Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

The Strength of the Lord (2 Chronicles 13)


Rev. Christopher Chelpka

It's people. First, in this twopart brook chronicles one and chronicles too, we heard of soul and David, than his son Solomon, then Raya Boem, his son, who continued the Kingdom of Solomon and Judah, and Jerobalm, who sinfully King, established his own kingdom in Israel. Rayabalm died and had a son who we hear of now, Abijah, and we consider God's word about Abijah's reign and God's reign over him and through him in second chronicles thirteen. So this is God's word. Let's give our attention to it. In the Eighteenth Year of King Jerobom came to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Makaiah, the daughter of Uriel of GIBEA. Now there was war between Abijah and JEROBOM. Abijah went out to battle having an army of valiant men of war, four hundred thousand chosen men, and Jerobom drew up his line of battle against him with eight hundred thousand chosen mighty warriors. Then Abis just stood up on the mount as Zemmerre Zmr Rien, that is in the hill country of Ephraim and said hear me, Oh, Jerobalm and Israel. Ought you not to know that the Lord, God of Israel, gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons. Jerobald, son of Niebot, a servant of PALOM and the son of David, rose and rebelled against his Lord, and certain worthless scoundrels gathered around him and defied Reeobalm, the son of Solomon, when Yobalm was young, and Israel irres irresolute, and could not withstand them. And now you think to withstand the Kingdom of the Lord in the hands of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and you have with you the golden calves that Jeribalm made you. For God's have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves? Like the peoples of other lands, whoever comes for ordination with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are no gods. But as for us, the Lord is our God and we have not forsaken him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are sons of Aaron, and Levites for their service. They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening, burnt offers and incense of sweet, sweet spices, set out the showbread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lambstand that that it's lamps may burn every evening, for we keep the charge of the Lord, our God, but you have forsaken him. Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you, Oh sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of Your father's for you cannot succeed. JEREBOAM 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. And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front, it was in front of and behind them, and they cried out to the Lord and the priests blew the trumpets. Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout, and when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jereboam and all Israel. Before...

Abijah and Judah, the men of Israel fled before Judah and God gave them into their hand Aubjah and his people struck them with great force. So there fell slain in it of Israel five hundred thousand shows and men. Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time and the men of Judah prevailed, because the relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers. And ABIJAH pursued jerebalm and took cities from him, Bethel with its villages, and Jeshana with its villages and fron with its villages. JEREBOAM did not recover his power in the days of Abijah, and the Lord struck him down and he died. But ABIJAH grew mighty and he took fourteen wives and had twenty two sons and sixteen daughters. The rest of the acts of Abija, his ways and his sayings are written in the story of the Prophet Edo. Since the reading of God's word, may He bless it to us, so is the chronicler takes us through these various kings. We come now to the Kingdom of Abijah. As I said, Abijah is the son of Raya Balm, the son of Psalomon, the son of David. He continues the Line of Faithful Kings, or least kings who are supposed to be faithful under Solomon Jereboam, his uncle, is the one who rebelled, rebelled against the Lord, who established his own kingdom, and and Abijah points this out. He tells them, he warns him not to fight him. Do not fight me, do not fight your brothers here in the southern tribe of Judah, because you will not succeed. God is not with you, he tells him, and he explains why. Jared Jeroboam has rejected the Lord. He has made his own gods, he's established his own priests, he no longer does as the Lord has called Israel to do. And we will consider more about Abijah. But really, throughout this story, obvious though he is the primary human character here, he really has, excuse me, playing second to to God. You remember that God has set up the kingdom in such a way that he is the Lord, he is the King, and all the kings who rule under him do so is sort of vassal kings or under kings. Yes, they rule over their people, but they do so only carrying out the authority of the Lord. This story is not about Abijah's great strength, it is about the strength of the Lord. This is Abijah's own point when he says to Jereboam, you shall not succeed. Pay attention to this point. You cannot win, despite the fact that he was much stronger, humanly speaking, in several ways. Days this crought the Chronicler here tells us this story because he wants us to understand who the Lord is and he wants us to understand and and follow Abijah's example and what it means to rely on the Lord. So let me show you what I mean when I say that this is the Lord's battle. Of course, Abijah was the one who fought it. We read in verse seventeen that Abijah and his people struck them with great force. So ABIJAH had a part in it. The each and every soldier had a part to play out, a sword to wheel, had a battle to fight, and...

...they did and it. We read that they struck them with great force and many of their enemies, sadly their others, were slain. But ultimately, though, Abijou and his people had to fight and fight hard. This was the Lord's battle. Look at Verse Fifteen. We read that when the men of Judas shouted, God defeated Jerobalm or Verse Sixteen, when we read that the men of Israel fled before Judah, it was because God gave them into their hand. We also read in verse eighteen that all this happened because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers. The men of Israel were subdued at that time and the men of Judah prevailed because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers. Over and over and over again, where the point is emphasized that yes, Abbys, young is men won this victory, but it was because the Lord did the work. And that point is not only stated multiple times, it's evidence in the victory itself. Only God could have won this victory. It was a spiritual victory. First of all, remember the abby or that Jereboam was fighting with false gods. He had JEREB obvious says to Jerebom, you think you're going to win because you brought out these golden calves that you have made. You think that these gods will save you. They will not. They are false gods. There are false gods in this world. People will try to point you to them, they will try to get you to depend on them, but they are unreliable. There is only one true God, as abbies that points out, and as we cease from his success. It's true he prevails over these false gods and over these false priests, these self adorned ordained priests. I feel like there's sarcasm in Aubija's voice when he talks about the priests who come and are ordained just for bringing whatever they bring. And it's in verse eleven. Whoever comes for ordination with a young bull and seven rams becomes a priest. Doesn't matter who you are, doesn't matter what your family history is, doesn't matter that you follow the Commands of the Lord, that you belong to, Aaron or whoever. Just as long as you bring the payment, you can become a priest in Jeroboam's kingdom. The victory, then, that God wins, is very much a spiritual victory over these supposed strengths that Jerebom has, but he doesn't. But even more obviously, is this physical and military victory. There's some question about what these numbers exactly represent. They are very large numbers in terms of numbers of men, and there's some question about what they mean and how we're to count them. But no matter what they are. We the ratios are what's really important here. Jarrobom brings an army that is at least twice as strong, at least in terms of manpower. Jerebalm, we read in verse are verse three, had eight hundred chosen mighty warriors and Abijah brings four hundred thousand showsen men. Sort of interesting to me the way that they puts it there. Four hundred thousand chosen men, eight hundred thousand chosen mighty warriors. It's start of an emphasis on the strength of of JEROBOAM. Not only twice as many men but also a very skilled mighty warriors. It's not just in manpower that that Jerobalum is strong, but there's a strategy...

...which seems certain to succeed. He sets men before him, the smaller army, and then he sends another group around behind him. They are inclosed, they're being cut off, they're being squashed. I'm known military strategist, but the point seems to be in the text that Abbijo was doomed. He has he's outnumbered, he's been out strategized and these people are a committed and yet by the end of the story obvious just stands victorious and and Judah's are. I'm sorry, JEROBOAM's army has not only been cut down, it's been cut down to a size even smaller than what Abisha began with. The point is very simple. This is a victory that only God could have won. Abby's just says this. It's the point of the text, is the way that the history reads and it's what God wants us to understand as we read this. We're not here to look at Aubij and say wow, those preacher blew those trumpets. Well, guess they did something Speck tacular to win this battle. Now it's all about what the Lord has done. God's love for Avisha, because of David's promise, would be part of this great foundation of his victory. Now this teaches us a lot of wonderful lessons the strength of the Lord and it. But before we get to there, we have to point out that this victory is only anticipating the greater victory that God would have in an even greater king and in a greater son of David. I'm of course, speaking of Jesus, the son of David, the son of God, who came into the world in weakness. He came to fight the powers of evil, to destroy the evil one and his servants, to win victory over sin death. I'm in these kinds of things to heal that was was broken, to come for sinners and despised people. But he did this not in the strength of a Jeroboam but in the weakness of an Avisha. He was out gunned, he was outnumbered, he was he was eventually killed, murdered, crucified on a cross. Jesus, when he came into the world, was in many ways much, much weaker than Abbish, at least humanly speaking. Physically speaking, he had a band of twelve disciples, one of whom was a traitor to him, the others of whom fled when Jesus was captured, even denied him. He was left all alone in the world. Even his own family many times were rejecting him. But nevertheless, as Davidson and as Godson, he brought about this great victory for the Kingdom of God. Through this divine human king, God, the same Lord and and Covenant Keeper that we read about in second chronicles, established another king, a son of David, a son of Solomon, to rise up victorious over evil, over idolatry over false gods. No one thought victory was possible. Even his own disciples, who, he said I will rise in three days after they kill me, didn't believe it. They were scared and didn't know what would happen. But that victory, the victory even over our own sins, victory over death so that we might live forever, was made possible because of God.

The father's will, the son's obedience, the spirits power, all of this came to us in Jesus Christ. It was a victory over the forces of evil, over the forces of this world. And though there are some aspects of it that were very glorious, like the resurrection, the ascension, the pouring out of the spirit, in many ways this victory of Jesus is hidden. When abbies slaid all of these men, it was obvious blood all over the battlefield, people who had died. Work that had to be had to be made. There were cities that were taken over, new laws that were implemented, and on and on and on. But in many ways, the Kingdom of God, as it comes through Jesus, though, it's much more powerful that the victory is much greater. In many ways it is hidden. We are told that we who have died to sin and and live to righteousness in Jesus. We don't see that old body. There's no Christopher that you can point to, sort of dead on the ground. It's a spiritual thing. The resurrection hasn't happened yet. One day these things will be made obvious. It will be obvious to all the world, but for now these things in many ways remain hidden. Take, for example, the cities that Abijah took back for the Kingdom of God. Jesus has done the same thing. Over all the world. There are believers in his name, but they live in cities as pilgrims and as resident aliens. And sometimes they don't live in the cities at all. They live in hidden places, they live in jails and prisons and camps, kept away from their loved ones. In many ways, the Kingdom of God, even as Jesus came in weakness, remains in weakness, at least outwardly speaking, and that's why this history of God's kingdom, in these early expressions of it in chronicles, is so helpful to us, because it assures us that the things that in many ways are hidden and veiled, the Glorious Victory that Christ is obtained that is hard to see sometimes. Is Really there it? When we read of abbys's victory, it brings us assurance that God has, does and will reign, even if we don't always see it, even if we don't always find it in the ways that we expect. In other words, if God could reign victorious through even a sinful man like Abbiesia, certainly he could do it, and all the more through the perfect and divine man and son of God, Jesus of Nazareth. These two historical victories of Abiesia and of Jesus, one local, the second global, leave each of us a choice, as long as the day of judgments has not yet come, and it has not. We have a choice. These events, this declaration of God's power and victory through his kings, call us to choose sides to act accordingly. Either we side with Jereboam and his man made Gods and his pride and his self appointed priests and is made up religion and is mighty army and is strength and boasts, we side with what is seemingly strong and seemingly going to win, or we sighe with Abbieshot and his king, the only the the only true God maker of the world.

The one side leads to certain death, though seemingly strong. The other side leads to certain victory, though seemingly weak. God's victory here on this battlefield, and is the greater victory on the cross, calls us to make a choice. Do not choose what only appears strong. That's the message of this text. Don't choose the thing that appears strong, that seems strong. Choose the one who is strong. God has made his covenants, he's established his promises, he's made commitments to certain things and to certain people. Know what those are. Follow in those steps, belong in that way in all your life. Don't choose what only seems to be strong, that which is powerful or wealthy or famous, but choose the one who is strong. Choose the God of David, the father of Jesus, the ruler of Israel, the King of the world. What does that look like? And all in with this, what is that? When with this question? What does it look like to choose that and to rely on Yah, way, to rely on the God of Israel? Let abbyse just show you what that looks like. As he stands on this mountain and calls out to Jerebaum and warns him and implores him. He shows us what it means to rely on the Lord. In Verse Five, we see that it starts with God's covenants and commitments. In verse five he says, ought you not to know that the Lord, God of Israel, gave the kingship over it is over, is over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of Salt. He speaks of this covenant and he says to them this is the foundation of things. I stand here on this mountain not because I'm so great. Clearly I'm half your size. I stand here because of what God has done. Relying on the Lord, in other word, starts with an understanding of God's Covenance, of God's commitments. Second, it stands with and in God's kingdom, even when it's hidden. So this is Abbi'Shas correct perspective. In Verse Eight, and now you think to withstand the Kingdom of the Lord in the hands of the sons of David, because you have a great multitude and you have with you the golden calves the Geribo made you for God's you see, Abby just perspective. He stands on the Covenant Commitments of God and in that he stands and understands himself to be within God's kingdom. We are the same who belong to Jesus. God has made his covenant promises to David, has fulfilled them. In Christ he has made covenant commitments. The father has made covenant commitments with the Son and the spirit, and he stands on those. Jesus brought about a kingdom to which we belong and, even though it's hidden and veiled in many ways, he's with we want to rely in the Lord, we have to understand ourselves to be a part of that. We belong to the Kingdom of God. We are citizens of Heaven, though we are here on earth because of God's covenants. We stand in God's kingdom. The third thing obviously does is he discerns, on the basis of these things, what is...

...true and what is false. He's not deceived by the priests, he's not deceived by the idols. Reliance on the Lord depends on the same. We must know him, we must know our God who keeps us and protects us, and be able to distinguish him from a man made calf. Sounds easy, enough. But how many of us have fallen for that? How many of us have gone after a gods of gold and silver, gods of our own making, and if rejected the God who stands strong and who is a victorious in all his battles? Fourth, obviisiaz is obedient. And spiritual matters, he and the priests kept the charge. In other words, these things aren't just head knowledge for him. He doesn't just know about God's covenant with his father, and is his grandfather there, great grandfather. Now he doesn't just think of him self as belonging to God's kingdom. He doesn't just discern truth from error, but he also is obedient. He acts in this way, first in spiritual matters, the priests doing their duties, a continuing on worshiping the Lord, and then finally, in other matters as well. And that's number five. Forward Five. They're kind of the same thing. We Act, we act based on faith. We don't just hear these things, but we move. And he moves, he stands up, he gets on that mouth and he defies the armies of Jerebom and he says you are done, for you don't stand a chance. Takes a lot of courage when your half is strong and you're about to be ambushed from behind. But he has that courage not because he's just really gutsy guy, but because he knows y'all wear, he knows his God and he knows that God keeps his promises, and so he acts. He acts in his words, he acts in the blowing of the trumpets as they cry out to the Lord, and he acts again when they go into battle and start swinging. We do the same thing. We don't have a political kingdom we are trying to defend, but when it comes to the Kingdom of God, we do swing our swords, swords of the spirit. We preach the word, we communicate grace, we call people to repentance and forgiveness. We trust that as God's word goes out, it will accomplish the things it goes out to do. It will put to death that which is in sinful in Ess but not just in judgment. It'll bring to life that which is righteous and good in Jesus. I'll leave it to you to think about various areas of your life where you need to think more in accord with who God is in his strength. I'll leave it to you to think about the ways in which you are overly worried or fearful about wealth or power or notoriety, depending on those things instead of depending on the Lord, knowing that the worst thing that can happen you, happen to you is you could die and then rise again from the dead, and the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ and his resurrection. Our Lord is victorious, our King is mighty in battle. Trust in him in all your ways. He will be faithful to you. Let's pray.

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