Old Testament: 1 Kings 1:1-53
1 Kings 1: 1 – 4 Inexpensive Heating
1 and 2 Kings were one book in the original Hebrew Old Testment. They trace the end of David’s reign through all the rest of kings in Israel and Judah until the Babylonian captivity. They show that if a ruler adheres to God’s law his kingdom would prosper but if he didn’t then the nation would decline and even go into captivity (cf. Dt. 28). Remember rebellion against God and His ways results in death and decline. A relationship with God leads to life!
David got old as some do. He couldn’t stay warm enough in just clothes so being a king they rounded up some young virgins to keep him warm. I guess that’s one way to do it. Abishag the Shumammite was gorgeous and she got the job. She was also David’s nurse but didn’t have relations with him. Still, “it’s good to be king.” Officially, she would be deemed a “concubine.”
1 Kings 1: 5 – 37 King Me
Just as his older brother, Absalom, had done, Adonijah decided he should be king instead of David. Adonijah sought advice from the commander Joab and the priest, Abiathar. They decided to follow him. Adonijah sacrificed and invited all his brothers but not Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men of David or Solomon who were not on Adonijah’s side.
Bathsheba got word from Nathan that Adonijah had taken over and that David was unaware of what was going on. Nathan counseled Bathsheba to save Solomon’s life and her own by reminding David that he had promised Solomon the throne. Nathan said, “You got tell him and then I’ll walk in afterward to confirm it all.”
Bathsheba went into David’s bedroom while Abishag was taking care of him. Bathsheba told David what was going on and asked him to act so that she and son would not be considered outsiders and most certainly executed. Just then, Nathan walked in and asked David the same thing, did he really want Adonijah to be king? Don was already sacrificing and celebrating though Nathan, Zadok the priest, Benaiah and Solomon had not been invited. Nathan wanted to know if that was what David really wanted, Adonijah to succeed him.
So David asked for Bathsheba. He told her that he was swearing by the Lord that he was going to install Solomon as king that very day. David told Nathan to have Zadok, the priest, to take Solomon down to the Gihon Spring and anoint him king. A really loud celebration ensued and “shook” the “earth” (v. 40). It was so loud that Adonijah could hear it at his own party.
Jonathan, Abiathar’s son, walked in about that time with the bad news. Solomon had been anointed king with David’s approval. Jon told Don that the commotion they could hear was the people rejoicing and celebrating. Solomon was already on the throne, he said.
Adonijah and his guests were petrified. Adonijah absconded, headed for the tent of tabernacle and grabbed the horns of the altar. This was like taking off for a city of refuge. Adonijah wanted to be safe until his case could be heard. Solomon showed him mercy by letting him go back to his home, basically under house arrest. But there was to be no funny business by Adonijah.
New Testament: Acts 4: 1- 37
Acts 4:1-12 Deja-Vu All Over Again
The captain of the Temple guard was offended that Peter and co. should be speaking the truth so straightforwardly. So they “laid hands on them” but not in a good way. They threw them in jail though many in the crowd believed, actually about five thousand of them!
The next day they were brought before Annas and old Caiaphas. Remember them? They were the high priests. John and Alexander were also there who were “of high-priestly descent” (v. 6). They wanted to know “by what power” they were speaking and who had given them authority to speak. So Peter gave them a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit in preaching. Remember how Luke said that his gospel was about what Jesus had begun to do and teach? (1: 1). This seems to be deja-vu all over again as a great Yogi used to say. More trials and more demonstrations. Jesus was continuing to do and teach. It was the same-ole same-ole. He once again made it clear that they, themselves, were responsible for killing Jesus (2: 23; 3:13; and again here in v. 10-11).
Peter said if this was all about them healing a lame man, then let it be known that Jesus, whom they had crucified and God raised from the dead, is the reason for this season. Peter explained that Jesus was the “stone rejected” by them. He was making an allusion to Ps. 118: 22 which they should have recognized. And here is the clincher: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (v. 12). Ouch. That should have stung.
Acts 4: 13 – 22 What-ev-er!
Since they realized that Peter and John weren’t very well educated, they were pretty surprised they could put together such a good argument. Then it dawned on them that these guys had been with Jesus. There wasn’t a lot they could say though because the fella they healed was standing right next them. They dismissed P and J. Then they started the discussions: “What are we going to do? It’s pretty obvious that a pretty big miracle has been done and everyone in town knows it. Let’s just warn them to quit talking about all this Jesus stuff.” So that’s what they did.
Peter and John listened to them and replied, “What-ev-er!”
The leaders tried threatening them some more but the man who had been healed was over forty years-old and had been afflicted since birth! What really could they say? They couldn’t figure out a way to punish them and had to let them go because the people had been so worked up and excited about God.
Acts 4: 23 – 37 All Shook Up
After the release, Peter and John went back to the other disciples and gave a report of what had happened. Then they all worshipped God quoting Ps. 2: 1-2 about all the leaders of the earth being stirred up. Ps. 2 is about the Tribulation but in a sense, tribulation had already arrived.
Peter expressed confidence that God would continue to protect them until their work was done (implied, “to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur,” v. 28). Peter knew God was also going to validate their ministry as He had validated Jesus’ ministry through healings, “signs and wonders” (v. 30). After they prayed, the place they were in shook and they all were filled with the Holy Spirit to have power to witness to Christ and His salvation (v. 31).
Everyone in that early group “were of one heart and soul” (v. 32). They didn’t hold on to any of their possessions but everyone shared everything. No one had any needs (v. 34) because everyone sold even their houses and brought the cash and gave it to the apostles. This showed the grace of God to the world and the miracles showed the world that Jesus had truly risen from the dead. A guy named Barnabas which means “Son of Encouragement” sold his land and gave the money to the apostles. We’ll be hearing more about him.
Is everyone at your church selling everything and bringing in to the church coffers? Why not? Are the lame being healed? Why not? Does the pastor drop his handkerchief and people pick it up and are healed? (cf. 19: 11-12). Or does your pastor pass by sick people and his shadow falls on people and they are healed? (5:15). No? Well, then, boy, your church is not very spiritual!
Acts is best understood as a history book. All of the books of the Bible have to be understood according to the type or genre that each one represents. So, for example, the book of Acts is a history book. It tells us what actually happened. It does not tell us what should happen necessarily. The letters or epistles are for that purpose. The purpose of the book of Acts is to recount the history of the transition period between the Old Testament and the new dispensation of the church. It does not teach us what we should do necessarily but it tells us what God did in the transition between the law of Moses and the grace of Jesus. So now, maybe, you can relax a little about your church. Happy face.