Wednesday, December 29, 2021

2021.12.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 2

Read 1 Kings 2

Questions from the Scripture text: What days drew near (1 Kings 2:1)? Whom does David address? What is David doing? What must Solomon do (1 Kings 2:2)? How does David further describe this manliness (1 Kings 2:3)? What special promise has Yahweh made if Solomon does this (1 Kings 2:4)? Whom does Solomon need to repay for what (1 Kings 2:5-6)? And whom else for what else (1 Kings 2:7, cf. 2 Samuel 19:31–39)? What promise had kept David from punishing Shimei for what (1 Kings 2:8)? Why is Solomon able to fix this (1 Kings 2:9)? What did David do in 1 Kings 2:10a? What did they do to him in verse 10b? How long had he reigned where (1 Kings 2:11)? In what condition did he hand over the kingdom (1 Kings 2:12)? Who comes to whom in 1 Kings 2:13? What does she suspect/ask? Why has he come (1 Kings 2:14)? What does he claim in 1 Kings 2:15a? But what does he admit in verse 15b? What does he ask in 1 Kings 2:16-17 (cf. 1 Kings 1:1–4)? How does she respond in 1 Kings 2:18-21? What does wise Solomon recognize about this request (1 Kings 2:22)? What does he determine in response (1 Kings 2:23-25)? What Adonijah ally does Solomon tell to do what in 1 Kings 2:26? Why does Solomon “go easy” on him? What is ultimately behind this providence (1 Kings 2:27)? Who recognizes new danger (1 Kings 2:28)? What does he do? What does Solomon command (1 Kings 2:29-31)? Why was this necessary; what would it do for David’s house and throne (1 Kings 2:32-34)? Who replace Joab and Abiathar (1 Kings 2:35)? Whom does Solomon tell to do what in 1 Kings 2:36? What will happen if the conditions are broken (1 Kings 2:37)? How long does this go (1 Kings 2:38-39)? Where does Shimei go and why in 1 Kings 2:39-40? Who finds out (1 Kings 2:41)? By whom had Shimei sworn (1 Kings 2:42)? What does Solomon ask (1 Kings 2:43)? What further does Solomon charge (1 Kings 2:44a)? What will the Lord do to Shimei and his house for all of this (verse 44)? But what will the Lord to whom else (1 Kings 2:45)? What command is carried out in 1 Kings 2:46a? Consolidating what ultimate effect (verse 46b)?

There are two “summary” statements in this chapter that highlight for us the Spirit’s intent in giving us this portion of Scripture:

(1) “The Solomon sat on the throne of his father David’ and his kingdom was firmly established” (1 Kings 2:12)

(2) “King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before Yahweh forever… Thus the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon” (1 Kings 2:451 Kings 2:46)

In the broader scope of Scripture as a whole, a Son of David has been promised in 2 Samuel 7, and it must be a very specific son of David. 1 Kings 1 centered upon making sure that the wrong son of David did not succeed him. Now, as the correct son takes the throne, and as the Spirit declares the firm establishing of his kingdom, we have some hints about what to look for when the King of Promise comes. 

The King of Promise will be manly—that is, godly. As this chapter on kingdom-establishing begins, David gives his son a command, “be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man” (1 Kings 2:2). 1 Kings 2:3 further explains what this means: to keep the charge of Yahweh your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses.” 

We live in a society that is hostile toward manliness in men, and some respond by admiring brashness and boorishness, harshness of conduct and absence of manners. But this is not biblical manliness. Biblical manliness is strength and courage and resolve and perseverance in following the commandments of God and in responding to the providence of God according to the principles that God has laid down in His Word.

Let men not be floppy in posture, flimsy in speech, or flighty in labor and endeavor. But let them show the firmness of manliness especially in righteousness of conduct and consecration of the life unto God. Christ the King is Himself the definition of uprightness and consecration. And His humanity is not some non-gendered abstraction, but that of a boy and then a man whose masculinity always agreed with God’s design. Just as there is not an unrighteous moment in all of Christ’s life, so there is not a feminine moment in His youth and not an unmanly moment in the entire adulthood of our King.

The King of Promise will be wise. David himself asks Solomon to mop up Joab (1 Kings 2:5) according to his wisdom (1 Kings 2:6), which even before the request in 1 Kings 3:9 seems to be a distinction that David sees between himself and his son. For, he makes the same point about why Solomon is a good candidate (verse 9a) for putting the Shimei problem to rest (1 Kings 2:8-9). In the building of the temple, there was already a sense in which Solomon would be the king that David couldn’t, and the tying up of loose ends in this chapter reinforces that aspect of their comparison. So, as the kingdom and the kings point us forward to Him who is the ultimate King that none of these could be, one great aspect of Christ’s Kingship that is proclaimed to us is His wisdom.

The King of Promise will be just. 1 Kings 2:5 highlights not revenge but justice; it tells why these two killings by Joab are considered murder. When he is executed in 1 Kings 2:28-351 Kings 2:33 underlines that this needed to be done in order separate the house of David from the guilt of the house of Joab. One of the main points of 1 Kings 2:9 is that Shimei is guilty; he must be treated as such. When Shimei is executed in 1 Kings 2:36-45, it isn’t just because he has transgressed the terms of the deal in 1 Kings 2:36-37 but for wickedness against David, the Yahweh’s anointed (1 Kings 2:44).

The King of Promise will be generous. 1 Kings 2:7 takes comparatively little ink in this chapter, but it stands out by its contrast to everything else. Surely by now, David has more than repaid the sons of Barzillai for the kindness of Barzillai from 2 Samuel 17:17–29. But part of Solomon’s kingdom being firmly established would be to continue this policy of abundant generosity. By the time things are being handed over to Rehoboam, the burdens of Solomon will have weighed heavier in the people’s minds than the blessings of Solomon; and, God’s judgment will be seen by Rehoboam being even worse (cf. 1 Kings 12:1-15). 

The King of Promise will be shrewd. This is a subset both of the wisdom above and the manliness above, including both an emphasis upon how Solomon both saw right through Adonijah’s most recent plan (1 Kings 2:22), and an emphasis upon his resolve to deal with it (1 Kings 2:23-24). Bathsheba did not understand what Adonijah was hatching (1 Kings 2:20). And Solomon knew that if he had hatched this, then Joab and Abiathar were in on it too (1 Kings 2:22). 

The wicked are both devious and determined, and a man—and especially a king—must be one  who is not easily taken in and also has the fortitude to do what is right and needful, be it ever so uncomfortable, unpopular, or difficult. Christ sees through all. He knows what is in the heart of man (cf. John 2:25). And He resolutely does all right things.

The King of Promise will be discriminating and merciful. There is an interesting contrast here between Abiathar’s treatment (1 Kings 2:26-27) and Joab’s (1 Kings 2:28-35). It’s sloppy and easy to become very binary or simplistic in our thinking. But Solomon understands not to paint Abiathar and Joab with the same colors. He has regard for Abiathar’s former loyalty and service (1 Kings 2:26), and he knows that removal from the service of the ark and the priesthood is itself a punishment like unto death for Abiathar (1 Kings 2:27). Indeed, so great is this punishment that it is a fulfilment of God’s dreadful curse upon the house of Eli (verse 27b). 

Yet, even in this, the King was finding a way to be merciful, and he did not put Abiathar to death. How much more is Christ, our King, discriminating! Does He not know exactly how to deal with each of His subjects, in a manner exactly suited to our character and our circumstances? Let none of those subjects ever complain against a providence that has been specifically selected for them by their discriminating and merciful King!

The King of Promise will be faithful to His Word. David had to be faithful to his vow in 1 Kings 2:8. And so we know what must happen when Solomon vows in 1 Kings 2:23-24. And this is contrasted to the unfaithfulness of Shimei to his oath, highlighted in 1 Kings 2:3-4. In keeping their word, David and Solomon imitate Yahweh, Who fulfills His Word as emphasized in 1 Kings 2:4 and 1 Kings 2:24 and 1 Kings 2:27. Indeed when the forever-King, the King of Promise comes, not only is He faithful to His Word, but He is revealed as the same Lord of 1 Kings 2:4 and 1 Kings 2:24 and 1 Kings 2:27, Who is Himself the Word (cf. John 1:1–14).

The King of Promise would be manly, godly, wise, just, generous, shrewd, discriminating, merciful, and faithful to His Word. Such a King is Jesus Christ! How much those lands ache—and those households and congregations—whose leadership lack these qualities. But there is another King. And His kingdom has come. And His kingdom is still coming. And His kingdom is forever. Let all His subjects take heart, and all His enemies despair.

Of which of these characteristics of Christ did you most need to be reminded? In which do you most need to grow?

Sample prayer:  Our gracious God and heavenly Father, we thank You for being our divine King and for giving Yourself in the person of Your Son to be our King of Promise. Forgive us for when our character and conduct are so different—even opposite—Yours in the spheres of our domain; and, for when we fret over those lesser ‘kings’ who mistreat us. Even so, make us more like You and more confident in You, we ask through Christ the King, AMEN!

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