A Power Grab


Now King David was old and advanced in years. And although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm.

Now 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. His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. He conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest. And they followed Adonijah and helped him. But Zadok the priest and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada and Nathan the prophet and Shimei and Rei and David’s mighty men were not with Adonijah.

Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fattened cattle by the Serpent’s Stone, which is beside En-rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the mighty men or Solomon his brother. I Kings 1:1, 5-10

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:3-11 ESV


Long ago in England Henry I was the king. His only son had died, but he had a daughter named Matilda. Henry intended Matilda to be the next ruler after him, and the barons of England pledged their allegiance to her. However, after her father Henry died her cousin Stephen tried to grab the throne. There was a civil war after that as Matilda and Stephen both tried to defeat the other and take control of England. Stephen kept Matilda on the run and had the allegiance of many people. Matilda was never able to rule England completely because Stephen had grabbed the power that belonged to her.

Something like that began to happen when King David became very old and weak. God had chosen Solomon to be the next king of Israel, but his older brother Adonijah wanted to be the king instead. Adonijah was one of the king’s oldest sons, and many people thought he should be the next king. He didn’t even wait till his father was dead to try to grab the throne for himself. He got many people who were important in the government to support him and acted like a king by getting chariots and horses and men to run in front of him. He arranged to have a big party with the sacrifice of many sheep and cattle and invited all his brothers except Solomon and the important government officials. It looked like nothing would stop him.

Jesus was just the opposite of Adonijah. He didn’t have to grab power, because he already was God’s equal. But because he loved us, he let go of all of his power and glory and became a human being to live on earth with us. He emptied himself even further by allowing the powers of evil to put him on the cross, where he died a painful death to pay for our sins. But God the Heavenly Father gave Jesus all the power and glory he had won by giving him the highest name in all the universe. Someday everyone will know and confess that Jesus is Lord, and his people will praise him forever for everything he’s done for us.


Dear Jesus, thank you for giving up all your power and glory and giving your life to save us. You are our king forever. Amen.