Friday, August 14, 2015

Actions speak louder than words

Adonijah Petitions Bathsheba - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 1:42-2:12

TO CHEW ON: "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.'" 1 Kings 1:52.

The palace drama continues. Solomon becomes king. Would-be king Adonijah flees to the place of worship taking hold of the horns of the altar—an ancient custom that symbolized the seeking of sanctuary from execution.

Solomon assures him, no worries: "If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth but if wickedness is found in him..."

That seems to be one of the characteristics of Solomon's wisdom—to give people the chance to clear or incriminate themselves (remember his judgment of the two women who claimed to be the mother of the same child - 1 Kings 3:16-28?).

All goes smoothly for Adonijah until he decides to test his personal theory that Solomon is really naive and innocent. He asks to wed Abishag, David's final virgin companion.

Though that request may seem harmless enough to us, in that culture it was loaded with significance. As my Bible's notes explain: "Abishag was a member of David's harem, which was considered his royal property and was to be passed on to his successor" (see 2 Samuel 12:8 and 16:20-22).- 2 Samuel 16:20-22 - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible.

It's the crack in Adonijah's character that we suspect Solomon knows is there all along. With this proof of Adonijah's treacherous heart, Solomon has grounds to do away with his rival.

The lesson for us in this is two-sided.
  • We do well to measure someone's trustworthiness and integrity by actions as well as words.
  • We need to apply this to ourselves as well. Do we say one thing but live another?   

Dear God, please help me to have insight into my dealings with others, and to live with integrity so that my life matches my words. Amen.

MORE: Proverbs about duplicity

Solomon shared his wisdom about duplicity in several proverbs. Here are a few:

"People who wink at wrong cause trouble,
 but a bold reproof promotes peace.
The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain;
    the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions"
- Proverbs 10:10-11 NLT

"The integrity of the upright guides them,
    but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity."
- Proverbs 11:3 NIV (1984)

"Smooth talk from an evil heart
   is like glaze on cracked pottery.
Your enemy shakes hands and greets you like an old friend,
   all the while conniving against you.
When he speaks warmly to you, don't believe him for a minute;
   he's just waiting for the chance to rip you off.
No matter how cunningly he conceals his malice,
   eventually his evil will be exposed in public."
- Proverbs 26:23-25 MSG.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
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