Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 13:1-22. Let’s go!
2 Chronicles 13:18 (NIV) 18 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.
On verses 1-22: King Abijah takes over from his father Rehoboam as king of Judah and goes to war against King Jeroboam of Israel. Despite being grossly outnumbered (compare Abijah’s 400,000 soldiers to Jeroboam’s 800,000 troops) and despite Jeroboam’s attempt to ambush Abijah’s army, Abijah’s army gains a decisive victory over Jeroboam’s army. The reason the Chronicler gives for Abijah’s victory is because he and his troops “relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers” (v18).
Here the Chronicler focuses on how Abijah relied on the Lord. He even includes a speech from Abijah about how faithful he and his people of Judah are compared to Jeroboam and Israel. In contrast, when 1 Kings 15 gives its account of Abijah’s reign as king of Judah, its treatment of Abijah is negative. The writer of 1 Kings says that Abijah “committed all the sins his father had done before him”, that “his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God”, and that it was for the sake of his father David that God allowed Abijah to have any strength at all (1 Kings 15:4).
So which one is it? Did Abijah rely on the Lord, or was he unfaithful to God? The answer: probably both. Like Abijah, we can all probably point to instances where we trusted God and saw him bring about a great victory. But we can all also point to instances where we did not trust God and were not fully devoted to Him. That’s why we need a Saviour, Jesus. Jesus is the only one who was completely faithful to God.
What can we learn from this? God sees and honours those times when we rely on Him, allowing us to experience great victories when we do.But God also sees all the times when we are unfaithful to Him. Praise God that He makes forgiveness available to us for all the ways we have not been fully committed to Him – all through the blood of Jesus.
Heavenly Father, You are the God who sees all of me. You see those times when I trust in You and rely on You and the victories that result. You also see all the many ways that I fail You and fall short of Your glory. Thank You for loving so much that You sent Your Son Jesus, whose shed blood covers all my sins and failing, and whose life shows me on how to rely on You and experience victory. Thank You for how You cover my sins and celebrate my victories. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!