Focal Passage: 1 Kings 1:11-31
In the first two lessons, Bathsheba plays a secondary role
in the awkward beginning of her relationship with King David.
In today’s lesson, she becomes the central actor as she is
called upon to plead the case of Solomon before the king.
Today’s scripture easily divides itself into four dialogues:
Nathan’s alarming conversation with Bathsheba (v. 11-14); Bathsheba’s dialogue
with King David (v. 15-21); Nathan’s warning to the king (v. 22-27); and the
final conversation when the king summons Bathsheba (v. 28-31).
Nathan senses the danger in the public activities of
Adonijah (1:5-10). In a gathering of notables — military and religious —
Adonijah, David’s eldest son, proclaims himself the future king (v. 5-9).
Not everyone is invited to Adonijah’s pre-coronational
ceremony. The first uninvited guest is the prophet Nathan (correctly viewed as
the greatest threat to Adonijah’s claim to the throne).
The last uninvited guest is “Solomon his brother,” the rival
to the throne (v. 10).
Adonijah declares, “I will be king” (v. 5). The danger is
real, and the uninvited need an advocate before the king or their lives may be
forfeited in a future kingdom of Adonijah (v. 10).
The prophet Nathan asks Bathsheba to be an advocate for her
son Solomon. She is to remind King David of his oath affirming Solomon as the
next king (v. 13). This she does, successfully advocating for Solomon.
Scripture contains many examples of advocacy.
Rebekah becomes an advocate for the younger of her twin
sons, Jacob, squeamish of an uncertain future under Esau (Gen. 27:5).
Naomi becomes a behind-the-scenes advocate for Ruth, guiding
her toward a successful marriage to Boaz (Ruth 3:1ff).
Advocacy in a political situation is especially hazardous.
Queen Esther is called upon to lay her life on the line for the Jews in exile
The absence of advocates can create panic.
Tamar’s lack of an advocate leads her to “prostitute
herself’ and trick her father-in-law Judah so that she might have a child and a
future (Gen. 38). The widow in Jesus’ parable cries out daily for the judge to
protect her (Luke 18:1-8).
Job’s hope of an advocate or “redeemer” before God finds
prophetic fulfillment in Jesus Christ as our advocate before God (1 John 2:1).
Ray Shelton, retired missionary to Uruguay of the
International Mission Board (and my father-in-law) became an advocate for the
housing needs of Hispanic migrants in Georgia.
The king’s mother in Proverbs 31 instructs:
“Open your mouth for the mute
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously
defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (v. 8-9, ESV)
Is God calling you to be an advocate?