s foreknowledge of Solomon’s birth and reign was already a reality in eternity, therefore, Adonijah’s plot threatened to cause a shift in that reality. God’s word and reputation was being challenged and He was not going to allow Adonijah’s foolish ambitions to thwart His plan. His word will always accomplish what pleases Him (Isa. 55:11).
So it is with us. Surrendering our foolish ambitions for God’s will is not a risky decision. If we do not align ourselves with God’s plan for our lives, we risk losing out on something far more phenomenal than we could ever ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20). It is the best investment and decision we will ever make for ourselves.