Mercy or Judgment?

Posted: February 25, 2010 in 1 Kings

1 Kings 1-2, “Mercy or Judgment?”

Technically, what we’re really reading is Ch 1-2 of the book of Kings. Like Samuel (and Chronicles), originally this was just one book. It didn’t get divided in 2 until the LXX. Kings is of course a continuation of the history of the kings of Israel & Judah. Whereas 1-2 Samuel saw the rise of the monarchy & the establishment of the Davidic Covenant, 1-2 Kings looks at the many sons that followed until the time of the Babylonian captivity. It’s a book of history, but it’s certainly eventful! Wars, prophecy, miracles, politics – this isn’t a textbook, this is a book of the workings of God in the midst of a people who struggled to walk faithfully to the covenant they had made with God.

It starts off with a bang – David can’t even pass on the kingdom to his son Solomon without another rebellion & military coup taking place. But God is in control, as many will find out the hard way…

1 Kings 1 (NKJV)
1 Now King David was old, advanced in years [~70 yrs old]; and they put covers on him, but he could not get warm. 2 Therefore his servants said to him, “Let a young woman, a virgin, be sought for our lord the king, and let her stand before the king, and let her care for him; and let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm.” 3 So they sought for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4 The young woman was very lovely; and she cared for the king, and served him; but the king did not know her.

A. Sounds a bit risque to us today – but for the time, it was like getting companionship & an electric blanket all rolled into one. 🙂 Apparently the relationship between David & Abishag remained chaste, but she certainly would have been considered another one of David’s harem.

5 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king”; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6 (And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, “Why have you done so?” He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.)

A. By setting up an entourage, Adonijah is showing himself to be king…following virtually the exact same footsteps as Absalom had done years before.
B. David still has problems dealing with family issues…

7 Then he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed and helped Adonijah. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David were not with Adonijah. 9 And Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En Rogel; he also invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah, the king’s servants. 10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother.

A. Adonijah assembled quite a team of big-names in Israel for his conspiracy to take the throne. One would think Joab would have known better considering his involvement with Ishbosheth & his 1st hand view at seeing the rebellion of Absalom…

B. Obviously not everyone was loyal to Adonijah. There are some that knew David’s desire to see Solomon on the throne, and they were going to work to see it come to pass.

11 So Nathan spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, “Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know it? 12 Come, please, let me now give you advice, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go immediately to King David and say to him, ‘Did you not, my lord, O king, swear to your maidservant, saying, “Assuredly your son Solomon shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ 14 Then, while you are still talking there with the king, I also will come in after you and confirm your words.”

A. Nathan sees what’s going on & lays out a plan. Gets Bathsheba to break the news to David, and he’d come in to confirm it. …

B. When did David make the promise regarding Solomon? We don’t know exactly – the book of Samuel certainly didn’t record it. However, 1 Chronicles 22 & 28 show David clearly proclaiming Solomon to be the next king of Israel – so at some point his choice had been made public. Nathan & Bathsheba obviously knew it well.

15 So Bathsheba went into the chamber to the king. (Now the king was very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was serving the king.) 16 And Bathsheba bowed and did homage to the king. Then the king said, “What is your wish?” 17 Then she said to him, “My lord, you swore by the LORD your God to your maidservant, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.’ 18 So now, look! Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it. 19 He has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king, Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of the army; but Solomon your servant he has not invited. 20 And as for you, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise it will happen, when my lord the king rests with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted as offenders.”

A. Bathsheba fulfills her part of the plan… Does she have a right to be afraid? Yes. In the culture, it was common for new kings to execute any other potential rivals to the throne. Adonijah would have surely killed Solomon (he obviously knew Solomon opposed him; otherwise Solomon would have been invited to the party with the rest of the king’s sons), and he would have killed off anyone who supported Solomon. Bathsheba isn’t merely asking for her son’s promotion; she’s pleading for her life.

22 And just then, while she was still talking with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. 23 So they told the king, saying, “Here is Nathan the prophet.” And when he came in before the king, he bowed down before the king with his face to the ground. 24 And Nathan said, “My lord, O king, have you said, ‘Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne’? 25 For he has gone down today, and has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s sons, and the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest; and look! They are eating and drinking before him; and they say, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he has not invited me—me your servant—nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. 27 Has this thing been done by my lord the king, and you have not told your servant who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?”

A. Nathan came in according to plan (presumably when he did, Bathsheba left the room). He verified everything Bathsheba said, providing the 2nd witness needed in order for David to take action.

28 Then King David answered and said, “Call Bathsheba to me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before the king. 29 And the king took an oath and said, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, 30 just as I swore to you by the LORD God of Israel, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ so I certainly will do this day.” 31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and paid homage to the king, and said, “Let my lord King David live forever!” 32 And King David said, “Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.” So they came before the king. 33 The king also said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord, and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. 34 There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” 36 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, “Amen! May the LORD God of my lord the king say so too. 37 As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”

A. Finally, after all this time, David takes action with his family. His hand may have been forced into it by Adonijah, but we need to give David credit for actually doing what needed to be done. [] We may be too late to avoid certain consequences, but it’s never too late to do the right thing. Maybe you had a tough time parenting (like David) – it’s not too late to start. The kids may be grown & out of the house, but you will always be their father or mother… You can continue to influence them for the Lord God the rest of your life…
B. David gives the plan, which Zadok & Nathan perform to the letter. See vs. 38…

38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and took him to Gihon. 39 Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound.

A. Solomon had the blessing of the king (the mule of David). Solomon had the anointing of God (the oil from Zadok the priest). He had the proclamation of the people, and in response everyone rejoiced & cried aloud with praise to the king.

B. So many parallels to Christ Jesus here! Jesus has the blessing of the King (verbally presented by God at baptism & in the Transfiguration)…even rode in on a donkey into Jerusalem. Jesus had the anointing of the Holy Spirit – He walked in the Spirit & people recognized the anointing of God upon Him, showing it in signs, wonders, & miracles. Jesus even has the proclamation of the people in the witnesses to His resurrection, the testimonies of the apostles, and our changed lives even today. And one day all creation will cry out & acknowledge Him as Lord – every knee will bow & every tongue confess! Jesus is LORD – Jesus is the KING!

41 Now Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the horn, he said, “Why is the city in such a noisy uproar?” 42 While he was still speaking, there came Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the priest. And Adonijah said to him, “Come in, for you are a prominent man, and bring good news.” 43 Then Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, “No! Our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44 The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites; and they have made him ride on the king’s mule. 45 So Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you have heard. 46 Also Solomon sits on the throne of the kingdom. 47 And moreover the king’s servants have gone to bless our lord King David, saying, ‘May God make the name of Solomon better than your name, and may He make his throne greater than your throne.’ Then the king bowed himself on the bed. 48 Also the king said thus, ‘Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who has given one to sit on my throne this day, while my eyes see it!’ ” 49 So all the guests who were with Adonijah were afraid, and arose, and each one went his way.

A. We can only imagine what went through Adonijah’s mind when he heard the news. Here he is, celebrating his ascension to the throne (so he thought) – eating & drinking when the household hears all sorts of noise in the streets. The earth was splitting with the sound of Solomon being made king, but Adonijah & his friends didn’t know what it was. Jonathan comes in with the news that David himself had elevated Solomon to the throne, and given him the blessing of God. And like rats leaving a sinking ship, all those who had allied themselves with Adonijah got out of Dodge quick!

B. What a contrast! Adonijah claimed the throne for himself; Solomon had the throne given to him by others. With Adonijah it was ego; with Solomon it was ordination. We cannot claim for ourselves what God has not given to us…despite what we may hear taught on so many TV programs. God is God; we’re not – we serve HIM & we do HIS will. One has to wonder what might have happened with Adonijah if he hadn’t tried to take what was rightfully Solomon’s. Solomon did not kill off all his brothers; perhaps Adonijah could have served in the king’s court…instead he meets up with a tragic end.

50 Now Adonijah was afraid of Solomon; so he arose, and went and took hold of the horns of the altar. 51 And it was told Solomon, saying, “Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’ ” 52 Then Solomon said, “If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.” 53 So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, “Go to your house.”

A. Adonijah’s pleading for mercy – like Quasimodo claiming “Sanctuary!” in the church of Notre-Dame, so Adonijah grabs hold of the horns of the brazen altar of sacrifice in the Tabernacle.

B. Solomon does indeed grant mercy. Not grace; but mercy. Adonijah deserved death at that instant, but Solomon restrained his hand (that’s mercy). Grace would have been to forgive Adonijah & restore him back into the family.
__a. Mercy is not a bad thing; mercy is wonderful! We all need the mercy of God & we experience every day of our existence! But mercy is not enough to give us what we need in our relationship with God. Mercy only turns away from present sin; grace grants us forgiveness & a covenant with God we never deserved. God shows us mercy by allowing us to wake up every day; God showed us true grace when Jesus when to the cross for our sin!

1 Kings 2 (NKJV)
1 Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2 “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. 3 And keep the charge of the LORD 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, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; 4 that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’

A. Sum up David’s charge: be a man & walk with the Lord! Break it down:
__a. Be a man: “be strong…prove yourself…” As God said to Joshua, “Be strong & courageous” so David was saying the same to his son. Solomon had not been battle-tested as David had prior to ascending to the throne; he’d need every ounce of courage to do what the Lord had called him to do.
__b. Walk with God: “walk in His ways…as is written…” David pleaded with his son to keep the law & walk with the Lord. Solomon was faithful to do exactly that for many years & he experienced the blessings of God. But when Solomon turned away, things changed dramatically.
__c. Depend on the promise of God: “that the Lord may fulill…” Solomon would start off strong on this point, but ultimately walk away from the Lord. The kingdom would be split, and a line of mostly ungodly kings would reign. But God would still be true to His promise! Solomon’s descendents would not reign forever on the throne, though they had a legal claim, but David’s house would continue. (Jesus was adopted by Joseph, who was descended from Solomon – but Jesus was born of Mary, who was descended from Nathan, one of Solomon’s brothers).

B. The charge to Solomon is a good charge to us as well!
__a. Be strong & courageous for what you are to face in your walk with Christ. There will be attacks – there will be deceptions – there will be times of suffering. But put on the armor of God & prove yourself to be a man or woman of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
__b. Walk in the ways of God. We aren’t to keep the law of Moses, but we are to fulfill the law of Christ in loving God & loving one another. Part of the Great Commission is to obey all things that Jesus has commanded us…our convictions need to be followed by our actions.
__c. Know the promises of God & bet your life upon them! God is trustworthy; we can depend upon His word! …

5 “Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed. And he shed the blood of war in peacetime, and put the blood of war on his belt that was around his waist, and on his sandals that were on his feet. 6 Therefore do according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace.

A. Joab had been a great commander in Israel, but he had been a violent man of blood…and David never forgot his crimes, even if he didn’t have the political power to deal with them at the time. Now with David gone & Joab advanced in age, Solomon would be able to bring justice.

7 “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for so they came to me when I fled from Absalom your brother.

A. Per 2 Samuel 19…David is staying true to his word.

8 “And see, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a malicious curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the LORD, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ 9 Now therefore, do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man and know what you ought to do to him; but bring his gray hair down to the grave with blood.”

A. What’s going on here? Is David seeking vengeance? Back in 2 Samuel 19, it seemed that he was content to leave the matter of Shimei in the hands of the Lord. Is David taking things back into his own hands here? Tough to say – perhaps yes & no. It’s quite possible that David has hard feelings towards Shimei & although he promised that he himself would not kill Shimei, David made no such promise regarding his sons. So perhaps David is keeping the letter of the law regarding his promise, but not necessarily the spirit of it. It’s also possible that David simply knows that Shimei cannot be trusted, and he feels he needs to warn his son about what Shimei is capable of & to be prepared to deal with him.

10 So David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. 11 The period that David reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years. 12 Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.

A. Long reign & a solid transition. That’ll be rather rare in the kings to come…

13 Now Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. So she said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably.” 14 Moreover he said, “I have something to say to you.” And she said, “Say it.” 15 Then he said, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set their expectations on me, that I should reign. However, the kingdom has been turned over, and has become my brother’s; for it was his from the LORD.

A. Adonijah is right & wrong on this point. He’s wrong in that the kingdom was never truly his. He may have thought it was & he may have convinced most of Israel’s elite leadership that it was, but the kingdom never truly belonged to him. Where he gets it right is that the kingdom was in the hands of Solomon because of the Lord. It’s good that he recognizes at least that much, but he’s still going to try to manipulate things on his own…and it’s going to get him into a lot of trouble.

16 Now I ask one petition of you; do not deny me.” And she said to him, “Say it.” 17 Then he said, “Please speak to King Solomon, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite as wife.” 18 So Bathsheba said, “Very well, I will speak for you to the king.” 19 Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king’s mother; so she sat at his right hand. 20 Then she said, “I desire one small petition of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you.” 21 So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as wife.” 22 And King Solomon answered and said to his mother, “Now why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also—for he is my older brother—for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.”

A. Seems like such a small thing – is Solomon overreacting here? Not at all. Solomon understands what his mother did not (or possibly, Bathsheba knew it & brought it to Solomon knowing how he would react). In the culture, it was very common for a succeeding king to take the harem of the king who came before him (as Absalom did in his rebellion). By taking the virgin who had slept with King David, Adonijah was trying one last time to hang on to his claim to the throne…Solomon saw right through the scheme.

23 Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, “May God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life! 24 Now therefore, as the LORD lives, who has confirmed me and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has established a house for me, as He promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today!” 25 So King Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he struck him down, and he died.

A. Adonijah sealed his own doom…

26 And to Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go to Anathoth, to your own fields, for you are deserving of death; but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David, and because you were afflicted every time my father was afflicted.” 27 So Solomon removed Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, that he might fulfill the word of the LORD which He spoke concerning the house of Eli at Shiloh.

A. Solomon deals with the others who had conspired with Adonijah. To Abiathar, Solomon shows mercy – he still strips him from the priesthood, but he doesn’t execute him. Abiathar had carried the ark of God, and Solomon was going to respect that & the rest of Abiathar’s otherwise faithful service to King David.
B. Joab, on the other hand, wasn’t so faithful…see verse 28…

28 Then news came to Joab, for Joab had defected to Adonijah, though he had not defected to Absalom. So Joab fled to the tabernacle of the LORD, and took hold of the horns of the altar. 29 And King Solomon was told, “Joab has fled to the tabernacle of the LORD; there he is, by the altar.” Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, strike him down.” 30 So Benaiah went to the tabernacle of the LORD, and said to him, “Thus says the king, ‘Come out!’ ” And he said, “No, but I will die here.” And Benaiah brought back word to the king, saying, “Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.” 31 Then the king said to him, “Do as he has said, and strike him down and bury him, that you may take away from me and from the house of my father the innocent blood which Joab shed. 32 So the LORD will return his blood on his head, because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he, and killed them with the sword— Abner the son of Ner, the commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, the commander of the army of Judah—though my father David did not know it. 33 Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his descendants forever. But upon David and his descendants, upon his house and his throne, there shall be peace forever from the LORD.” 34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and struck and killed him; and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. 35 The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his place over the army, and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.

A. Joab tried the same tactic as Adonijah by running into the tabernacle & grabbing the horns of the altar. But it was to no avail; Solomon had him killed right then & there. Joab had been a merciless man in his life, and he received no mercy at the end. This is part of God’s own perfectly just character – 2 Samuel 22:26-27 (26) “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; (27) With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. []

B. In the end, even though Joab was a mighty commander in the history of Israel, justice was done. It didn’t matter how powerful he may have been, he wasn’t above the law – he had no right to kill as he did, and he paid for it in the end.
__a. Justice will be done eventually. With all sin through all history, justice will be meted out. Either at the cross or in eternal hell, God’s wrath is poured out on all sin & God will show Himself to be perfectly just.
__b. This is just one more emphasis on the need we have for grace! Joab did a lot of wonderful things in his life. Sure, he took life, but he saved many lives in Israel – he protected the king – he fought against the enemy. But none of those good deeds were enough to take away the vastness of his own sin. His sin needed an answer, and the only answer to it was death. Joab had to pay the price. … Praise God that we have been given an answer in Jesus Christ! His death pays the price we cannot afford to pay…

36 Then the king sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there anywhere. 37 For it shall be, on the day you go out and cross the Brook Kidron, know for certain you shall surely die; your blood shall be on your own head.” 38 And Shimei said to the king, “The saying is good. As my lord the king has said, so your servant will do.” So Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.

A. Solomon’s last attempt at showing mercy to Shimei. Basically puts him under house arrest for the rest of his life. Shimei was allowed to live; just not allowed to leave home under penalty of death. Shimei realized that this was a good deal & he agreed to it…he just couldn’t abide by it.

39 Now it happened at the end of three years, that two slaves of Shimei ran away to Achish the son of Maachah, king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, “Look, your slaves are in Gath!” 40 So Shimei arose, saddled his donkey, and went to Achish at Gath to seek his slaves. And Shimei went and brought his slaves from Gath. 41 And Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had come back. 42 Then the king sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the LORD, and warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go out and travel anywhere, you shall surely die’? And you said to me, ‘The word I have heard is good.’ 43 Why then have you not kept the oath of the LORD and the commandment that I gave you?”

A. It seems that Shimei thought this might not count. He had a legitimate reason (in the culture of the day) to leave his house…under any other circumstances, no one would have blamed him. But Shimei thought that his own special circumstances were greater than the command of the king, and he broke the oath he had made. Bad decision!

B. Isn’t that how it always is? We think that our own sin is no big deal – it doesn’t really matter? If someone else did it, it’d be awful, but with us it’d different. We had special circumstances – we were even justified in doing it. Surely God wouldn’t care, right? Wrong. Sin is sin. We need to come to grips with how sinful our sin actually is – we don’t even know the depths of it sometimes until we see if from the vantage point of God. Sin is grevious & it must be dealt with. In essence, Shimei spit in the face of the one who had shown him mercy. We’re no better when we spit in the face of God & trample the blood of Christ underfoot.

44 The king said moreover to Shimei, “You know, as your heart acknowledges, all the wickedness that you did to my father David; therefore the LORD will return your wickedness on your own head. 45 But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.” 46 So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he went out and struck him down, and he died. Thus the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

A. Shimei should have known the extent of his sin – and he suffered the consequences for it. Ultimately, as Solomon acknowledges this is the righteous judgment of God. Just as David had trusted God to work out His own justice with Shimei, so God did. Neither David nor Solomon made Shimei leave his house; Solomon simply set out the guidelines. By Shimei leaving of his own accord, it was God Who had allowed judgment to come upon him for David’s sake.

B. Praise God that we don’t have to suffer the same consequences as Shimei! Our sin is no less abhorrent in the sight of God, but we have an advocate with the Father: Christ the Lord! We have One who has clothed us in His own righteousness, so now God no longer sees our own sin, but the righteousness of His Son. Every time we see the judgment of God carried out, it ought to make us so grateful for the grace we’ve received in our Lord Jesus!

So which will it be: mercy – or judgment? When people reject the mercy of God, they can be assured that they’ll see the judgment of God. Adonijah had been shown mercy, but rejected it in order to press his agenda – and he experienced judgment. When Joab had the opportunity to show mercy, he blatantly refused, and thus didn’t even have mercy offered to him. When Shimei had the opportunity to live in mercy, he didn’t value what had been given to him, and he received judgment in its place.

May we not make the same mistake! We have been shown not only the mercy of God, but the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Not only have we not been given what we deserve (Hell), we’ve received exactly the opposite of what we do deserve (life & relationship with God Almighty). May we get a glimpse it is of what we’ve been given in Christ Jesus & allow it to sink deep into our hearts so that we never take our salvation for granted & never discount the sinfulness of our sin. Let us be challenged to consider the greatness of our salvation & the greatness of our Savior & let it drive us to His feet in thankful praise & worship!

Perhaps your walk with Christ has grown somewhat cold – take the opportunity tonight to consider it is what you’ve been given. You’ve been granted mercy – and far better than mercy, you’ve been granted infinite, marvelous grace. Praise God for it! May we spend the rest of our lives coming to grips with what we’ve been given & thanking our God in return.

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