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Foundation Truth, Number 12 (Summer 2005) | Timeless Truths Publications

“I Write unto You, Young Men”

“I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”* (1 John 2:14)

In an earlier issue I wrote about King David’s charge to his son Solomon to “shew theyself a man.”* (1 Kings 2:2) By the help of the Lord, I want to write now about the period after David’s death, described as follows: “Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.”* (1 Kings 2:12) “And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.”* (1 Kings 2:46)

Between these two scriptures lies a description of what Solomon had to do in order for the kingdom to be established. In brief, he dealt with four threats to the establishment of his kingdom: Adonijah, Abiathar, Joab, and Shimei. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”* (Colossians 1:13) A part of the process of being established in “the kingdom of his dear Son” is by removing threats from our lives. Let us examine these one at a time, and see what lessons the Lord has for us in establishing His kingdom in our hearts.

Adonijah is best described by his stated ambition: “I will be king.”* (1 Kings 1:5) His self-will had never been contested by his father (1 Kings 1:6), and as his father was old and stricken in years, but not yet dead, he carried out his plot to rebel and take the kingdom. His father proved able to quash this rebellion before it gained substance, and Adonijah submitted (apparently) meekly to Solomon’s authority. However, we find that the spirit “I will be king” was still there, seeking opportunity through subtle means to undermine his brother Solomon’s authority in the eyes of the people and to establish his own. Solomon recognized the spirit behind the supposedly harmless request he sent through Bathsheba, and had him put to death.

After we get saved, as we seek to be established in God’s kingdom, the Lord will show us that our “Adonijah” self, though outwardly obeying to God’s rule, remains a foe to the establishment of God’s kingdom. The particular things in us that must “die” will very from individual to individual—but there will be something that is the manifestation of the old life that still wants to rule. It will be such a natural part of us and our thinking, and the devil will be so cunning in justifying it, that we will need the Lord’s help and a real determination to have God’s kingdom established to recognize and put to death whatever it is. I had a long battle with my desire to reserve control of my destiny and my family’s destiny. You may say that God is so much bigger than us, and so much is out of our control anyway, how could I think such ridiculous thoughts? And yet God showed me this “desire” was a poison in my vitals, keeping me from being launched out into God. It is true that as parents we carry a solemn responsibility to protect and nurture our children, but I am speaking of a quality that will argue with anything God puts in our path that does not seem like a good idea to me. There are trials the Lord has brought me through in the past few years in which I would have given up my integrity (Job 2:9-10) if I had not laid this desire on an altar before the Lord as a “burnt offering.”

Abiathar had been loyal to David in all his afflictions and trouble, even loyally helping him at risk of his own life under Absalom’s rebellion, but at the very last, he turned aside and joined in Adonijah’s rebellion. There are qualities in us, perhaps strengths in our character, that have served us well many times, but will prove our undoing if we let them remain in a place of eminence and honor in our hearts.

I knew a man who had developed an abundance of patience in his character. He was much more “naturally” patient than I, and I watched with some awe and wonder over the years at the amount of difficulties and burdens he put up with in his home life. His wife was an unstable person and brought many troubles into his life. She even became unfaithful, and he bore that. But something had begun to collapse inside him. He did not have enough to wait out her rebellion. A time came when she repented, but though he spoke of forgiveness, he had no grace to contemplate having her be his wife again. He had leaned on his own virtue, and not the Lord’s inexhaustible supply. May the Lord help you to recognize your own strengths as simply human strengths, and learn early to depend on the Lord, and not your own _______ (fill in with wisdom, understanding, strength, ability, patience, etc.).

Joab had been loyal to David just as long, if not longer than Abiathar. He had faithfully served David as his general most of that time, and many times been a great help to him, but his harsh, unforgiving nature had been a cause of trouble to David a number of times, most particularly in the matter of the deaths of Abner, Amasa and Absalom. David summarized the problem in this way: “these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me.”* (2 Samuel 3:39) In the end, his very hard-heartedness had led him to despise David’s leadership and join in Adonijah’s rebellion. When it became evident that Adonijah could not be trusted, Joab had to go as well.

We very much need the determination to fight the Lord’s battles through to victory, but there is a hardness and mercilessness that easily comes with that will to win. “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”* (Revelation 2:2-5) We need the love and mercy of God continually refreshed in us, or we will become carnal fighters. “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”* (James 1:20)

Shimei was described thus by David: “And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.”* (1 Kings 2:8-9) Solomon dealt with him by keeping him under close watch, saying: “Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither. For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head.”* (1 Kings 2:36-37)

Let me suggest to you that there is a close line to be drawn between sober and honest dealings in our own hearts and a spirit of accusation prompted by the devil. If we make mistakes in judgment that bring trouble in our lives, the devil will jump all over us, making it out to be sin, bringing up past sins that God has forgiven, and trying to crush us with discouragement and despair. Even if we have sinned, and need to acknowledge it and repent and get back to God, this spirit will endeavor to make us wallow in sorrow and despair, instead of taking action to get right with God. We must be humble enough to receive correction from the Lord, but there must be a tight rein kept against a false, accusing spirit from the devil getting loose. “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.”* (1 Corinthians 4:3-4) We will only be established when the Lord is our judge, and not other men, nay, not even our own selves. When questionings and doubts about our standing or the rightness of our actions or course come to mind, we must submit them to the Lord, and take a stand against holding conversations with the devil. Sometimes I have had to stand thus: “Lord, I am willing to make anything right that you say I need to make right, or repent of anything that you say is wrong, but right now I’m under attack and I need relief. At a time when I can think calmly, will you please make it plain to my soul if I need to do anything about this?” The devil will undertake to run our spiritual lives if we give him room. We must keep ourselves out of his hands, and safely in the hands of the Lord.

Dear reader, is the kingdom of God fully established in you? Is there “unfinished business” between you and the Lord, things that threaten the kingdom from within? Let the Lord have His way fully with you. Remember that while those under the Old Covenant found physical violence necessary, we under the New Covenant will find spiritual violence necessary. “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”* (Matthew 11:12)