5 Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6 His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. (1 Kings 1:5-6, ESV)
Adonijah is the son of David, of course, and you see what this text says: David had never displeased his son by questioning any of his actions. If I’ve learned one thing about kids since becoming a parent, or learned anything about humans since becoming one, it’s that we’re all boneheads. If we follow our heart, we’ll end up in a huge mess. It ended up costing Adonijah his life. If you’ve never made your kids mad at you, you are probably doing something wrong. Our children, left to their own devices, won’t fare very well in this world.
I’ve heard several parents talk about how they want their children to find their own way in life.They don’t want to have too much influence. I’m all for teaching our children critical thinking skills and helping them think through life, but God made us parents to influence our children. Telling your kids there is a right and wrong way to do things is good parenting. Proverbs teaches us to train up our child in the way they should go, not the way they choose or want to go. Your children are a gift to you and you are a gift to them. You can show them the right direction to go. You can rebuke them when they become Cubs fans. (There’s no life in that).
Maybe you’re not the king and maybe your kid isn’t like Adonijah, but there are consequences to letting your kid have their way all of the time. You will pay for your spoiling. It isn’t that the author is saying that David never disciplined Adonijah, it’s worse than that. It says he never even questioned him. Children need the opportunity to discover the why of their actions. They need to be taught to think things through. Heck I need to be taught to ask myself the why behind the action. Why do I say no all of the time to my children? Why do I numb myself with television sometimes? Why do I(hypothetically) cry at sports movies? You need to have a conversation with Junior about his actions. More importantly, you need to have a conversation with Junior about his heart. Identify with the struggle that goes on in his heart and YOURS and point him to Jesus.
David really screwed this one up. What is amazing is that God still calls him a man after His own heart. Not just the David that slayed Goliath, but the David that slept with Bathsheba. Not just the David that spared Saul, but the David that didn’t love Adonijah enough to discipline him. God loves us with all of our warts and moles. We are always in need of God’s grace, on our best and worst days. Newsflash: we are not that great. Not just the things we do or don’t do, but man…if the world knew the things we think. We are not great; God is great. We have these treasures in jars of clay so that the excellency of God and not of us is shown to the world. Repent from being a lax parent, hate your sin of coddling your children too much, but most importantly, understand that you’re perfectly and radically loved by the Creator of the universe. His love for you is unchanging.