Lighthouse Leader Study Guide
Date: February 4, 2018
Series: The kings and the King: Season 3 (1 Kings)
1 Kings 1-2:46
This Week’s Printable Resources:
- Lighthouse Discussion Guide (pdf)
- Lighthouse Leader Study Guide (pdf)
Overview of this Lesson
Transitions are tough. They are tough on nations and organizations, and they are tough on the people involved.
In America, we’ve witnessed a difficult transition between two opposing governments—the Obama government and the Trump government. Even though the USA has well over 200 years of successfully transitioning from one government to the next, this has been a tough transition.
One aspect that has received a lot of attention over the past year is the concept of “the deep state,” the government bureaucracy that exists independently of the elected government. The deep state has always existed, but it is only since 2016 that the spotlight has exposed this otherwise dark recess of government.
As we open the book of 1 Kings, we see another government in transition. Unlike the USA, however, Israel had almost no history at this point of transitioning governments. The first king, Saul, had died in battle along with his sons, thus leaving the throne empty. With no other successor to turn to, Judah and Israel turned to David, who became Israel’s second king. Combined, Saul and David reigned in Israel almost 80 years. That means that many of the people alive when we begin 1 Kings had no personal knowledge of another king but David.
As David’s health begins to fail, we see the political intrigue begin to rise. Guess what? Israel had a deep state, too. In this case, the deep state was led by David’s son and apparent heir to the throne, Adonijah. As we will see, however, in spite of the efforts of the deep state, the will of the Lord was fulfilled and Solomon, God’s choice for king, reigned as king of the Jews.
The object of this lesson is to see the damage and danger self-centered, arrogant leadership can bring to God’s people, and to underscore, again, the importance of leaving a godly legacy.
Memory Verse for This Week
1 Kings 2:1-3 — When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn,”
Core Practice: Bible Study
Bible Study (Hebrews 4:12): I study the Bible diligently to know God, to become like Christ, and to discern His will for my life.
Is there anything of significant sentimental value to you that has been handed down through your family? What is it? Why is it important?
Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
Make sure you ask this question this week. It gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead into one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Also, some weeks this question will result in a lot of discussion, other weeks, not so much.
This Week’s Take Home Truth
“Self-centered ambition always leads to disaster, whereas submission to God’s revealed will always leads to blessing.”
Read the Text
It’s 970BC in Israel, the land God has given His people to live in. King David is on the throne. He was chosen by God to rule, as a “man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). God has promised David that his family will continue to rule Israel; that one of them will build a temple in which God will be particularly present, living, among His people; and that one of David’s descendants will rule forever (2 Samuel 7 11b-16). God has spoken to David through His prophet, Nathan. Read the following passages of Scripture: 1 Kings 1:5-10 and 1 Kings 2:1-12.
In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions. Remember, if you are hearing from everyone in your group, chances are you won’t have to time to discuss every question. You may start with one that catches your attention so you don’t run out of time. For example, it’s not odd to start with Question #6, then go to Question #5 and if you have time come back to Question #4.
Summarize what is happening in 1 Kings 1 & 2.
1 Kings opens with David in the twilight of his life. The shadows of the grave are getting closer, and David’s health is failing fast.
David has a complex family. He has more than eight wives and dozens of children. His oldest surviving son is Adonijah. One of Adonijah’s brothers was Absalom, who rebelled against God a few years before, but was killed in battle (2 Samuel 15–18). One of his other sons is Solomon. He’s Adonijah’s half-brother, and his mother is Bathsheba. From his birth, God has particularly loved him (2 Samuel 12:24-25); and He has promised David that Solomon will succeed him as king (1 Chronicles 22:9-10).
With David’s strength gone, his son Adonijah determines to reach for the throne. This leads to a lot of confusion and turmoil. The result is Solomon becomes king, but it ends up being a blooding transition as Solomon “drains the swamp” in Jerusalem and establishes his reign.
How would you describe Adonijah?
The Bible narrator paints a negative image of Adonijah. He underscores his arrogance and self-centered motives when he states up front, Adonijah exalted himself (1 Kings 1:5).
As we stated above, Adonijah was David’s oldest surviving son, and from this perspective, could lay claim to the throne. Yet, God had already identified Solomon as David’s heir (1 Chron. 22:9-10). So, while circumstances may have pointed to Adonijah as the heir, God’s revealed will pointed to Solomon.
The narrator also cannot help but let us know that Absalom was spoiled. In verse 6 he tells us parenthetically that David had not rebuked him at any time. From this, we can see that throughout his life, Adonijah had lived a life of absolute privilege and was allowed to go unchecked and undisciplined.
David was a great man—perhaps the greatest man of the Old Testament, but he was a miserable failure as a father.
Summarize what this passage tells us about the political situation in Jerusalem at the end of David’s reign.
It is a clear axiom in politics that weak leaders breed hard times and hard times create strong leaders. David had demonstrated strong leadership throughout his life, but now, in his old age, his physical strength had left him, and this created a vacuum of leadership in Israel.
There is another clear political principle at play in 1 Kings 1: when a leadership vacuum exists, it is often the arrogant and self-serving men who attempt to seize power. Richard Needham said, “Power is a drug on which the politicians are hooked. They buy it from the voters, using the voters’ own money.”
Adonijah desired one thing, and that was to gain control and ultimately sit on his father’s throne. He wanted the power that came with that office. Moreover, as the Bible explains the situation, there were also other men and women who were positioning for power. Joab, David’s trusted commanding general, and Abiathar, the high priest, both sided with Adonijah. As they surveyed the political landscape, they wagered that in the end, Adonijah would triumph, and they wanted to be on the inside circle when he became king.
They were wrong.
How do you go about getting what you want? What does this passage teach us about personal responsibility and ambition?
The introduction to 1 Kings is an interesting display of the tension that exists between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. As we have learned, it was God’s spoken will that Solomon become king after David. As is often the case, the transition between David and Solomon became a crisis for the nation and appeared to hang on a thread. In truth, it didn’t.
Personal responsibility and ambition are good traits, but like many aspects of life, when we fail to keep ambition under control, it can ruin us.
What can we learn as a church from the transition from David to Solomon (things to copy and things to avoid)?
The transition of leadership in any organization of any size is always a tenuous time. Here in America, because of our democratic form of government, change of leadership is baked into the cake. And, unfortunately, in most churches, leadership transition is as common as the changing of the seasons. According to Thom Rainer, the average stay of a pastor at a church in America is 3-4 years. Here at First Family, we are blessed to have pastors who have a commitment to longevity.
As we see in our text this week, when a leader has been in a position of authority for decades, it can create a leadership vacuum when he either dies, retires, or moves on. David had a transition plan (at least Nathan was aware that Solomon would reign in David’s place upon his death), but it appears that the transition plan was not widely known. As a result, Adonijah was able to exploit this information void to his own advantage.
Here are some guiding principles to help a church when it must transition from a long-term pastor:
- Recognize the need for a transition plan long before you must have a transition plan. Think of the transition plan as a will. The time to develop your will is before your death. After your death, it is too late. Same applies with a transition plan. A church should have an agreed-upon transition plan 7-10 years before a pastor’s planned retirement.
- Communicate the details of a transition plan as early as possible. As we see in the example of the transition from David to Solomon, few knew what the plan was even though the Lord Himself had revealed it to David. This lack of consensus around an agreed upon plan gave Adonijah and his partners in crime the opportunity they needed to try and seize power.
- Recognize that, unfortunately, there are Adonijah’s in the church today. A simple principle to remember is this: even the best of men and men at best. The lust for power and control can affect anyone.
- For pastors, unlike David, don’t die in the pulpit. It seems reasonable to believe that most men would recognize when they have reached the end of their effective usefulness to their church, but this is not always the case. As easy as it is for men to get bitten by the lust for power, it is equally easy for pastors to believe they can preach until they are physically unable to preach. Not true. There is a lot more to leading a church than simply preaching a sermon on Sunday mornings. Pastors who fail to see this are hurting the church. Even in football, we see this problem play out before us. Brett Favre was one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL. He led the Green Bay Packers to two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl win. When it was time to retire, he waffled. First, he was going to retire and then he wasn’t. The waffling led to a lot of confusion and tension for the Packers. Eventually, the Packers decided to trade Favre. Rather than retire with honor, he muddied his name and his reputation by staying too long.
As parents, how should we think about the issue of family legacy?
Everyone leaves a legacy, but not every legacy is good. If we are apathetic or unintentional, then we won’t play any part in what the next generation receives from us. The example we set before our children speaks more loudly than our words. David was the psalmist of Israel, obviously good with words, but he set a terrible example for his sons. Worst of all, his sons followed in David’s footsteps.
As you study the life of David and as we get into the life of Solomon, you will see that in the area where David struggled (his inability to control his desire for women), Solomon took to an extreme.
What are some ways we can build that legacy of faith in our children by helping them to think through the issues of culture biblically?
Parenting is a slow-cooker process, not a microwave oven. Like diamonds, self-centered children become godly adults through the slow, ongoing tensions and pressures of life. Children are constantly watching, constantly observing, constantly listening. Each day is an opportunity for new lessons and godly perspective on living life.
That can be a lot of pressure on mom and dad. Any parent who has raised kids can say Amen to that. Here are four ways parents can help build a legacy of faith for their children:
- Start with an authentic faith of your own. Your kids will quickly pick up if your all talk and no action. Is the Bible the foundation of YOUR life? Don’t expect the Bible to become the foundation of your children’s lives if it is not the foundation of your life. Do your children see you in the Word? Do they see you praying and ministering to the Lord? Do your children see an authentic faith in your life? That is the place to begin.
- Make the Bible the foundation of your family life. Lifeway Research did a study on what is the most effective habit you can develop to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ? Their finding? Daily Bible reading. You cannot go wrong if you establish regular, daily family Bible reading in your home. Make it a goal to read at least a chapter of the Bible every day as a family. Even when your kids are too young to fully comprehend the Bible, include them in on your family Bible reading time.
- Salvation is a work of the Lord, not you the parent. Yes, the Lord may use you in your child’s life to bring him or her to saving faith, but, ultimately, God saves your child when the time is right. Don’t pressure your son or daughter to pray a prayer or some way express salvation to please you. Till the soil, plant the seed, water, but God will give the harvest.
- Guard the gate to your child’s heart and innocence. The devil is seeking to destroy your children, and he has a multitude of tools available. As parents, you need to build strong fences around your home to keep the worldly influences out and protect the innocence of your child. When your children begin to grow through their teen years, these fences will be difficult to maintain as they venture further and further out into the world. It is during these years that your best defense becomes a strong relationship and open channel of communication with your teens.
As a group, share with each other how you have built a foundation of faith in your home. Also, consider what your parents did (or didn’t do) that helped form a godly legacy for you.
Becoming A House of Prayer
“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices; Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” – Isaiah 56:7.
Prayer Focus for the Week of February 4
Praise God that He is in control of every situation and that His purposes cannot be prevented.
Confess to God any ways in which you’re trying to resist God’s will, or using dubious methods to get to where you want to be in life.
Ask God to give you faith, like Nathan’s, in His promises and wisdom—and to help you take risks when it’s necessary to do so to live His way and put His wishes first.
As you close in prayer, spend some time praying for the future of the children represented in your group. Pray for them by name, that they would inherit the legacy of faith. Pray for the parents as well, that they would play an active role in passing on their faith to their children.
Questions to consider as you continue to reflect on what you learned this week:
- Take Action: How are you building a foundation of faith for your family? What one step can you take this week that will move your family closer to God?
- Take Courage: If you haven’t been intentional in thinking through how you want things to be in your family when you’re gone, don’t lose hope. As we continue in 1 Kings 1, we see that it’s not too late; we can still embrace our responsibility to pass on the faith. Instead of just accepting the way things were going, Bathsheba, the prophet Nathan, and David took action to change their legacy. Through some skillful political maneuvers, they anointed Solomon while Adonijah was celebrating his victory. In the end, God’s will prevailed, and the same truth applies to your family.
Work to memorize this week’s memory verse: 1 Kings 2:1-3 — When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn,”
Our Core Practice this week is Bible Study (Hebrews 4:12): I study the Bible diligently to know God, to become like Christ, and to discern His will for my life.
Remember to use the Daily Bible Reading plan as part of your walk with Christ, taking the time to reflect on each passage and what it means for your lives.
Coming Dates This Spring:
02/2-3/2018 – Men’s Conference
02/04/2018 – Super Bowl Sunday
02/09/2018 – Daddy Daughter Dance
03/11-16/2018 – Spring Break Week (No Groups)
03/25/2018 – Palm Sunday
03/30/2018 – Good Friday
04/01/2018 – Easter Sunday (No Groups)
05/13/2018 – Mother’s Day
05/25/2018 – Lighthouse Semester Ends
05/27/2018 – Summer Break Begins
09/09/2018 – Lighthouse Fall Semester Begins
Spring Teaching Schedule:
01/28/2018 – 1 Kings 1:1-2:46
02/04/2018 – 1 Kings 3:1-5:18
02/11/2018 – 1 Kings 6:1-8:66
02/18/2018 – 1 Kings 9:1-10:29
02/25/2018 – 1 Kings 11:1-43
03/4/2018 – 1 Kings 12:1-33
03/11/2018 – 1 Kings 13:1-14:31
03/18/2018 – 1 Kings 15:1-01/28/2018 – 16:28
03/25/2018 – Palm Sunday
04/1/2018 – Easter
04/8/2018 – 1 Kings 16:29-17:24
04/15/2018 – 1 Kings 18:1-46
04/22/2018 – 1 Kings 19:1-21
04/29/2018 – 1 Kings 20:1-22:53
New Series: Traction: Getting Past Your Past
05/6/2018 – “The Lack of Genuine Regeneration” (Part 1)
05/13/2018 – “The Lack of Genuine Regeneration” (Part 2)
05/20/2018 – “The Root of Lingering Bitterness”