After all the wonders in Solomon’s reign – all the benefits and blessings inherited from his father David, his own greatness – we might say these went to his head. We read today “when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart …” (1 Kings 11:4).

A significant factor 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” (verse 9). His foreign wives had influenced him in his worship, so “the LORD raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite” (verse 14). There were others, “God also raised up as an adversary to him, Rezin, the son of Eliada” (verse 23). Our English translations disguise the fact that the word ‘adversary’ in Hebrew is ‘satan”.

The basic meaning of ‘satan’ is someone who opposes. The first occasions of the word in Scripture is in Numbers 22:22,32 to describe how the angel sent by God 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.

Jesus called Peter the same thing; “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Mark 8:33). Later, some Jewish synagogues were becoming so opposed to the growing Christian communities that they are described as “a synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9).

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 (verses 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” (Revelation 3:5).