1 Kings, Chapter 1
David the king was old and frail. His concerns for the kingdom gave way to the desire for peace and warmth. It was at this time as all Israel waited that Adonijah, his son, asserted himself to take the throne.
The timing had to be right. Adonijah had watched as his brother, Absalom try to wrestle away their father's kingdom and failed. Absalom paid with his life, but now withering David would not be able to stop Adonijah. Seizing the opportunity, he boldly declared himself king.
He amassed his followers and celebrated. He invited everyone, except a select few who would soon be seen as criminals.
Rumors had been floating around about the next king. The word was that David had heard from God, and the Almighty had promised the kingdom to Solomon. Solomon was the son of a union that should have never been. He was Bathsheba's son. He was her second son. The first son had died due to David's sin. This popular story of murder and adultery continues to ring throughout history as it no doubt did then.
Nathan the prophet, also not included on Adonijah's guest list, saw the deceit in this self-proclaimed ruler and talked with Bathsheba. They would take their plea to the king and remind him of God's words to him those many years ago. It worked.
Without Adonijah's knowledge, David had Solomon declared his successor and instated him upon the throne. As Adonijah celebrated, a great noise came up from the city. The news was spreading. Solomon was King of Israel and Adonijah knew he was a marked man.
Adonijah had planned to do to Solomon what any king would do to a contender of the throne. Solomon had to be eliminated but now the tables had turned. Solomon was sitting on the throne. Adonijah had lost. In despair Adonijah threw himself about the alter, regarded as a symbol of sanctuary, and pleaded that Solomon spare him.
It amazes me that this great kings first act was to forgive his oppressor. Saul had ruled by the sword, David had ruled by justice, and now Solomon ushers in a new period with mercy and only asks that in return Adonijah repent of his evil ways. As is the story with Easter.
All the characters are there. The setting is the slightly different. A defeated King is led down a dark road by the rebellious acts of others. When it seems hope is lost, the King reemerges victorious. Lastly, the King forgives the rebellious ones and only asks for true repentance in return. New life, mercy, and grace is the story of Easter.
So to whom do I owe mercy? If I am to understand Jesus's and Solomon's example, I owe mercy to whomever I have full right to vent my wrath and anger. Cut off in traffic? Mercy. Swindled by a friend? Forgiveness. Deserted by a love one? Grace.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” -Matthew 6:12