May 25th 2 Chronicles, 13
13v1-22 Abijah rules Judah
1: Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah. 2: He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3: And Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men: Jeroboam also set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, being mighty men of valour. 4: And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which is in mount Ephraim, and said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel; 5: Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? 6: Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord. 7: And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them. 8: And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods. 9: Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods. 10: But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the LORD, are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business: 11: And they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him. 12: And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper. 13: But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment was behind them. 14: And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind: and they cried unto the LORD, and the priests sounded with the trumpets. 15: Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16: And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand. 17: And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men. 18: Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers. 19: And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with the towns thereof, and Jeshnah with the towns thereof, and Ephrain with the towns thereof. 20: Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah: and the LORD struck him, and he died. 21: But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters. 22: And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.
2 Chronicles, 14
14v1-15 Asa rules Judah
1: So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years. 2: And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: 3: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: 4: And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. 5: Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him. 6: And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest. 7: Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered. 8: And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour. 9: And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah. 10: Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11: And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. 12: So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled. 13: And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil. 14: And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them. 15: They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles, 15
15v1-19 Asa’s reforms in Judah
1: And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 2: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. 3: Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. 4: But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. 5: And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. 6: And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity. 7: Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. 8: And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD. 9: And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him. 10: So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11: And they offered unto the LORD the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. 12: And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; 13: That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. 14: And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets. 15: And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about. 16: And also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron. 17: But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days. 18: And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels. 19: And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.
Today we read of the life and reign of two kings Abijah and Asa. Both of them were kings of the southern kingdom Judah. Abijah only reigned for three years in Jerusalem and there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam the northern king of Israel. Abijah set his army deployed against him with 400,000 men of courage in battle. Jeroboam had twice as many men in his army 800,000 chosen men. Abijah stood to address his enemy saying don’t you know that the LORD gave the whole kingdom to David as an everlasting kingdom? But you have risen up against him. And now you want to come against David’s kingdom even though there are many of you. You come with your idols and false priesthood. But we stand here in the name of the LORD. God has not forsaken us and our Levitical priests continue to wait on the LORD every morning and evening. We serve the Lord in the Tabernacle but you have forsaken the Lord. And now look and see that God himself is with us. He is our captain and his priest sound the alarm against you. So do not fight against the LORD the God of your ancestors because you will not win the battle. Jeroboam cunning as ever had sent a secret army to attack them from behind so Judah realising they were attacked on both sides called on the LORD for deliverance and all the men of Judah shouted with a great shout and the LORD struck Jeroboam and all his army. Abijah killed the northern army with force and it was a great massacre. 500,000 of the men of Israel were killed. The men of Judah won the battle because they trusted in the LORD their God. Jeroboam was struck down by the LORD. Abijah became very strong in his kingdom he had 14 wives 22 sons and 16 daughters. His story is recorded in the book of the prophet Iddo. After the death of Abijah Asa reigned in his place. He had peace for ten years and he was a good king keeping the law of the Lord. He destroyed the false religion and smashed the idol groves. He commanded that Judah should seek the LORD God of their fathers and keep the Law of Moses. He had a great army but the Ethiopians came to war against him with more than a million men of arms. Asa went to meet him and deployed his army and he cried to the LORD to deliver him saying, it is nothing to you to deliver us even if we are few and weak. Help us O God because we rest on you and in your name we go. The LORD smote the Ethiopians and they ran away from battle. The LORD destroyed them. And the fear of the Lord came on the enemy and Judah took a great deal of spoils from them. They never tried to invade again. Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Azariah the prophet and he went to speak to Asa. Saying if you seek him he will be found of you but if you forsake him then he will forsake you. (How unlike the situation in which Christians are in Christ says to those who believe in him l will never leave you or forsake you) The prophet said for a long time the people have had no true God and no priest to teach them of the ways of the Lord. When they were in trouble they called on the Lord and he delivered them. They were times of trouble but now be strong and do not let your hands be weak because the Lord will reward you of all your work. Asa was encouraged and brought more reforms clearing out the nation of all its false cults. He also renewed the altar of the LORD and he gathered all the wandering people because they left the northern kingdom seeking the Lord when they heard that the Lord was with Judah. And they entered into a Solomon covenant to seek the Lord of their fathers with a whole heart and soul. And anyone that refused was executed. And they promised themselves to the LORD their God and they rejoiced greatly in the Lord. And the Lord was found of them and the Lord gave them peace. Asa demoted his own mother for having an idol and he destroyed her idol and burnt in. Asa was perfect before the Lord all his life but his reforms did not completely cover the whole land. There were still some groves that were left standing in high hills. Asa had peace for 35 years.