Our text from 1 Kings 1:16-21 reminds us of a time when the people of Israel, all the twelve tribes, were aware that something was not quite right. They were aware of the fact that Solomon had been designated as the next king, and they were puzzled by this sudden change in circumstances, and Adonijah now saying, 'I am the king.' So they hesitated. And there is another sign of the calling of GOD; when GOD calls, not only does GOD tell you about it; not only does your own heart tell you about it; but GOD's people tell you about it. And if GOD's people hesitate about your call, you need to look into it again and go back to GOD; something's wrong. Because when GOD calls, you have a three-fold witness; not only your own awareness of the call, but the Spirit of GOD bearing witness to that call; and then the people of GOD, also, endorsing that call.
So the people of Israel were hesitating. David had not yet endorsed Adonijah, his son. 'Hold it,' they said, 'something's not quite right. Something's not quite in order. It's better for us just to wait a bit and see what David has to say about this matter. Bathsheba says to David in verse 21,
'Otherwise it will happen when my lord, the king rests with his fathers, that I and my son, Solomon, will be counted as offenders.' Usually rivals to the throne were executed; they were regarded as treasonous. And so they were executed for treason. She said, 'We need to know exactly what the situation is.' And then Nathan came, verse 22:
'And just then, while she was still talking with the king, Nathan, the prophet, also came in.' And it seems from the subsequent narrative, that Bathsheba withdrew at that point; to leave Nathan to speak to the king. We find Nathan, here, (verse 23):
'When he came in before the king, he bowed down before the king with his face toward the ground.'
He was a spiritual man. He was a prophet; he was a man of great spiritual stature. But even that did not exempt him from the mark of honour to be paid to the king. The Bible says, 'Give to each their due; honour to whom honour', and this is what Nathan did. He set the example as well. He and David, no doubt, conferred many times about the things of GOD. Nathan had some very important things to say to David from time to time, from GOD. But he still remembered that David was the king.
And so we find him here, in verse 24:
'And Nathan said, 'My lord O king, have you said, 'Adonijah shall reign after me and he shall sit on my throne?' For he has gone down today and has sacrificed oxen and fatten cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king's sons and the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest. And look, they are eating and drinking before him, and they say, 'Long live king Adonijah!'' It looked as though Adonijah was the king. Everything was in progress. But, still, appearances were deceptive. And he says, verse 26:
'But he has not invited me, your servant, nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon.' That's what he came to straighten out. The obvious contradiction: If it was from David, why were David's best servants excluded? It didn't add up.
And he asked, in verse 27:
'Has this thing been done by my lord, the king, and you have not told your servant?' David was always true to his word. And, therefore, this change in the circumstances could not have been due to him. This is what Nathan is really saying. 'This surely doesn't come from you.'
The Bible speaks about GOD that He never changes His mind, and He always makes known His purposes to His people. When GOD was about to choose Saul to be the first king of Israel, Saul was looking for his donkeys. His father's donkeys had been lost; Saul was searching for them, and the day before he came to the town where Samuel was, GOD told Samuel. In the Hebrew it runs like this: 'GOD told Samuel in his ear'. GOD spoke to Samuel; dropped a word into his ear.
'around this time, I will send you a man who is going to be the king over Israel.' GOD always advised His servants in advance, the prophets; and we have the same principle in Amos, Chapter 3, the prophet Amos in verse 7:
'The LORD GOD will do nothing without revealing His secret to His servants, the prophets.' So Nathan had a right to challenge this. 'Your majesty, GOD has not told me anything about it. Is it possible He spoke to you?'
There is a famous story told about Charles Spurgeon, the famous preacher. A young man came to him one day and said, 'GOD has told me that I am to speak from your pulpit this evening.' 'Oh,' said Spurgeon, 'that's strange. The LORD never told me about that. So I guess I'll be preaching tonight.' And that's sound, common sense. GOD will always reveal His purpose to those who count.
So David, what is David going to do? David sprang into action! He may have been weak; he may have been shivery with cold, because he had no bodily heat left; but he had all his faculties about him. Verse 28:
'Then David answered and said, 'Call Bathsheba to me.' So she came into the king's presence and stood before the king. And the king repeated his oath. He says, 'As the LORD lives, Who has redeemed my life from every distress, just as I swore to you by the LORD GOD of Israel.''etcetera. He solemnly invoked the Name of GOD, and he spoke about the GOD Whose purposes prevailed over man's.
There was a time when David had already been chosen by GOD to be the successor to Saul, king of Israel. And although Saul opposed it with all his might and sought to eliminate David, yet, in the end, in spite of all David's trials, GOD had His way. And David says, 'This is going to happen again. I can see this is a rerun. Here is one that GOD has chosen: Solomon. And I see opposition rising up against him. But it is not from GOD!'