Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

25 July 2010

Do not fight against the Lord

First there was King David - and God promised to David that his kingdom would reign forever.  David was followed by his son Solomon.  Then came Solomon's son Rehoboam, whose very early actions resulted in the splitting of Israel into two kingdoms - Judah and Israel (all of the tribes of Israel other than Judah...and David came from the tribe of Judah.)  Rehoboam's reign had mixed success - at times he humbled himself before the LORD and at other times he worshipped other gods.  Notably though, his reign was marked by constant warfare with Jereboam, the king of Israel.

After Rehoboam's death his son Abijah became king and he picked up the mantle of being at war with Jereboam.  So there stands Abijah, new king of Judah.  He has an army of 400 000 fighting men.  That's quite a lot, except that Jereboam has an army of 800 000 able troops.  What is Abijah to do?  He stood on Mount Zemaraim and made this magnificent speech, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 13:4-12.

Jeroboam and all Israel, listen to me!  Don't you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?  Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, an official of Solomon son of David, rebelled against his master. Some worthless scoundrels gathered around him and opposed Rehoboam son of Solomon when he was young and indecisive and not strong enough to resist them.

And now you plan to resist the kingdom of the LORD, which is in the hands of David's descendants. You are indeed a vast army and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. But didn't you drive out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make priests of your own as the peoples of other lands do? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may become a priest of what are not gods.

As for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests who serve the LORD are sons of Aaron, and the Levites assist them. Every morning and evening they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the LORD. They set out the bread on the ceremonially clean table and light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. We are observing the requirements of the LORD our God. But you have forsaken him. God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you.  Men of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you will not succeed.

Men of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you will not succeed.  And succeed they did not.

Abijah and his men inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were five hundred thousand casualties among Israel's able men.  The men of Israel were subdued on that occasion, and the men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers.  (2 Chronicles 13:17,18)

I am humbled by Abijah's faith and complete confidence in God and by God's power and might to see His will done.

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