Recession-proof Christian Life
Inauguration Day Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 is the day Donald Trump assumes the role of Chief Executive of the United States – becoming the nation's 45th president sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Since the elections in November 2016, more than a few developments qualifying his victory have emerged … i.e. call for recounts, Russian hacks/plots, FBI Chief Comey investigation, salacious blackmail dossiers. But all this has not stopped Trump marshalling a team through a confirmation process aimed at ensuring from day one he is ready for action. There is less doubt, as the initial stages of repealing Obamacare are executed, that Trump means to do exactly as he has said. Respected congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis echoes the views of millions when he says he doesn't see US President-elect Donald Trump "as a legitimate president," because of Russia's meddling … and the saga continues.
But this blog post is not just about the United States, but highlights an even more “deplorable” and less grand political transition and inauguration, as the aged King of Israel – David, approaches his passing away. God had told David that Solomon would succeed him (1 Chronicles 22:9).
1 Chronicles 22: 9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. 10 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever. 11 Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as he hath said of thee.
It is easy to see why Solomon’s claim to the throne may have been abhorred by other family members. His mother Bathsheba, a much younger wife and who came to know David through a controversial adulterous relationship, was the widow of the murdered Uriah, a blot on David … Bathsheba is a “gate crasher” … least qualified to produce a King. Some scholars also suspect (we do not know) that Solomon was somewhat less endowed intellectually and at best visibly overwhelmed for the task of kingship … hence his desperate plea to God for the gift of wisdom to rule.
Worse, there is a self-appointed and very eligible heir apparent, the charismatic “goodly” and more respected son of Absalom, Adonijah, who had already organised a great pre-coronation feast at which he already calls himself the next King. We read that David knew of his presumption but did not correct it … and this must have encouraged Adonijah and his growing following. Adonijah’s grand feast is attended by crème de la crème including other sons of David. Notably Solomon, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah (David’s chief bodyguard) and the mighty men of David are all excluded. The “mighty men”, you may recall, were the distressed, discontented and indebted vagabonds (1 Samuel 22.2) who joined David at cave Adullam – who remained loyal and had now become mighty and eminent in the kingdom.
Nathan, afraid for the life of Solomon, goes to Bathsheba and asks her to go to David to protest the Adonijah festivities. This she does, reminding the dying King that he promised her Solomon would reign after him. David immediately orders the inauguration of Solomon as King and Zadok the priest anoints him. Adonijah and his guests were still feasting when they hear the shocking news that Solomon has been anointed King, apparently out-maneuvered by Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan.
1Kings 1:38 So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David's mule, and brought him to Gihon. 39 And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon.
Solomon, as advised by his father, begins his reign with an extensive purge to settle old scores, and further consolidates his position by appointing loyal friends to key civic and military posts. Although he reigns in peace, Solomon greatly expands Israel’s military strength and founded numerous colonies, some of which doubled as trading posts and military outposts. Trade was a main focus of his administration and he was considered the wealthiest of the Israelite kings. Solomon also fulfills the key purpose for his calling in building the first Temple in Jerusalem, beginning in the fourth year of his reign, using the vast wealth he has accumulated.
The Bible does not need to present Solomon, the King who outdid others in sacrifices to Jehovah, as a model for rulers. The Bible already has a model – Jesus Christ. Little is known about Solomon before David’s passing. Though gifted with divine wisdom, he is revealed later as the lover of many strange women, a man who formed many outlandish alliances and had innumerable wives and concubines – many with strange gods and values. He eventually bequeaths a weakened and divided nation which soon splits into two often-hostile kingdoms. Adonijah, never fully comes to terms with his rejection and comes to a worse end as he hatches more schemes for the throne until he is killed in the process.
Times of transition call for prayers. If God has called and invited you, none can exclude you nor deny your legitimacy. You can also take the promises of God in the Bible back to Him, for God is faithful and all-powerful to do all that concerns you. David advised Solomon, to keep the charge of the Lord his God and to walk in his ways, so that all will be well with him. Solomon did not always follow this counsel, and there were consequences during and after his reign.
I pray for Donald Trump, for his salvation and that God’s purpose for his inauguration will be fulfilled. I pray we will see a revival of God’s people in his time. I pray for God’s abundant mercy, divine guidance and for success. Like Solomon’s reign was blessed with peace, prosperity and wisdom, so will it be for Trump’s tenure. I pray that God will keep and help him overcome many weaknesses and that he will find grace to lead well … bringing the American people together again as one nation under God. Like God gave Solomon wisdom, I pray Trump receives divine wisdom for reconciliation and a temperament to douse an obviously fractious scenario.
I also pray for healing and salvation of the many aggrieved and for grace to leave matters in the control of the Almighty. The camp of Adonijah, unaware of (or unimpressed by) God’s conversation with David, hold in futility to the high ground and easily find justification to perceive Bathsheba and Nathan as evil schemers.
As for all of us … liberals and conservatives, sheathe your swords and do well to remember Jesus Christ, a man despised and rejected. “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone" (Psalm 118:22). For “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Christ is the cornerstone on whom alone all must be built. May God bless America.
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