Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 13; 2 Chronicles 14

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Our chronological study of the Scriptures brings us to 2 Chronicles 13 and 14. This parallels our earlier study in 1 Kings 15 but with some added detail and insight into the LORD’s dealings with Judah and Israel. There was a succession of kings from David’s bloodline in Judah, and two kings are the subject of this devotional: Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, and Asa, the son of Abijah and, therefore, the great-grandson of Solomon.

 

2 Chronicles 13 – The Brief Reign of Abijah

 

Abijah reigned for no more than three years over Judah, but his rule marked a resurgence of the two tribes in the South (Benjamin and Judah). Jeroboam, the king of Israel, heard that Rehoboam was dead and mobilized an army of 800,000 soldiers to wage war against Judah and the nation’s new king (2 Chronicles 13:2). The men of Jeroboam’s army were described as “chosen men, being mighty men of valour” (2 Chronicles 13:3).

 

Abijah, Judah’s new king, mustered “an army of valiant men of war,” however, they were comprised of only “four hundred thousand chosen men” (2 Chronicles 13:3). Thus, Abijah faced an adversary whose number was twice that of his own. Nevertheless, Abijah was undeterred. Before the battle commenced, Abijah “stood up upon Mount Zemaraim, which is in Mount Ephraim” (2 Chronicles 13:4) and called to Jeroboam and the men of Israel. He accused Israel of having failed to honor the LORD’s covenant with David and his lineage (2 Chronicles 13:5). Abijah did not shy away from stating the insurrection led by Jeroboam was an act of rebellion (2 Chronicles 13:6).

Abijah “stood up upon Mount Zemaraim, which is in Mount Ephraim” (2 Chronicles 13:4) and called to Jeroboam and the men of Israel.

Abijah then reproached the men that followed Jeroboam as “vain men, the children of Belial,” meaning they were worthless, evil men (2 Chronicles 13:7). He charged Jeroboam with taking advantage of Rehoboam, his father when he was a young, inexperienced king (2 Chronicles 13:7). He charged Israel with worshipping and consulting with “golden calves, which Jeroboam made…for gods” (2 Chronicles 13:8). He reproached Jeroboam for having “cast out the priests of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 13:9), and chosen priests like the heathen that worship “them that are no gods [golden calves]” (2 Chronicles 13:9).

 

With faith and courage, Abijah admonished Israel and affirmed that the LORD was on his side. He declared Judah had not forsaken the LORD, and the priests continued to “minister unto the LORD” and offer sacrifices as the law demanded (2 Chronicles 13:10-11). With his voice resonating across the valley, Abijah proclaimed, “Behold, God himself is with us for our captain…fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper” (2 Chronicles 13:12).

 

As Abijah was speaking, Jeroboam prepared an ambush of Judah’s army and encircled them (2 Chronicles 13:13). When they realized they were trapped, Judah cried out to the LORD, “and the priests sounded with the trumpets” (2 Chronicles 13:14). With a shout, Judah’s soldiers charged Jeroboam and his army, and the men of Israel fled the battlefield, leaving 500,000 of the original 800,000 men slain (2 Chronicles 13:15-17). Abijah and Judah had won the battle “because they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 13:18).

 

Jeroboam was defeated, and with his strength failing, “the Lord struck him, and he died” (2 Chronicles 13:20). Though his reign was brief, Abijah, the king of Judah, went to his grave a mighty man with wives, sons, and daughters (2 Chronicles 13:21; 2 Chronicles 14:1).

A Spiritual Revival and the Reign of Asa

2 Chronicles 14 – A Spiritual Revival and the Reign of Asa

 

After Jeroboam was defeated and Abijah died, Judah enjoyed peace for ten years when Asa ascended the throne of Judah (2 Chronicles 14:1). Asa, the son of Abijah, had the testimony of a man who loved the LORD, and he “did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 14:2). He strengthened the defenses of Judah’s cities. He began purging idolatry and wickedness out of the land (2 Chronicles 14:3-6). Asa commanded the nation to “seek the LORD God…and do the law and the commandment” (2 Chronicles 14:4), and Judah enjoyed peace and prosperity (2 Chronicles 14:5-7).

 

Asa’s army grew to 580,000 men (2 Chronicles 14:8). The men of Judah were known for their shields and spears, while the men of Benjamin were skillful with arrows and bows. They were all “mighty men of valour” (2 Chronicles 14:8).

 

When an army of Ethiopia invaded Judah, Asa led his soldiers to the battle and “cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help…help us, O Lord our God…let not man prevail against thee” (2 Chronicles 14:11). With the LORD on their side, Asa and Judah prevailed, and pursued the Ethiopians “unto Gerar” (a city of the Philistines). Judah then took spoils of their cities (most likely, the Philistines had joined Ethiopia in waging war against King Asa’s army, 2 Chronicles 14:12-15).

 

Closing thoughts –

 

It has been said, “To the victor go the spoils,” but King Asa would have been swift to give credit and honor, not to himself or his army, but to the LORD. We read, “The Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the Lord, and before his host…for the fear of the LORD came upon them” (2 Chronicles 14:13-14).

 

Think about how different our world would be if the unsaved looked at today’s church and saw men and women of conviction in our midst. Instead, I fear the world looks at most believers and sees weak, fickle, easily intimidated men and women. The LORD wants His people to be men and women of faith and courage.

 

Believer, when you face danger or hear the threats of an enemy, call upon the LORD and shout, “O LORD our God, let not man prevail against thee” (2 Chronicles 14:11).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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