2 Chronicles 13:5-8 (KJV)
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?
Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord.
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.
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.
2 Chronicles 13:16-18 (KJV)
And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand.
And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.
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.
Interestingly, Rehoboam was told not to fight Israel but his son Abijah could and did, with God’s help. I can only speculate a possible difference; Abijah could take up this battle for the sake of the Lord while Rehoboam would surely have fought out of personal revenge. Jeroboam did not make this battle easy and, if had not been for God’s intervention, it would have gone badly. As it turned out, this was a route for Judah. Jeroboam never recovered.
I am reminded of a more recent battle in the Middle East when our first President Bush took on Iraq. The United States and her allies absolutely routed Iraq’s elite Republican Guard but stopped short of conquering the country or capturing Saddam Hussein. It fell later to the second President Bush to retake the country. Hussein was finally captured and then hung. The second time cost more in money and lives and has not yet had a completely successful outcome.
I wonder why Abijah stopped short of reclaiming Israel for God? The passage does not say. He was not reproved for it but his country certainly has suffered because of it. In the end, many more of his brothers from the northern kingdom might have been spared if he had finished the work he set out to do.
One may wonder why men make the choices they do all day long. In the end we, who are believers, see that God uses all things for good.
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2 Chronicles 13:5-8 God Uses All For Good
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