Principles vs Personality
1 Kings 1: 5-8
5 Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him.6 (His father had never rebuked him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)
7 Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David’s special guard did not join Adonijah.
The last years of King David’s life was filled with political turmoil as his sons battled for the crown. These grasps at the crown made several of the people and the high priests have to choose sides. As we know, David himself was not perfect and he does hold some accountability for his son’s misbehavior. Nonetheless, David did differ from his sons, Absalom and Adonijah, in that David was a man of principles and integrity. His sons were full of personality and showmanship. They were good at thrilling crowds and enticing the people. Yet the principles that Absalom and Adonijah stood for were based on power, greed, and entitlements. Sadly, many of the people in Israel and Judah fell for the charms, personality, and public specatales of these young princes without ever really learning what they really stood for. In 1 King 1:5-8, we see that one of then high priests, Zadok, does not fall for Adonijah’s campaign. Instead, he separated himself from the other high priest Abiathar and remains loyal to David who was still God’s anointed ruler.
When David dies he makes Zadok the sole high priest of Israel and demotes Abiathar to a regular priest. This may seem small until one looks at the consecration ceremony of the temple in 1 Kings and see that Zadok becomes the first priest to witness the full glory of the Lord since the time of Moses, as the Lord filled the inner sanctum of the temple. Abiathar was never beaten or killed. In fact, we know that he kept working as a regular priest. However, his inability to stay true the principles of God cost him the opportunity to fully experience the glory of God at a later point in his life.
I am concerned that as individuals and as a country, we Americans who call ourselves Christian are failing to choose proper Christian principles over popular Christian personalities. Being weathly and famous are not Christian principles. At best, they are Christian personalities. Being divisive and demanding are not Christian principles. Yet somehow they have become many Christian personalities. Being judgmental, selfish, hateful, unforgiving, or angry are not Christian principles. Nevertheless, they have become the basis for many political policies that Christians currently support. We, 21st century Christians, have to become careful that we don’t fall for the charms and personalities of the modern day Absaloms and Adonijahs in our society. Our God and Creator is watching us daily. He may not discipline us for falling for these personalities but he may never reveal his full glory to us either. Is following a popular personality worth missing out on experiencing the full glory of the Almighty God? Let us all commit to personally following God’s will for our lives and not the will of a crowd.