King Solomon planted seeds of willfulness and independence that reaped a harvest of rebellion in his heart. God's first reaction to Solomon's defiance was a strong statement of divine anger (1 Kings 11:9). Okay, what else does the Lord do? After stating His anger, He raises up human adversaries. Look at how He does this—it's intriguing. Read carefully 1 Kings 11:14 and then verse 23.
Solomon probably knew nothing of Hadad. He was an Edomite, a former king-in-the-making who never made it. He was a forgotten man. But not to God. You see, when the Lord saw the defiance in Solomon's life, He began to whistle for the adversaries, much like you would call the dogs on an attacker. "Hadad, sic him!"
There's another adversary the Lord used to afflict Solomon. Read verses 23 and 24. The Hebrew says Rezon led "men who killed." The marauding band was a killing body of men. Rezon is living in Damascus, and Solomon doesn't know anything about him. Everything is going well with extravagant Solomon. He's waltzing along the first twenty years of his life, relaxing. All kinds of palaces, storehouses, and cities are being built. Everything seems to be sailing along smoothly. But erosion is happening. Ever so silently, Solomon turns against God, knowing nothing about a guy named Hadad or another one named Rezon. Neither of them, however, will ever forget David and his reign. Finally, both men make their long-awaited move. Operation revenge!
So [Rezon] was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, along with the evil that Hadad did; and he abhorred Israel and reigned over Aram. (v. 25)
So there was evil done against Solomon by Hadad. There was also havoc wrought by another adversary named Rezon. I take it that from this time on, these guys began to harass and make life generally miserable for a king who hadn't even known the bad dogs existed. God unleashed both of them: "Sic 'em, Hadad! Sic 'em, Rezon!"
Talk about practicality! When we have the audacity to defy the living God, when we walk against His holiness and resist His authority over our lives, He has ways of calling all kinds of dogs from any number of alleys. We don't even know they're there, then boom! He brings them in. Sometimes they come in the form of a memory . . . it haunts you, it won't leave you alone. It stays there and plagues you. It stays on top of you. You find yourself restless. It's like a monkey on your back—it stays, plagues, works, harasses, beats you black and blue emotionally. Perhaps your sense of defiance gets stronger, and you stiffen your neck and stand your ground. Guess what? God just calls more of those dogs out of the alley. "Go get him. Work on him." Just as God never runs low on "clerks" or "pawns," He also never runs low on "attack dogs."
He is persistent when dealing with defiance. He will not give relief to His children who deliberately walk away from His will. That includes your children who may have grown up in the Lord but are now running wild. They have their own Rezons and Hadads, trust me. It's just a matter of time before they will surrender.
I memorized a statement many years ago by Lord Byron from his work "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage." I find the content appropriate and penetrating:
The thorns which I have reap'd are of the tree
I planted,—they have torn me—and I bleed:
I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed.
Seeds that one plants grow. Often they bear ugly, treacherous thorns. They grow to such proportions that they bite and sting and hurt and infect us. God uses those thorns to prick us, to get us back on the right path. Why? He's jealous for our lives. He misses the close relationship He once had with us.
There is one more person you should meet. Solomon's other two adversaries brought external oppression. This man brought internal rebellion. Jeroboam was on his way to the top of the kingdom ladder. Why? He'd won the heart of the king. Then, smack-dab in the middle of this promotion, wham! He turned and rebelled against Solomon. Did you catch that in 11:26? "[He] rebelled against the king."
The word rebelled comes from a root verb in Hebrew that means "to lift one's hand against." Perhaps he physically fought with Solomon in addition to the misery that he brought the king. What an adversary! He did an "inside job" on Solomon.
So Solomon, who months earlier had known only relaxation and extravagance to the point of boredom, is now faced with pit bulls like Hadad and Rezon, as well as a sleek Doberman, Jeroboam, biting and snarling and fighting with him, the king.
There is a proverb that aptly describes Solomon's woe. "The way of the treacherous is hard" (Proverbs 13:15b). You can't defy the living Lord without having misery move in alongside.
David writes in Psalm 32: "For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; / My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer" (v. 4).
The Lord's hounds are a lot more effective than the FBI's finest. He always gets His man—or woman. Always! He knows where we are all the time. He won't give up.
Living in a tough situation at home right now? Having difficulty with defiance among those who work under you or serve over you? The Lord has never met His match. He is never intimidated by defiance. He just moves so slowly sometimes, doesn't He? Don't you wish He'd get on His horse and ride faster? "Come on, Lord, how long is this gonna take?" I understand. I've asked the same question.
Verse 40 of 1 Kings 11 says: "Solomon sought therefore to put Jeroboam to death; but Jeroboam arose and fled to Egypt to Shishak king of Egypt, and he was in Egypt until the death of Solomon."
As if the presence of adversaries weren't bad enough, he also encounters personal frustration. I mean, here's the king. Surely he ought to be able to kill anybody in the land. He's even got an army available. But here's a guy who escapes! Solomon is so frustrated—he can't even put a hit man on Jeroboam and finish him off. It's as if his hands are tied. So it is when you're in defiance; things refuse to work out. Try all you like, you cannot find relief in wrongdoing.
This devotional is part four in a five-part series.
Excerpted from Avoiding Stress Fractures, Copyright © 1990, 1995 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. For additional information and resources visit us at www.insight.org.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.