1 Kings 11:14-25 – And All She Wants to Do Is Dance, Dance, Dance…

Posted: December 31, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 11:14-25

Solomon’s Enemies

Yesterday, we talked about, basically, staying hungry for the will of God rather than self-seeking. Here, in this passage, we see that, though Israel was still a mighty power at this point, the beginning of the end of the Davidic-Solomonic empire was about to crumble from within. Even though there were enemies developing on numerous fronts, Israel became preoccupied with itself, as evidenced by what will happen in the next passages. It is kind of a look at where we are in the United States at present.

We have been spoiled by our own opulence since World War II ended that the hard work, dedication, and a collective belief that God had blessed us has given way to a sense of entitlement, lack of concern the future, and a sense that we can believe anything and do anything we want. I am not saying that there were not great flaws in our nation prior to the present era. There sure were. However, we seem now to be so much more preoccupied with self than we have ever been. We live in a world now in the USA where we manufacture less and less and we desire to entertain ourselves more and more. We used to be a country that made everything that the world uses as consumer products and now we import more manufactured goods than we export. We are preoccupied with the entertaining ourselves, taking vacations, working less, playing more, sacrificing less, spending more. Could we now in the 21st century make the same sacrifices that our nation collectively made during World War II? It was Khrushchev, the Soviet leader from the mid-50’s to the mid-60’s, who said that United States would be defeated from within without the Soviets firing a shot. It most likely will happen that way.

The same decay from within while enemies abound was the ultimate undoing of the Roman Empire. The world’s greatest empire was once an advancing force that took the world by storm, literally. However, at some point they lost their will to be a great power. They became so concerned with their own comfort that they started building a wall around their empire beginning with Emperor Hadrian. The intrigue and politics and the self-seeking within the empire was its undoing. The conquered lands were increasing taxed to support the opulent lifestyles of Rome and Rome became so out of touch with what was going on in the world that the military suffered for it. More concern was who would be emperor and who had power. More concern was opulent lifestyles rather keeping the country strong.

Every nation seems to go through these stages of development. At some point, we become spoiled by our success and stray from what made us great and become more concerned about entertaining ourselves and with political intrigue rather than continuing to maintain the leadership position of the nation. In Israel’s case, they began straying from God beginning with Solomon himself. Rome became self-centered and it defeated them too. America, once a nation collectively devoted to God in general, is now similar to past empires where our own opulence has become our god and not the God.

That’s the thing that I thought about this morning as I read about the developing enemies of Israel in 1 Kings 11:14-25. There is such a pattern that repeats itself in mankind’s history. When we have success we tend to begin to think it’s because of us and they we are entitled to it. Let’s read the passage now:

14 Then the Lord raised up Hadad the Edomite, a member of Edom’s royal family, to be Solomon’s adversary. 15 Years before, David had defeated Edom. Joab, his army commander, had stayed to bury some of the Israelite soldiers who had died in battle. While there, they killed every male in Edom. 16 Joab and the army of Israel had stayed there for six months, killing them.

17 But Hadad and a few of his father’s royal officials escaped and headed for Egypt. (Hadad was just a boy at the time.) 18 They set out from Midian and went to Paran, where others joined them. Then they traveled to Egypt and went to Pharaoh, who gave them a home, food, and some land. 19 Pharaoh grew very fond of Hadad, and he gave him his wife’s sister in marriage—the sister of Queen Tahpenes. 20 She bore him a son named Genubath. Tahpenes raised him[a] in Pharaoh’s palace among Pharaoh’s own sons.

21 When the news reached Hadad in Egypt that David and his commander Joab were both dead, he said to Pharaoh, “Let me return to my own country.”

22 “Why?” Pharaoh asked him. “What do you lack here that makes you want to go home?”

“Nothing,” he replied. “But even so, please let me return home.”

23 God also raised up Rezon son of Eliada as Solomon’s adversary. Rezon had fled from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah, 24 and had become the leader of a gang of rebels. After David conquered Hadadezer, Rezon and his men fled to Damascus, where he became king. 25 Rezon was Israel’s bitter adversary for the rest of Solomon’s reign, and he made trouble, just as Hadad did. Rezon hated Israel intensely and continued to reign in Aram.

In this passage, we see that circumstances began building up to threaten the peace of Israel. Because of Solomon’s arrogance toward God, He began allowing enemies to develop that could threaten the stability of Israel. God permitted Hadad, through the impulse of his own ambition, or revenge, to attack Israel. During the war of extermination, which Joab carried on in Edom (2 Samuel 8:13), this Hadad, of the royal family, a mere boy when rescued from the sword of the ruthless conqueror, was carried into Egypt, hospitably entertained, and became allied with the house of the Egyptian king.

Later, the thought of his native land and his lost kingdom taking possession of his mind, he, on learning the death of David and Joab, renounced the ease, possessions, and glory of his Egyptian residence, to return to Edom and attempt the recovery of his ancestral throne. The movements of this prince seem to have given much annoyance to the Hebrew government; but as he was defeated by the numerous and strong garrisons planted throughout the Edomite territory, Hadad seems to have offered his services to Rezon, another of Solomon’s adversaries (1 Kings 11:23-25). This man, who had been general of Hadadezer and, on the defeat of that great king, had successfully withdrawn a large force, went into the wilderness, led a predatory life, like Jephthah, David, and others, on the borders of the Syrian and Arabian deserts.

Then, having acquired great power, he at length became king in Damascus, threw off the yoke, and was “the adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon.” He was succeeded by Hadad, whose successors took the official title of Ben-hadad from him, the illustrious founder of the powerful kingdom of Damascene-Syria. These hostile neighbors, who had been long kept in check by the traditional fame of David’s victories, took courage; and breaking out towards the latter end of Solomon’s reign, they must have not only disturbed his kingdom by their inroads, but greatly crippled his revenue by stopping his lucrative traffic with Tadmor and the Euphrates.

In the meantime, with these enemies developing everywhere, Israel became so self-involved to the point that the kingdom split into. Israel was more concerning with what was going on inside the kingdom than what was happening outside the kingdom. There was an old song by Don Henley called “All She Wants to Do Is Dance”. It was an indictment of the American desire for its own opulence and entertainment while not caring about what is going on around us in the world. That was where Israel was at, at this point in her development. It is where America is now.

It is where we can get in our walk with the Lord. We can become complacent and think we have arrived. We can think we no longer have to grow and that’s when we are susceptible to the siren’s song of Satan. We can think we know it all and start to become our own gods. It happened to Solomon. It can happen to each of us. We must remember that our success comes from God and not because of us. We must remember to cling to God in the good times as well as the bad. Why is it that we tend to stray from God the most when we have success? Help us Lord to remember that you are the source for us in good times and in the bad. Especially help us to remember that in the good times.

Amen and Amen. en we have

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