1 Kings 2:1-46 The kingdom secured

What makes a good leader?  Much depends on the sphere in which leadership is exercised.  Often in politics lack of leadership is apparent, and concern with popularity can take priority.  Scripture has much to say about those who lead God’s people.  Both being and doing are crucial.  We now consider 1 Kings 2:1-46 The kingdom secured.

1. Obeying God

We need to understand that Israel’s king ruled the covenant people of God.  This is rooted in the covenant that God made with David (2 Samuel 7), especially the promise ‘I will raise up your offspring to succeed you…I will establish his kingdom’ (v12).  The promise finds its ultimate fulfilment in King Jesus.  Within the covenant God’s requirement of his people is always loving obedience, especially on the part of the King.  Regarding Solomon, David charges him, ‘observe what the Lord your God requires’ (v3).  Within the covenant obedience is the path to blessing – by God’s grace, not because we deserve it.  Without obedience, we cannot claim to love God.  We want to be one ‘who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice’ (Matthew 7:24).

2. Implementing justice

God ensures the welfare of his kingdom.  He gives the covenant blessing, but his people, especially his king, have the responsibility to act in ways that promote the kingdom’s welfare.  The kingdom will not be established without the king’s implementing justice.  We are not to think of David and Solomon as cynical ruthless political operators: they are God’s rulers seeking to implement justice in the ambiguities of a fallen world.

            (i). Adonijah.  He is the architect of his own downfall, the request for Abishag either folly or a renewed attempt on the throne.  He rejects the mercy already shown.

            (ii). Joab.  He had much blood on his hands, including Abner (2 Samuel 3:27) and Amasa (2 Samuel 20:9-10), as well as Absalom.  The justice that David had failed to exact, in fear of Joab, will now be executed.

            (iii). Abiathar.  Although he had stood by David during Absalom’s revolt (2 Samuel 15:24), which now saved his life, he had joined Adonijah’s revolt.  To retain usefulness in the Lord’s service, we must persevere.

            (iv). Barzillai.  His faithfulness to David is rewarded (v7).  The ‘kindness’ is a reflection of the covenant kindness of the Lord who never forsakes his people.

3. Securing peace

Note ‘The kingdom was now finally established in Solomon’s hands’ (v46).  There is peace within the kingdom, based on the justice described.  The rule of King Jesus is established on justice, with the King bearing the penalty due to the sins of his people (2 Corinthians 5:21).  That is how God’s kingdom operates.  Concern for righteousness and justice should inform the discipline of the church.  Ultimate peace will be secured at the return of the King in his judgment of unrepentant enemies, when ‘he has put all his enemies under his feet’ (Psalm 110:1, 1 Corinthians 15:25), securing his Kingdom.

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