1 Kings 11
-Solomon, and in effect much of Israel, falls into decline by the end of this great king’s reign. We had seen in the previous chapter that he began to multiply horses and became entangled in foreign affairs where he was distracted away from serving the LORD whole heartedly in devotion. Although the LORD had indeed blessed David’s son with opulence, wisdom, and prosperity beyond anyone’s wildest imagination, the spirits of waywardness and apathy began to set in and soon Solomon was appeasing foreign gods that the LORD detested. Solomon’s main problem was in the fact that he multiplied wives, which again was in direct disobedience to God’s limitations on kingly authority among His people (Deuteronomy 17:17, 1 Kings 11:1-3). This lead to idolatry as he increased gold and silver for himself and little by little turned away from the God of his father David (1 Kings 11:4-8). This of course angered the LORD because his heart was turned away from Him (remember our God is a jealous One, Exodus 34:14-16) who has appeared to him twice (1 Kings 11:9). He had disobeyed direct commands and God took swift action for not keeping His covenant and statutes by taking the vast part of the kingdom from his line (1 Kings 11:10-11). Nevertheless, God would be patient and not do this thing during the reign of Solomon for the sake of David and Jerusalem, which He had chosen, but He would act to divide with Solomon’s son, Rehoboam (1 Kings 11:12-13). *Application* The LORD looks to and fro throughout the earth to find a heart that is completely His so that He can strongly support them (2 Chronicles 16:9). The trouble with our hearts is that too often we go after vain and empty idols that turn us from God and His ways, His commands, His statutes, His precepts, and His love. While God is patient and kind, He is also very irritated when we know the right thing to do and yet go our own way. He simply cannot bless this course of action and we end up bearing the consequences of disobedience. Resolve to bless the LORD with your devotion. He will strongly support and favor you as you do! Be like David rather than Solomon.
-As a result of Solomon’s wayward demise, God raised up adversaries to the throne of Israel. Three are mentioned here in the text beginning with Hadad the Edomite who had fled south to Egypt during the conquest of David and the extermination of every male in that land to the east of the Jordan and Dead Sea area (1 Kings 11:14-22). Another antagonist was Rezon the son of Eliada who fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah during another conquest of David (2 Samuel 8:3-4). Rezon fled to Damascus in the north and reigned there with a band of marauders in vehement hatred of Israel as the leader of Aram (1 Kings 11:23-25). Then, there was Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah. He had been Solomon’s servant, but he rebelled against the king because of the Millo, which was built, that closed the breach of the city of his father David. This may indicate some jealousy latent from the powerful tribe of Ephraim towards the God ordained tribe of Judah and its royal authority (for more on Jeroboam see: http://christianbookshelf.org/milligan/men_of_the_bible_some_lesser-known/jeroboam.htm). He goes out of Jerusalem and ends up being prophesied over by the prophet Ahijah as to the coming split in the kingdom and his reign over ten of the tribes of Israel. Much like Samuel’s prophecy towards Saul, Ahijah predicts the coming distress and storm in the kingdom of Israel due to the king’s forsaking of God to worship and sacrifice to idols. Nevertheless, God will stay true to His promises and retain Judah for His servant David’s line as “a lamp always before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen for Myself to put My Name (1 Kings 11:36).” God “will afflict the descendants of David for this, but not always (1 Kings 11:39).” This has Messianic implications as Jesus is a direct descendant of this royal line as the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 5:5; 17:14; 19:16). Solomon sought to put Jeroboam to death over this prophecy of failure in the kingdom due to his own apostasy, but the future ruler of the ten northern tribes of Israel providentially escaped to Egypt until the death of Solomon. The text references the “Acts of Solomon” as a place to gain further information on the great and wise king of Israel. Unfortunately, we have lost this work to antiquity. Solomon ruled for 40 years over all of Israel, and then slept with his fathers buried in the city of his father David (Jerusalem), and Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, now came to power in his place (1 Kings 11:26-43). *Application* God can give peace and wants to give peace to those who are looking to Him for defense and support. The latter years of Solomon portray a breach in the security that he had once enjoyed (1 Kings 5:4). The enemies were allowed to infiltrate because of his turning away from the ways of the LORD and his direct disobedience. When we willingly and deliberately walk away from what we know is good and right according to the LORD’s directives, we also give the enemy an opportunity in our own lives to come in and disrupt our peace. Our own kingdoms will suffer and be torn apart as a legacy if we are not completely dependent and loyal to the One-true God and live in such a way that pleases Him. Learn complete reliance on the LORD your God and don’t let prosperity take you away from Him and His blessings (Matthew 13:22).
Verses to Memorize: 1 Kings 11:4, 13, 36, 39