Daily Readings & Thought for August 16th. “THE LORD RAISED UP AN ADVERSARY”
After all the wonders for most of Solomon’s reign, all the benefits and blessings he had inherited from his father David, Solomon’s greatness – we would say – humanly speaking – went to his head. We read today “when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart … “ [1 Kings 11 v.4]
A significant factor in this was that he married many foreign wives who worshipped idols. We are told “the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD” [v.9] His foreign wives had influenced him in his worship, so “the LORD raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite.”[v.14] There were others, “God also raised up as an adversary to him, Rezin, the son of Eliada” [v.23] Our English translations disguise the fact that the word ‘adversary’ in Hebrew is ‘Satan.’
The fundamental meaning of ‘satan’ is someone who opposes you. The first occasions the word is used in Scripture is in Numbers 22 v.22 and 32 to describe how the angel God sent to encounter the false prophet Balaam, who had some knowledge of the LORD, that this angel was an “adversary” to him – sent by God “to oppose” him.
We read earlier this week how Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” [Mark 8 v.33] Later, some Jewish synagogues were becoming so opposed to the growing Christian communities that they are described as “a synagogue of Satan” [Rev.2 v.9]
Are there any satans in your life? If so, can it be that you are being tested as Jesus was by Peter? Or “the synagogue of Satan” that tested believers in Smyrna. They were told, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer: behold the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested … you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life … The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death” when Jesus comes [v.10,11] Let us conquer any adversaries or adversities. How wonderful the promise, “The one who conquers … I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” [Rev 3 v.5]