The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Solomon Seduction. It will be released by HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson on April 8.
Happy Days was one of the most popular television shows of the 1970s and early ’80s. Richie, Potsie, Ralph Malph, and Fonzie played out their shenanigans in front of an appreciative audience for eleven full seasons. During the premiere episode of the fifth season, there was a strange scene that showed a leather-jacketed Fonzie on water skis, jumping over a hungry shark. Critics and fans alike agree that the scene was so bad, so unfathomably awful, that it represents the show’s worst moment. To this day, when people talk about something “jumping the shark,” they’re talking about that moment when everyone realizes rock-bottom has been hit.
When did Solomon jump the shark?
In my opinion, it was the day his construction team broke ground on the first pagan shrine. At that point, it was obvious to everyone–most of all God–that repentance was the furthest thing from Solomon’s mind. Without question, it was going to take an intervention, some sort of life-shaking development to turn him around. And so God, with a sigh of sadness, did what he never wants to do but sometimes has to do. He drew a bull’s-eye on Solomon’s chest: “Then the Lord raised up Hadad the Edomite, a member of Edom’s royal family to be Solomon’s adversary ” (1 Kings 11:14).
And then nine verses later: “God also raised up Rezon son of Eliada as Solomon’s adversary ” (v. 23).
And then another three verses later: “Another rebel leader was Jeroboam son of Nebat, one of Solomon’s own officials ” (v. 26).
Suddenly, Solomon, the brilliant politician whose years of wheeling and dealing had resulted in more peace treaties than Hank Aaron has home runs, was finding the going considerably tougher. Adversaries were rising up from both inside and outside his administration, and they were rising up by the hand of God.
Interestingly, while the most common English translations use the word adversary to describe these enemies, the original language allows for the word satan. Literally, God was raising up satans to oppose the man to whom he once said, ” What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” (1 Kings 3:5)
The reality here is stunning.
God has gone from letting Solomon take his pick from a vast smorgasbord of blessings to sending a trio of satans to make his life miserable. But it’s not God who has changed; it’s Solomon. From day one, God made it clear that his blessing depended on Solomon’s faithfulness (1 Kings 3:12-14). When Solomon abandoned obedience and started doing things his own way, all bets were off.
Do you seem to have a lot of adversaries? Have you been begging God to help you defeat them and wondering why he hasn’t answered that prayer? If so, maybe it’s time for you to consider the possibility that God is the one who put them there.
You’re fooling yourself if you think God won’t respond when you thumb your nose at him.