Adversaries from God – 1 Kings 11

Continuing along after King David and King Solomon in the genealogy of Jesus, from the gospel of Matthew:

… Jesse (was) the father of David the king.  And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam. Matthew 1:6 (ESV)

King Solomon died after serving Israel for forty years.  He was around 60 years old at the time of his death, still a relatively young man by Biblical standards. 

Solomon’s reign had started out in magnificent fashion.  Building upon the successful reign of his father, David, he achieved everything that his father had hoped for but never quite attained.  Using David’s wealth, plans and materials, Solomon built the holy temple on the specific location God had chosen in Jerusalem.  God had appeared to Solomon twice in his life, laying out both the blessings he would receive and the covenant guidelines he was expected to live by.  Solomon took the blessings, but over the course of his life, gradually abandoned the guidelines.  His reign that had started out so well and achieved such spiritual and material heights for Israel ended on the brink of civil war for the nation.

14 Now the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was a descendant of the king in Edom.  1 Kings 11:14 (NKJV)

How the mighty had fallen.  Solomon went from having God shower him with wisdom and riches beyond that of any other living person, to raising up an adversary to work against him.  As Jesus once told His disciples and the crowd that surrounded them:

48 For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.  Luke 12:48 (NKJV)

Solomon’s first adversary was an escapee from one of King David’s earlier wars, and like young Moses and Joseph in Israel’s past, Hadad ended up being granted the favor of God while in exile in Egypt.  He, like they, not only escaped death, but ended up being elevated to become a member of Pharaoh’s court. To have such divine favor be granted to an enemy of the throne of Israel must have stung deeply.  It shows just how distasteful and evil Solomon’s and the nation’s worship of other gods had become in the Lord’s eyes.

Besides this adversary from Egypt, God also raised up two more opponents to Solomon.  The first of these lived north of Israel, in Syria.  This nation would subsequently besiege and eventually overcome the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which had forfeited the protection of God by stubbornly turning away from Him to worship false gods and idols.

Adversary number three, Jeroboam, came from within the Northern Kingdom of Israel itself.  He was approached by a prophet who gave him this message from the Lord:

31 …for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you 32 (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), 33 because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David.  1 Kings 11:31-33 (NKJV)

Thus, Solomon died, having lived much of his later life away from the Lord.  His kingdom was then ruled by his son, Rehoboam.  The kingdom appeared to still be intact and prosperous, but the seeds of division had already been planted by God.  Though the Lord had delivered Israel from the Egyptians and chose them as His special nation to reveal His name to the world, He would now divide them in hopes of saving them later.  Only by returning to Him in faith would His people ever be able to be redeemed and restored, and often, this can only be accomplished through hardship.

God sometimes permits hardship to come to us today as a reality check and a heart examination. We begin to see with greater clarity how He has richly blessed us and given us so many good things.  These trials allow us to regain some spiritual perspective.  We gain an element of honesty and humility, and begin the process of backing off from a prideful, rebellious, self- or idol-seeking nature, and begin to totally rely again upon the Lord.


Most of the challenges and struggles we face in life today do not come from God. They originate elsewhere, and are a consequence of us living in a fallen world. But anything that does come our way only reaches us if He permits it.

God may permit the arrival of difficult situations to be used as instruments to help grant us the willingness to seek Him or to grow our faith. The benefits of this are limitless and eternal if we do. But the vast majority of bad things that happen us, that He usually gets blamed for, never originated in His heart. Romans 8:28 tells us that God will still use any negative things in our life and build upon them to help us and others if we will seek and trust Him.

Father God, help us to turn to You in faith in both good times and bad, and to keep You Number One in our lives. Help us to get through all of the challenges, griefs, and hardships that come our way, even using them to increase Your blessings upon our lives. Help us to live a good and pure life that is pleasing to You. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

%d bloggers like this: