Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

3.3 Solomon on the throne

Previous Chapter
Look rather to the true God-appointed, God-assisted king prefigured in King Solomon
And so to the True King. This is the one we want to concentrate on and it is here that Solomon points us in this chapter. Notice several things about the appointment of the true king. They parallel what can be said of Jesus the King of Kings.
1. He is promised as king beforehand
Adonijah’s idea was that he would simply make himself king. What he had either forgotten or simply chose to ignore was the fact that a king had been chosen long before and promised the throne. The promise is brought to light by the prophet Nathan. He arranges with Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, to bring it to David’s attention. Firstly, she is to go to David and tell him about Adonijah and then say (13, 17) 'My lord the king, did you not swear to me your servant: Surely Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne? Why then has Adonijah become king?'
She stresses to David that she is in danger. Nathan was then to come and say something similar. His tack is that perhaps David has made a decree saying Adonijah is king. One appeals to David’s sympathy, the other to his authority. It all revolves, however, around the promise that was made. What David had promised had to be honoured. In a similar way we can think of the Old Testament as a book of promises about the coming of Messiah, which has now been fulfilled. Jesus is the True King because, like Solomon, he is the promised king.
2. He may know much opposition
The naïve might be tempted to think that a promised king would become king automatically. In Britain the appointment of a new monarch has been a fairly straightforward thing for many years. We know pretty well who the next king will be, if he lives. Things are not always so straightforward and even a promised king can be stiffly opposed. That is what happens here. Both Bathsheba and Nathan seek to impress on David how volatile the situation is, how near Adonijah had come to taking the throne.
It is like the opposition to Jesus. Remember how Pilate said to the Jews of Jesus in John 19:14, 15 'Here is your king … But they shouted, Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him! Shall I crucify your king? Pilate asked. We have no king but Caesar, the chief priests answered.' Today too, many oppose the Lordship of Christ – they do not want him as Lord over their lives. Is that you?
3. He is supported by the godly
Despite much opposition, people like Nathan, Bathsheba and others supported Solomon’s claim. There is always a godly remnant that supports the true king. It may become a very small number indeed at times but it never utterly dies away.
Some see Nathan as a bit of a schemer here but he is in fact simply acting in a righteous but wise way. It is not a thunderbolt from heaven or some other obvious divine intervention that saves the day but the cool, calm and collected actions of one man who sees the need of the hour and is concerned to assert the rights of the legitimate heir. How we need people like that today.
When that happens even a weak and dying leader can be sparked into life as David was (see how active and involved he suddenly becomes, thanks to Nathan). What fills you with excitement? What gets you active? It ought to be the cause of the kingdom. Listen to David’s words ‘Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor on my throne today.’
4. He is promised as king on oath
In 29, 30 we read that ‘David then took an oath: As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, I will surely carry out today what I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place.’ With the promise comes an oath. The promise will certainly be fulfilled, without a doubt. It reminds us of Hebrews 6:17, 18, which, in a different context, says ‘Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.'
Is this not the nature of God’s promise to establish the throne of Christ too? The kingdom cannot fail because God has promised on oath to establish it. What an encouragement that should be to us who believe!
5. He is anointed as king
So David, suddenly re-invigorated, gets things going at last. Nathan, Zadok and Benaiah are charged with arranging the coronation. Solomon is to be taken on David’s mule to Gihon. David says (34) ‘There shall Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel.’ Verse 39 is interesting, ‘Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon.’ A horn of oil is what Samuel used to anoint David but not Saul. Perhaps there is something in that. Jesus was anointed, of course, with the Spirit of God himself. That is what the symbolic anointing with oil points to. Remember his baptism and how the Holy Spirit came down on him as a dove at the start of his ministry. Isa 61:1 is relevant here 'The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, etc.'
6. He is appointed by God and proclaimed by his people
The trumpet was also to be blown and they were to shout ‘Long live King Solomon’. Then (35)
'you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.'
This is David’s God inspired instruction. In verse 36 we read 'Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, Amen! May the LORD, the God of my lord the king, so declare it. As the LORD was with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon to make his throne even greater than the throne of my lord King David!'
It is God who had done it, just as he is the one who appointed Jesus King of Kings. We read that when 'they sounded the trumpet … all the people shouted, Long live King Solomon! And all the people went up after him, playing flutes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.' (39, 40)
A true king will have the support of his people. That is how it is with King Jesus. His people love him and honour him and give him all their support. They rejoice that the Lord is King. That is what his people do. We encourage you to do the same if you do not do so already.

No comments: