The Israelites were subdued on that occasion, and the people of Judah were victorious because they relied on the Lord , the God of their ancestors. – 2Chr. 13:18 NIV
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Although, Rehoboam was stopped by Jehovah, from going to war with Jeroboam, in an attempt to stop the rebellion against him, it still did not ensure peace between the two kingdoms. If anything, it was only the beginning of many battles between both kingdoms, one that was immediately inherited by Abijah, who succeeded his father, Rehoboam as king of the Southern kingdom of Israel. – 2Chr. 12:15-13:2. A war had broken out between both kingdoms and Abijah raised a four hundred thousand man army against an army, double that number, raised by Jeroboam, on behalf of the Northern kingdom. Abijah, in an attempt to prevent going into the battle, stood on Mount Zemaraim and addressed Jehoboam and Israel, highlighting the following points;
- He reminded them of the act of rebellion of Jeroboam their king, who used to be an official in the palace of his master, king Solomon, son of David, letting them know that, what they were being led into was a continuation of that rebellious action of his, aimed at depriving the descendants of David of what was remaining of the kingdom – 2Chr. 13:4-8.
- More importantly, he reminded them that they do not have the support of the Almighty God in this their venture, as their leader had driven out the Priests of the Lord who are sons of Aaron and the Levites, and had appointed anyone who could afford a young bull and seven rams for consecration rites as priests, as their replacement – 2Chr. 11:13-15.
- He reminded them that;
- The people of Judah however still have Jehovah as their God and have not forsaken Him – 2Chr. 13:10a.
- That those who lead their daily worship activities on their behalf and in praise of the Lord, are the Priests, recognised and authorized by Jehovah, to play such roles, so they are more likely to have His support – 2Chr. 13:10b -11a; Num. 18:1-7.
- That they have also remained faithful in their worship of the Lord as they have not stopped observing all his requirements, which will further position them to receive His support. – 2Chr. 13:11b.
In the light of all these points, he advised the people of the Northern kingdom, not to go into battle with them, simply because they have a larger army, because, unlike them, he was sure that Jehovah was the one leading their battle and it is Priests, recognised by Him, that will sound the trumpets, inviting the host of heaven into their battle – 2Chr. 13:12. They will more likely receive His attention.
Jeroboam decided to ignore the entreaties of King Abijah and instead, got his army to take battle positions against the people of Judah. Realising this, Abijah and Judah cried out to the Lord with the Priests blowing the Trumpets and at the sound of this battle cry, Jehovah routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. The entire Israel fled before Judah as Abijah and his men, empowered by Jehovah, inflicted heavy losses on Israel with the death of five hundred thousand men – 2Chr. 13:13-18. The scripture for today’s Devotional attributed the victory of Abijah and Judah over Jeroboam and Israel to their total reliance on the Lord, the God of their fathers – 2Chr. 13:18.
Abijah, whose father had been a victim of unfaithfulness had learnt sufficient lesson on the need to remain faithful to the Lord (2Chr. 12:1-6), and was now a beneficiary of remaining faithful to Jehovah, and more significantly against a king and his people who have decided to be unfaithful to Jehovah.
Christians must know that being faithful to the Lord remains a major factor that will help them to victory over enemies, especially enemies who seem to be more powerful but lack the support of the Almighty God. Likewise, they should also learn from the fate that befell Jeroboam, who probably thought he became king by virtue of his skill and so chose to lead Israel into unfaithfulness and idolatry – 1Kgs. 12:25-33. This was probably his thinking as he equally chose to expel all the Priests of Jehovah and Levites, only to replace them with his own chosen Priests. One can only wonder which god he expected these set of Priests to represent, as it definitely could not have been Jehovah, who had identified the people that he wanted as Priest in His sanctuary.
Several human groups exist today, who truly are gathered in the name of the Lord, but have chosen Priests to lead their worship sessions, based on standards that they set, just like Jeroboam. It should be clear to such groups that they should not expect the Almighty God to fight on their side in times of difficulties. He only listens to pleas and accepts offerings, presented through His Priests. Jesus Christ indeed may have died and taken up the role of our High Priest, but that did not nullify the decision of Jehovah to have identified people who will serve Him in the role of Priests amongst His people – Heb. 5:1-6. If they really want the Lord of Hosts to direct His angels to lead their battles, then they must remain faithful to him by strictly observing is laws, and ensuring that all their pleas and offerings are properly presented before Him. That is the only time that they will be able to confront enemies that are stronger than them and still overcome. May God keep us faithful to Him so that we will be well positioned at all times to receive His support in all our battles in Jesus name. Amen.