Terry Ruonavaara | The Voice of Zion April 2023 --
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. – 1 Kings 1:40
God’s Word speaks of a time in the Old Testament when the people of Israel had been given a reason for joy in their hearts. Their joy was so great that it was expressed loudly through musical instruments and singing. Their joy was felt so deeply that the earth itself “rent with joy” – it quaked!
When have you, a child of God, experienced great joy? As believers, we may feel this joy of believing when God comes close – so close that He reminds us we are on the pathway to heaven. When our sins are forgiven and we have peace in our hearts, the hope of heaven kindles joy.
Uncertainty Causes Worries and Doubts
In the verses preceding our text passage from 1 Kings 1, we read of events that took place when King David was old. It tells of Adonijah, David’s fourth son. When Adonijah saw that his father, David, was aging rapidly, he decided that he would try to take the throne of Israel after his father’s death. He began to prepare for this time. He gathered an army and supporters for himself as king, even though David had already chosen his son Solomon to be the next king. There were some important people who supported what Adonijah was trying to do. These included Joab, the captain of the army, and Aliathar, a priest.
But there were others who were not comfortable with what Adonijah was planning, including Nathan the prophet, Zadok the priest, and David’s wife Bathsheba. Nathan the prophet heard of the activities of Adonijah, and he approached Bathsheba with his concerns. He encouraged Bathsheba to go to the aged and ailing king and relate what was happening. King David responded by ordering that Solomon be taken immediately to Gihon to be anointed king by Nathan and Zadok. Our text tells what happened after Solomon was anointed: the people rejoiced with pipes, trumpets and shouts of praise.
We Have Reason for Joy
Why were the people so happy? Do you think the people had times of worry and concern during this event of their time, a time when their king was nearing death and a new king was not yet anointed? Maybe they wondered and doubted what the future would bring. Maybe they began to lose trust that God guides the fates of nations. These thoughts and doubts are part of the endeavor of a child of God. Many of us experience times when we ask: “Has God forgotten me?” Events in life bring us concern and worry even today.
In this event during the life of David, we see how God guided His own. God did not forget the people of His nation. He gave them David’s chosen successor; He gave them hope. They expressed their joy that Solomon was anointed to follow David as king.
To this day, God does not leave us in our worries. He uplifts and comforts. He reminds us that we have reason to be joyful.
Jesus Gives Joy
God’s Word tells of many times when believers were given a reason for joy. We remember when Jesus sent the seventy, two by two, to preach of the need to repent. When the seventy returned from their mission trip they had joy over how the message was received. Jesus reminded them to rejoice because their names are written in heaven. We remember the lame man who begged at the gate of the temple. When he was told by Peter to rise up and walk “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,” he leaped up and entered the temple “walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:6,8). As believers we have reason for joy. God has kept us in His kingdom to this moment. He has kindled a desire in our hearts to endeavor in faith, putting sin away as it besets us.
I especially remember a time in my life when I truly felt the joy of believers. It was at the end of the 1981 summer services in Seattle. I remember being in the bleachers when everyone stood for the closing song, “To Our Blest Creator.” As a 13-year-old boy, I marveled how each verse seemed to get louder as God’s children sang from their hearts. The joy of believing was so evident in the singing of God’s children. God continues to give these moments in our lives when we are reminded of the treasure of faith and the joy that comes with it.