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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)

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    Ms 6a, 1903

    Adonijah’s Rebellion


    February 17, 1903 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 2BC 1024; CTr 104-105; RH 10/08/1903.

    “Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king; and he prepared his chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? And he also was a very goodly man, and his mother bare him after Absalom. And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest; and they following Adonijah helped him. But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged to David, were not with Adonijah. ... Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.” [1 Kings 1:5-8, 10.]18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 1

    The rebellion was ripe; the conspirators had assembled at a great feast just outside the city to proclaim Adonijah king, when their plans were thwarted by the prompt action of a few faithful persons, chief among whom were Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. They represented the state of affairs to the king, reminding him of the divine direction that Solomon should succeed to the throne. David at once abdicated in favor of Solomon, who was immediately anointed and proclaimed king.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 2

    David’s sons had been a great grief to him. Wayward and rebellious, they had been as a thorn in his flesh. Their conduct was a heavy grief to him; yet in his fondness for them he had not in their childhood reproved and restrained them, and now they would not bear reproof. Cause was followed by effect. By indulgence David forfeited the respect and reverence of his children. He had never displeased them, but they had often perplexed and worried him by their misconduct. He had not brought them up in submission to his will, and therefore they did not live in submission to the will of God. He excused their sins and indulged their perverse desires; and they grew up willful and selfish, refusing to honor their father or their God.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 3

    In addition to the infirmities of old age, which were resting heavily upon him, David’s heart was sorely grieved by the course of his son Adonijah. David was a man who loved and feared God. He fully believed in recognizing and obeying God’s commands. Regret and remorse filled his heart as he thought of the course that his sons had followed. He knew that if they had been brought up as they should have been, he would have received the honor that a father should receive, and God would have been reverenced and obeyed.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 4

    Solomon, the son of Bathsheba, kept the love of God before him, and David knew that he alone, of all his sons, was qualified to act as the ruler of his people. And the Lord God of Israel, the ruler of all the world, had chosen Solomon to be king after David’s death.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 5

    On hearing of Adonijah’s rebellion, David at once abdicated in favor of Solomon. Had he shown any hesitancy, the usurper would have gained the advantage, those supporting Solomon would have been slain, and the kingdom would have passed under the rule of a despot, who knew not how to rule himself. War and bloodshed would have filled the land. In this trying hour the Lord strengthened David, giving him vitality that his advisers did not think it possible for him to possess. He was on his deathbed, but he gave his orders clearly and decisively. Solomon must at once be anointed king, and notice must at once be given throughout the kingdom that this had been done.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 6

    Adonijah had ever had his own way, and he thought that if he made a demonstration showing his desire to reign, David would yield to his wishes. But David was true to God and to his convictions. “Call me Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king. The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon; and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel; and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; he shall be king in my stead; for I have appointed him to be king over Israel and over Judah. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen; the Lord God of my lord say so too. As the Lord has been with my lord the king, even so be he with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David. So Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada ... went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes; and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.” [Verses 32-40.]18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 7

    Those who bear responsibilities must be wide-awake. It is not the man who drifts with circumstances, and who in an emergency endorses questionable moves, who wins the respect of his fellow men and the approval of heaven. It is the man who, like the rock stemming the tide, stands firm against evil, who commands respect. In a crisis, when many are not fully decided as to the right course, the one who moves steadfastly in the path that God has marked out, with unshaken determination carrying out God’s plans, is the one who wins confidence as a man fit to command. Those who occupy positions of responsibility should know what saith the Lord, and they should then stand unflinchingly for the right, stemming the current of evil.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 8

    Go Forward

    There is a lesson of the greatest importance for us in the experience of the children of Israel as they left Egypt.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 9

    More than a million people had been led out of the right course, as many of them thought, into a valley hemmed in by mountains. Before them lay the Red Sea, and behind them, following fast after in pursuit, was Pharaoh’s host.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 10

    In the beginning of their march, the children of Israel had been guided by a cloud. Ignorant and superstitious because of their long years of bondage in a land of superstition, the people looked upon this cloud with wonder. Some regarded it with fear, while others declared that it was a favorable omen.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 11

    As the people were encamped beside the sea, they saw in the distance the flashing armor and moving chariots of Pharaoh’s host. Terror filled their hearts. Some cried unto the Lord, but by far the greater part hastened to Moses with their complaints. “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is it not the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” [Exodus 14:11, 12.]18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 12

    Moses was greatly troubled that his people should manifest so little faith in God, notwithstanding they had repeatedly witnessed the manifestation of His power in their behalf. How could they charge upon him the dangers and difficulties of their situation, when he had followed the express command of God? True, there was no possibility of deliverance unless God Himself should interpose for their release; but having been brought into this position in obedience to the divine direction, Moses felt no fear of the consequences. His calm and assuring reply to the people was, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show you today; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” [Verses 13, 14.]18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 13

    It was not an easy thing to hold the hosts of Israel in waiting before the Lord. Lacking discipline and self-control, they became violent and unreasonable. They expected speedily to fall into the hands of their oppressors, and their wailings and lamentations were loud and deep. The wonderful pillar of cloud had been followed as the signal of God to go forward; but now they questioned if it might not foreshadow some great calamity; for had it not led them on the wrong side of the mountain, into an impassable way? Thus the angel of God appeared to their deluded minds as the harbinger of disaster.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 14

    But now, as the Egyptian host approached them, expecting to make them an easy prey, the cloudy column arose majestically, passed over the Israelites, and descended between them and the armies of Israel. A wall of darkness interposed between the pursued and their pursuers. The Egyptians could no longer discern the camp of the Hebrews and were forced to halt. But as the darkness of night deepened, the wall of cloud became a great light to the Hebrews, flooding the entire encampment with the radiance of day. That which had been a terror to the people had become their protection.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 15

    Hope returned to the hearts of Israel. And Moses lifted up his voice unto the Lord. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto Me? Speak thou unto the children of Israel that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it, and the children of Israel shall go on dry land though the midst of the waters.” [Verses 15, 16.]18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 16

    As Moses stretched out his rod, the waters parted, and Israel went down into the midst of the sea upon dry ground, while the waters stood like a wall on each side. “Go forward” was the word given by Moses, and it was echoed by the captains of the different divisions, and in obedience, the host of Israel stepped into the path so strangely and so wonderfully prepared for them. The light from God’s pillar of fire shone upon the foam-capped billows and lighted the road that was cut like a mighty furrow through the waters of the sea.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 17

    As the cloud moved slowly on, the Egyptian sentinels discovered that the Israelites had moved their encampment, and at once the mighty army was set in readiness for motion. They heard the sound of the marching of the Hebrews, but they could see nothing; for the cloud that gave light to Israel was to the Egyptians a wall of darkness. Guided by the sound, they followed on, into the miraculous path God had prepared for His people. All night they followed, but they moved slowly; for their chariots drove heavily. Yet still they moved on, expecting soon to break through the cloud and overtake the fugitives.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 18

    At last the shadows of the night passed away, the morning dawned, and the pursuing army was almost within reach of the fleeing Hebrews.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 19

    “And it came to pass that in the morning watch the Lord looked upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire, and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.” [Verse 24.] Before their astonished eyes the mysterious cloud charged to a pillar of fire reaching from earth to heaven. The thunders pealed, and the lightnings flashed. “The clouds poured out water; the skies sent out a sound; Thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of Thy thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightning lightened the world; the earth trembled and shook.” [Psalm 77:17, 18.]18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 20

    The Egyptians were seized with confusion and dismay. Amidst the wrath of the elements, in which they heard the voice of an angry God, they endeavored to retrace their steps and to flee to the shore they had quitted. But Moses stretched out his rod, and the piled-up waters, hissing, roaring, and eager for their prey, rushed together and swallowed the Egyptian army in their black depths.18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 21

    As morning broke, it revealed to the multitudes of Israel all that remained of their mighty foe—the mail-clad bodies cast upon the shore. From the most terrible peril one night had brought deliverance. That vast, helpless throng—bondmen unused to battle, women, children, and cattle, with the sea before them, and the mighty armies of Egypt pressing behind—had seen their path opened through the waters and their enemies overwhelmed in the moment of expected triumph. Jehovah alone had brought them deliverance, and to Him their hearts were turned in gratitude and faith. Their emotions found utterance in songs of praise. The Spirit of God rested upon Moses, and he led the people in a triumphant anthem of thanksgiving:18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 22

    “I will sing unto Jehovah; for He hath triumphed gloriously;
    The horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.
    The Lord is my strength and my song,
    And He is become my salvation;
    This is my God, and I will praise Him;
    My father’s God, and I will exalt Him, ...
    Who is like unto Thee, O Lord among the gods?
    Who is like unto Thee, glorious in holiness,
    Wonderful in praises, doing wonders? ...
    Thou in Thy mercy hast led the people which Thou hast redeemed;
    Thou hast guided them in Thy holy habitation.”
    18LtMs, Ms 6a, 1903, par. 23

    [Exodus 15:1, 2, 11, 13.]

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