Now King David was old, advanced in years; and they put covers on him, but he could not get warm. Therefore his servants said to him, “Let a young woman, a virgin, be sought for our lord the king, and let her stand before the king, and let her care for him; and let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm.” So they sought for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The young woman was very lovely; and she cared for the king, and served him; but the king did not know her. Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king”; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. (And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, “Why have you done so?” He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.) Then he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed and helped Adonijah. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David were not with Adonijah. (1 Kings 1:1-8 NKJV)
Adonijah distanced himself from the King, and had separated his loyalties from David — Now King David was old, advanced in years; and they put covers on him, but he could not get warm. He associated himself with only those he knew would be with him, and voided dissenting voices. His lust for power usurped the authority God had given David to select his successor and the authority God had given Nathan the Prophet to anoint the new king. He was self anointed and self appointed — although I have no doubt he would have declared himself God’s servant. It seems a very prideful thing to do to attempt to seat himself on a throne owned by the Throne of Grace.
Adonijah failed in this wicked attempt, paid with his life, and God seated his intended, Solomon, as he had promised David. But Adonijah is not gone. He has even surfaced in my own life a few times. The spirit of Adonijah is made manifest whenever we spot a throne of any ministry in the Kingdom of God, seat ourselves, and declare ourselves as His servant awaiting instructions. The spirit of Adonijah attempts to lead God, to be the first, to choose God’s will rather than submit to it. It always leads and never really follows.
For a short time it seemed that Adonijah had succeeded. I’ve lived a few of those false moments, seated in comfort on a throne where I was not invited. When God moved to establish His authentic will, a celebration broke out in Jerusalem that startled Adonijah and his co-conspirators. 9VS 39-40) 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!” 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. God’s people can be fooled by fraudulence for a season, but recognize true anointing when it arrives. Soon after, Adonijah was found at the Tabernacle clinging to the horns of the brazen altar, begging for mercy. King Solomon gave him mercy for a time, but when his wicked heart revealed with further overreaching that it had not been fully given over to God, he paid with his life.
Were you anointed the throne of your ministry by God, or has the power and position seeking spirit of Adonijah led you there? Leadership in Christ’s kingdom requires dedicated followership, humility, and willingness to be last and least. These character traits of Jesus are always evident in those He chooses. Selfish ambition often succeeds for a season, but eventually our servant Lord will, as peter wrote — Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Are you submitting to King, Jesus or subverting his will in the spirit of Adonijah, seeking to serve where it suits your ego or proves your value, and thereby serving yourself? Peter had been there himself, thinking he was capable of more than he could bear, declaring noisily his submission to the point of death , then running and denying like a frightened child when the weight of apostleship bore down on him. I’ve walked some steps down the path of Peter and Adonijah, too. I pray I’ve learned like Peter who later wrote —
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time… (1Peter 5:6 NKJV)
In His mighty Grip,