May 1 | Daily Devotion

May 1 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

The books of the kings are the sequels to the books of Samuel. And Kings, like Samuel, is one book with two parts. (The books were united under the title “The Kings” in Hebrew and were separated in later biblical translation periods.) It is fitting that the first story in the book describes how Solomon became king of Israel. The transfer of power from one king to the next was a dangerous undertaking. Even after a person was officially installed as sovereign of the land, his claim to the throne would be tested and challenged by influential rivals for a time. It was like a deadly version of the childhood game “King of the Couch.” Just because you were on the couch, so to speak, didn’t mean you were staying there. Someone was coming for your position!

Being king wasn’t for the weak. David’s instructions to his young son are telling: “Be strong, show yourself a man”¦” (1 Kings 2:2). A man has to be wise and willing to act! Solomon’s brother, Adonijah, has already organized his plans to become king, even before David died. He develops quite a following, including the priest and the commander of the army, Joab. This is a dynamic duo. The priest, the spiritual leader of the people, wields considerable influence in the nation. Adonijah is in an enviable position with both the religious and military leader on his side. But David proves himself as cunning as ever and sees Solomon installed on his throne. Even so, Adonijah continues trying to maneuver his way into power using the king’s mother! Not a smart move as Solomon is wise to his tricks. The move costs Adonijah his life. Solomon also has to be wary of those within the kingdom who seek to weaken David’s successor. Men like Shimei, the man who cursed the king as he fled from Absalom. David forgave the man, but he didn’t trust him.

David’s instructions regarding those who had betrayed him cannot be interpreted as a directive to “get even.” David knows that he still has enemies and that his son is young and untested. He knows that as soon as the young man is crowned, his life will be in danger. David doesn’t tell Solomon exactly how to handle each situation, but he pulls no punches in telling him to do whatever is necessary. Solomon must be strong; he must show himself a man. And as a man, he must also commit himself to following the Lord and His commands for the rest of his life (1 Kings 2:3). If he does so, God will establish His kingdom.

Chances are, none of us are going to have to fight to hold a throne, but every one of us lives in a fallen world that needs people who will be strong and wise for the cause of good and God. We must not be naïve. There are those who seek to harm our children and us. There are those who seek to harm our churches. There are those who seek to harm our schools. There are those who are motivated by greed and lust and selfish ambition and revenge. We must be wise, and we must have the will to act. What is more, we must teach our children, like David taught his son, “Go out there and make a difference in this evil world. Be strong. Be courageous. And follow God for the rest of your life.” May God give you strength today to live for His glory in this world!

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the Senior Pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.