Making the wrong choice can cost you dearly

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 31, 2019

It can’t come soon enough for many Americans—this withdrawal from Afghanistan. Families of service members at Fort Rucker and military installations across the nation have suffered with this war. Many sons and daughters have not come home or have returned with damaged bodies and broken souls.

War is a terrible thing–far worse when a nation doesn’t understand why it’s at war.

What will happen now? We’ll soon see.

In 1975, when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam’s civil war, the South immediately fell to communist North Vietnam. Those on the losing side suffered greatly at the hands of the victors.

Perhaps that’s always been so. Some 3,000 years ago, King Saul’s death brings a bloody civil war to Israel. Ultimately, David becomes Israel’s next king. 

Forty years later that regime changes hands again. As David nears death, his oldest living son has already announced his kingship. Adonijah has chosen chariots and horsemen and 50 men who run before him as only a king would. Scripture includes here an odd story–David is so old he’s unable to get warm. A young virgin named Abishag is found to warm his old bones with the heat of her body. But, as you’ll see, Abishag is also important to this regime change.

So Adonijah invites his brothers to his coronation dinner. He includes the general of Israel’s army and a prominent priest, but pointedly doesn’t invite several others including Nathan the prophet, a warrior named Benaiah, and one of David’s sons.

Nathan knows what’s happening and immediately sends Bathsheba to King David, telling her exactly what to say.

“When you’ve finished,” Nathan says, “I will arrive.”

Why doesn’t Nathan go to the king first? This has to be carefully planned—the king is old and all of their lives are at stake.

“What do you wish?” King David asks his wife Bathsheba.

She tells him that Adonijah has proclaimed himself king and that she and her son Solomon are in danger. In other words. Adonijah will eliminate them.

She leaves and Nathan comes in.

“Have you said, ‘Adonijah shall become king after me…’” Nathan asks, pretending to be shocked. He then tells David what Adonijah has done.

David is famous for not acting when it comes to his sons, but Nathan’s plan works. Immediately, David orders for Solomon to be anointed which brings forth a massive celebration in Israel. This all happens as Adonijah is still dining with his brothers. Upon realizing Solomon has taken the throne, David’s sons are terrified and quickly return to their homes. No one wants to be on the wrong side of this regime change.

Solomon sends for Adonijah, telling him to behave and he can live. This is where Abishag, the innocent young concubine, comes back into the story. Adonijah persuades Solomon’s mother to ask the king for her hand in marriage.

Solomon is furious. Why would Adonijah want King David’s concubine unless Adonijah intended to challenge Solomon’s throne? Remember Benaiah, the warrior not invited to Adonijah’s dinner? For good reason. Benaiah is the king’s enforcer. Because of this rebellion, Benaiah eliminates David’s eldest son and secures the throne for Solomon. (I Kings 1:1-2:25)

Such stories are dramatic, but we’re in a war far greater than any in Afghanistan, Vietnam, or Israel. A woman chose sides recently, saying, “All faiths lead to God.”

How is that choosing sides? It’s something many church-goers silently believe. They kindheartedly whisper, “God wouldn’t leave anyone behind.”

Listen to me. Evil is terrible, and nothing can deal with it except the blood of Christ. Our Lord chose to be crucified—Jesus was either right or He was deluded.

The fallen-angel Lucifer, the prince of demons, wars for you. He loves when a Christian thinks everyone will reach heaven. “Yes,” he says. “Jesus’ death was never needed. All faiths work!”

Choose your side. Choose Jesus.

Copyright © 2019 R.A. Mathews  The Rev. Mathews is an attorney, faith columnist, and the author of “Reaching to God.” She may be reached at