The consequences of pride
I Kings 1:1-10
Adonijah was King David’s fourth son. He was next in line to be King. David lay on his death bed. The throne lay within reach of his most aggressive and ostentatious living son, who had every intention of having it.
“Now Adonijah, the son of Haggith, exalted himself, saying, ‘I will be king’. So, he prepared for himself, chariots and horsemen with fifty men to run before him, and his father never crossed him at any time, by asking why have you done so?”
What a bold statement that Adonijah made, without the Kings’ blessing, without the approval of God, or an anointing from the prophet Nathan. Adonijah didn’t consult with God’s appointed leadership and he didn’t inquire of God, Adonijah exalted himself. What do his actions say about his heart? He was devoted to himself. This isn’t just an Adonijah problem, this is a human problem. God sent a flood to wipe out every living thing on the earth because of the wickedness of men’s hearts. He expressed his desire for man’s heart to be circumcised and softened to receive his word and walk with him blamelessly. Deuteronomy 10 & 30. This hurts and we don’t want to give up the throne.
Hearts are important to God. No man woman or child on earth is exempt from having a corruptible heart -we are all flesh. Man’s flesh is the catalyst for rebellion, it’s stimulates sin. God says through the prophet Joel, ” rend your heart and not your garments.” Why? Because it’s the heart that changes the course of your life, its the heart that bears fruit and it’s the heart that needs reforming. When good and supple, the heart can carry, absorb and cultivate the word of God, producing a harvest worthy of the kingdom of heaven.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5
Eight hundred and five times the word heart is mentioned in the scriptures. Our hearts have inconceivable value and power in our lives and to God. Biologically our hearts are the hub of our life, pumping blood throughout our body to keep us alive, through every vein and artery supplying the fluid to every organ we need to move and live. I suggest, the heart is the absolute center of who we are, motives, beliefs, choices, thoughts. In addition, I believe it’s the heart which communicates with God and has the capability to house the Spirit of God.
In Hebrew, the heart (lev or levav) is the center of human thought and spiritual life. We tend to think that the heart refers mainly to our emotions, but in Hebrew it also refers to one’s mind and thoughts as well. –Lois Tverberg
Even though this portion of I kings does not mention the word heart, we see the fruit of Adonijah’s heart. His actions and words are the manifestation of his heart.
Jesus said, “out of the mouth comes that which fills the heart.” We can always discern what’s in our own heart, by the fruit that comes out of our mouths. All that Adonijah did proved that his heart was filled with pride, lust and rebellion. His heart was not submitted to God. A similar thing happened in the hearts of the men of Shinar. they gathered together and said, “Let us build for ourselves a tower, that will reach to heaven.” Genesis 11. Building a name for themselves and seeking a throne in heaven was the true desire. Their heart’s desire led them away from exalting God, the only King in heaven. The men of Shinar were blind to God’s work of drawing men to himself. Satan tempted them successfully to enthrone themselves, since this self exaltation is a re-occurring theme in history we can assume it has a source.
“do not love the world, nor the things in the world, if anyone love the world, the love of the father is not in him, all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. Is not from the father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15
Self-importance is an ancient tool used by the devil, who tempts man to be like God through his own works. Adonijah’s acts reflect his alignment with the adversary. Man’s attempt to exalt himself imitates the Devil, rather than the Creator. Just as God made man in His own image, Satan tries to re-create man according to the image of the beast, a primal animal which takes instinctively in order to conquer. Satan has attempted to usurp God’s throne from the beginning, and he deceives men into his likeness, to do his bidding. This deception begins in the human heart, with pride. Adonijah fell prey he was not the anointed one, but became an anti-anointed one, or as we might say Adonijah was an anti-Messiah. The way to guard against this sort of deception, is submission to God. We can release our right to exalt ourselves. We can let go of the power to determine what we “deserve.” We can surrender to God, giving him authority to either demote or promote, based on his perfect judgments, not our flawed desires. When we trust God to exalt us in his timing and according to his work, Satan has nothing in us.