Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 13
In one of the most famous, best known Bible stories of all time, a young shepherd boy went out alone to face-off against a warrior giant. David’s battle cry stands as some of the most awe-inspiring, thrilling words in the whole Bible, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted” (1 Samuel 17:45)
Those words and the resulting victory against the Philistine giant, Goliath, were a pinnacle for the future king. What many people don’t realize is the valley a few chapters later when David looked much more like the slain Philistine than the future covenant king. In chapter 21, David was on the run from Saul and he encountered a man named Doeg the Edomite. Doeg was a relative nobody, a chief shepherd. David fearfully asked for a weapon and was given the sword of Goliath. Now, a new warrior was threatening a different shepherd. Not only that, but David then fled to Gath, Goliath’s hometown, while holding Goliath’s sword. This is a far cry from the proud words shouted in 1 Samuel 17.
For all his faults, David loved the Lord. His son Solomon’s worship was, what some call, half-hearted. Thus, as we have read, the kingdom was divided. Rehoboam’s folly led to a division in which Jeroboam established Israel as the Northern Kingdom. Rehoboam ruled in the south and as we pick up in 2 Chronicles 13, his successor Abijah has taken the throne.
2 Chronicles 13 reminds me of the David and Goliath story, because it is a pinnacle moment for the king. 1 Kings 15 grades Abijah’s 3-year reign with an “F,” “He walked in all the sins of his father which he had committed before him; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, like the heart of his father David” (1 Kings 15:3). This is somewhat surprising considering the mostly positive scene we read in 2 Chronicles 13.
In his pinnacle moment, Abijah had a mind to do the thing Rehoboam was forbidden to do in 2 Chronicles 11:4 when the Lord told Rehoboam, “You shall not go up or fight against your relatives….” Much of chapter 13 is a speech by Abijah, reminiscent of David’s words. Abijah affirmed the Lord’s rule and His sovereign establishment of Israel. Likewise, he points to Jeroboam’s rebellion and false religion. Finally, he affirms the true priesthood and right worship of Yahweh, concluding, “Now behold, God is with us at our head and His priests with the signal trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you will not succeed.”
As we learned from the Incredibles movie, monologuing can be quite dangerous. While Abijah jabbered on, Jeroboam set up an ambush, flanking the rear. Judah succeeded, but only through a divine bailout.
So, what can we learn from this story? There are many things, but I am reminded that a person’s highlight reel may not be consistent with one’s life. Sanctification is a process. Like the stock-market, it will have peaks and valleys; however, it should trend upward. Like Abijah, some of us have had great moments, moments where we proclaimed boldly, “God is with us.” Yet, that snapshot of our highlight reel doesn’t describe us today. Maybe right now, your heart can’t be described as wholly devoted to the Lord. If that’s you, the only question is, what would it take to change?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate
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