This blog provides a meditation on the Episcopal daily readings along with headline from world news
1 Kings 1:38-2:4
38 So the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and led him to Gihon. 39There the priest Zadok took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 40And all the people went up following him, playing on pipes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth quaked at their noise.
41 Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished feasting. When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, ‘Why is the city in an uproar?’ 42While he was still speaking, Jonathan son of the priest Abiathar arrived. Adonijah said, ‘Come in, for you are a worthy man and surely you bring good news.’ 43Jonathan answered Adonijah, ‘No, for our lord King David has made Solomon king; 44the king has sent with him the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and they had him ride on the king’s mule; 45the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan 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 heard. 46Solomon now sits on the royal throne. 47Moreover, the king’s servants came to congratulate our lord King David, saying, “May God make the name of Solomon more famous than yours, and make his throne greater than your throne.” The king bowed in worship on the bed 48and went on to pray thus, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who today has granted one of my offspring* to sit on my throne and permitted me to witness it.” ’
49 Then all the guests of Adonijah got up trembling and went their own ways. 50Adonijah, fearing Solomon, got up and went to grasp the horns of the altar. 51Solomon was informed, ‘Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; see, he has laid hold of the horns of the altar, saying, “Let King Solomon swear to me first that he will not kill his servant with the sword.” ’ 52So Solomon responded, ‘If he proves to be a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.’ 53Then King Solomon sent to have him brought down from the altar. He came to do obeisance to King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, ‘Go home.’
David’s Instruction to Solomon
2When David’s time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying: 2‘I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, 3and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. 4Then the Lord will establish his word that he spoke concerning me: “If your heirs take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.”
Scholars say that the story of Solomon’s succession, which began with the relationship of David and Bathsheba, shows the hand of a single author. Certainly it is marked with clear narrative, dark humour, irony and above all by a distinctive theology which sees God acting without miraculous intervention through the decisions of human beings, especially those who know and love him. Although King David is shown as a flawed character, his love for God and his generosity of heart are presented as saving graces. In this excerpt we see how David’s hope is fulfilled even in his own extreme weakness, through his own determination and that of Nathan and Bathsheba. Although it has often seemed in the story that David is dependent on his hitman Joab, at the last Joab is forced to see that it has always been the other way round: his open rebellion against the dying king is an utter failure. Even at this early stage in the development of Israel’s theology there is a hint that God’s purposes are not only fulfilled in his servant’s strength but also in his weakness. Solomon’s mercy towards Adonijah is both generous and tactical which shows he has some of his father’s character.
The Lesson of the Fig Tree
28 ‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he* is near, at the very gates. 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
The Necessity for Watchfulness
32 ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Beware, keep alert;* for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’
Jesus tells his disciples that an essential aspect of trust in God is that all time is his gift. We can have no knowledge of end-times and so on, but we know that we live in the time of God’s patience. The crisis of our world or our lives may come at any time, so our way of life should be characterised by wakefulness: a joyful, sober readiness for what God may do. The house has been given over, wholly, to its tenants, but the owner may return any time. This suggests a fundamental aspect of Christian spirituality: that we should respect the secularity of earthly life while trusting that its independence is temporary.”Our times are in thy hand.”