Election: By Vote or By God
1 King 1
Adonijah had the support of a priest and the leader of David’s army (1:7-9). His brothers (all of them princes, sons of the king), the king’s servants, and the people of Judah (the tribe who claimed King David as their own flesh and blood) were all invited to endorse Adonijah’s reign. It certainly looked like he had all the right support, not just from a popularity standpoint, but from military leadership and religious leadership as well. Adonijah even sacrificed livestock. Although the text does not say the sacrifice was to God, it certainly would appear that way to the people. So, he had his religious tokens and his father, the king, had not publicly opposed him (vs 6). So, he must be the right man to be next in line to lead the nation….right?
Hold on. Adonijah deliberately did not invite certain people (vs 10), did not seek the king’s approval and, although he sought the endorsement of a priest and he burnt sacrifices, there is no mention of him seeking God at all. Adonijah must have known he was wrong. He deliberately chose not to invite David’s mighty men, the prophet Nathan, Zadok the priest, others who were loyal to the king, and….Solomon. He invited all the other sons of the king. But, not Solomon. Why? Because Solomon was the one God had chosen to take the throne after David. David had sons from many different wives. None of the others were seen as a threat, but Solomon certainly was because he was the one God had already appointed to succeed his father David.
Now the rest of the chapter describes how Solomon is put on the throne, God is praised for giving David a successor and Adonijah’s supporters are scattered. Let’s look at these two men for a moment. Both men had strong leaders in the kingdom backing them. Both had people in the kingdom praising them. But, Adonijah appeared to have God’s blessing, while Solomon actually had God’s blessing.
By appearances, these sons of the king seemed to be on equal ground. If it was up to a vote by the people and they compared them, they would see they both had a priest supporting them, one had a military leader and the other had the king’s mighty men, one had the princes of the land and the other had the aging king. Who could tell by appearances which one they should choose?
This is where spiritual discernment comes in. Way back when David was first anointed king when he was just a shepherd boy, God said that man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. Even when all things appear equal to men, the important thing is whether or not the man has God’s approval for the position he seeks to be in.