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King David had two sons who wanted to be king.  One was Absalom, the most handsome man in the kingdom.  "But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish on him."  2 Sa. 14:25.  He looked like David, but was taller and better-looking.  He seemed like a king and he spoke like a king.  The people loved him even more than they loved David.  2 Sa. 15:6, 13.  They saw the exterior, but pride and rebellion was hidden deep in Absalom's heart.  He was willing to kill his own father to take the throne.  Many of David's closest friends abandoned the king to go to the side of Absalom.  It was an opportunity for advancement.  King David refused to resist Absalom.  He put his trust in God.  When Absalom brought his armies, David fled with a few of his loyal supporters, including Ittai and Zadok, the junior priest.  2 Sa. 15:21, 24.  In the end, however, Absalom was slain, along with many of his supporters. 

". . . (F)or man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."  1 Sa. 16:7.

David never coveted the throne.  True, Samuel, the prophet, had anointed David to be the next king over Israel when he was just a youth.  1 Sa. 16:13.  Later, David and his men were hiding in a cave when King Saul, who was looking to kill David, had unknowingly fallen asleep at the mouth of the cave.  David's men encouraged him to kill Saul and be the king.  David refuse and instead, cut off the skirt of Saul's robe.  Even the act of touching the king's robe smote David's heart.  "Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily.  And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt.  And he said unto his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord."  1 Sa. 24:4-6.  It was a test and a temptation for David and he passed with flying colors.

A second time, God caused Saul and his army to fall into a deep sleep.  David and some of his men were able to walk into the middle of King Saul's camp.  As they stood over the sleeping Saul, David's servant, Abishai encouraged David to let him kill Saul.  "And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?  David said furthermore, As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish."  1 Sa. 26:9-10. 

David trusted God.  How could a servant of God kill another servant of God in order to take away his throne?  David would rather perish than take things into his own hands and cause God's name to be sullied.  David would not speak badly against his king or to touch Saul.  The heathen would laugh.  David wanted God's will to be done.  If God wanted David to be king, then David would be king no matter what others did to stop hm.  If God didn't want David to be king, then David would not be king no matter what David did.  Such is the heart of a true servant of God. 

There was another son of David that coveted the throne.  When King David was on his death bed, his oldest son, Adonijah, presumed that he was the next king since man's tradition was that the oldest son would inherit the throne.  In order to quickly remove all opposition and to secure the throne for himself, Adonijah persuaded Abiathar, the chief priest, and many of David's closest advisors, including Joab, to join him and anoint him as the next king even before David had even died. 

It appeared to Israel that Adonijah was the next king.  He had little resistance.  Only five of David's men stayed with him until he died, including Zadok the junior priest.  1 Ki. 1:8.  It was not a simple matter, since the one who grabbed the throne would usually kill all those who did not support him.  It was man's ways.  But, God chose Solomon instead. 

In the end, Joab perished along with Adonijah.  Abiathar, the chief priest, was banished from the kingdom.  While most rebelled and deserted David at the end of his days when it appeared advantageous to them, Zadok remained loyal until the end.  For his faithfulness, God declared in Ezekiel 44:15‑17, that:

But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, said the Lord God:  They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.   And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come  upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.

The sons of Zadok, those who are loyal to their masters until death, will minister directly to God in heaven, in His very presence.  Others will be limited to the gates of the outer court (away from the throne of God).  Eze. 44:10‑12.  The reward of David, the king, became the reward of Zadok, the loyal and steadfast servant of the king.

There are many lessons to be learned from the life of Zadok. 

Only God has the authority to appoint and anoint someone to be His delegated authority.  There are many who desire to be leaders in the church and there are many who were never called by God to be a pastor or church leader.  Ambition, opportunity, pride and man's traditions can make leaders in man's eyes, but only God can appoint and anoint His true leaders.  He does not look to physical appearance, wealth, reputation, personality, accomplishments or intelligence.  He looks to the heart and reins of men.  Jer. 11:20; 17:10; 20:12; Rev. 2:21.  God will test hearts and reins until the very end. 

Zadok never aspired to any reward or position.  He was content to be a junior priest.  His loyalty and love for his king was all that he cared about.  In the end, Zadok became the head priest of all of Israel.  One of his sons became chief priest later, and one of his daughters became the Queen of Israel.  Zadok will forever be remembered for his steadfast loyalty, submission and obedience to the one God placed above him in authority, and those who follow his example are called the sons of Zadok. 

One does not need to strive to be a leader in God's kingdom.  All he has to do is be loyal, supportive and obedient to spiritual authority above him and he will receive the reward of his leader.  Zadok received the same reward as David in heaven, and so will the sons of Zadok.  You don't have to be king.  All you have to do is serve.  In due time, you will be exalted by God.

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