Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Battle is the Lords

June 25: 1 Kings 15:1-24 & 2 Chronicles 13-16

Abijah


Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3 Abijah went out to battle, having an army of valiant men of war, 400,000 chosen men. And Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with 800,000 chosen mighty warriors.

12 Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed.”

13 Jeroboam had sent an ambush around to come upon them from behind. Thus his troops were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. 14 And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front of and behind them. And they cried to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15 Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 The men of Israel fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hand.
2 Chronicles 13:2b-3 & 12-16

Asa

8 And Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin that carried shields and drew bows. All these were mighty men of valor.

9 Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” 12 So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.
2 Chronicles 14:8-12

The Battle is the Lords

Our reading today covers the reign of two kings of Judah, Abijah and Asa. What kind of kings were they? Here is what the Bible tells us about Abijah in 1 Kings 15:3.

And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father.

Asa, however, was a king who sought the Lord for most of his days.

And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as David his father had done.
1 Kings 15:11

Though these two kings were opposite in many ways, they both trusted in God when armies much larger than theirs came upon them. Even though Asa did not follow the Lord with his whole heart, He sought God's help when Jeroboam, king of the Israelites, came to fight against them. When the Ethiopians, with an army of over a million men and 300 chariots, came to fight against Asa, Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.”

Sadly, at the end of a long reign in which Asa served God and brought great religious reforms to the land, he forgot the lessons that God had taught him earlier. When Baasha, King of Israel, came to war against him, Asa turned to the Syrians for help rather than the Lord. God sent Hanani, the seer, with these words.

“Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. 8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”
2 Chronicles 16:7b-9

How do the lives of these two kings affect us?

We all face battles! They may come in the form of illnesses, family problems, marriage problems, money, problems in our employment, and even problems in the church. This same God who came to the aid of Abijah and Asa when they cried out to Him for help, will also come to our aid today.

The Battle is the Lords. Pray that every aspect of your life, including the thoughts and intents of your heart, would be totally given over to Christ.

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.
2 Chronicles 16:9

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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