Summary: Here are three truths we can learn from Abijah`s experience when we face overwhelming difficulty or when life seems hopeless
When Life Seems Hopeless
Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, decided to tax the people more than ever and the people rebelled. The rebellion was led by a man named Jeroboam who wasn’t faithful to the Lord. The result of the rebellion was a split Israel. Jeroboam was king of the northern 10 tribes and Rehoboam was king of the southern part with only two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. When Rehoboam dies his son Abijah takes the throne.
Jeroboam sees an opportunity to consolidate Israel into one nation. He more than likely considers that as a new king Abijah would not have the experience to lead an army or the ability to make alliances with other countries to help defend his kingdom. Jeroboam takes his army of 800,000 to Abijah’s border. Only China, India, N. Korea, Russia and the U.S. have more troops today than this. In comparison, currently Canada employs about 68,000 active military personnel.
Abijah is able to muster up 400,000. Which is still a lot of guys, but, not 800,000. That is a 2 to 1 margin and almost sure defeat. Abijah, decides that maybe fighting isn’t the best way to go, so he tries diplomacy. He tries talking to the enemy. One common sense fact of diplomacy is that it only works for the one who has the stronger hand. Ronald Reagan once said the key to diplomacy was to “speak softly, but, carry a big stick.” So Abijah’s meager attempts to talk Jeroboam out of a fight is futile. As Abijah is talking, Jeroboam decides to send half his troops on a flanking maneuver so that Abijah has no way to escape. His army is being surrounded as he talks. When Abijah is made aware of this, things get interesting.
2 Chronicles 13:14-17 When Judah realized that they were being attacked from the front and the rear, they cried out to the Lord for help. Then the priests blew the trumpets, 15 and the men of Judah began to shout. At the sound of their battle cry, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel and routed them before Abijah and the army of Judah. The Israelite army fled from Judah, and God handed them over to Judah in defeat. 17 Abijah and his army inflicted heavy losses on them; 500,000 of Israel’s select troops were killed that day.
The countries of US and Canada combined lost about 463,000 troops during WW2. God routed Abijah’s enemy in a few hours even in the face of certain defeat.
Here are three truths we can learn from Abijah`s experience when we face overwhelming difficulty or when life seems hopeless
1. Realize your dependence on the Lord, and be confident you are not alone.
2 Chronicles 13:10 - But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him.
One of the first things many are tempted to do in the face of a very difficult situation or tragedy is to blame God. Sometimes people even turn their backs on God and walk away from their faith because they can’t bring themselves to think that God would “do” this to them. Or “allow” it to happen to them. Consider these Scriptures written by individuals who were suffering from intense persecution. Most of the New Testament was written by individuals who were being tormented, made fun of, murdered, and sent to prison.
1 Timothy 4:16 - Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
James 1:2-3 - Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
James 1:12 - God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
2. Realize your battles are Spiritual not physical. The body is only temporary, but, your soul is eternal.
2 Chronicles 13:12 - So you see, God is with us. He is our leader. His priests blow their trumpets and lead us into battle against you. O people of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed!”
Death is God`s enemy. God didn`t create us to die. When Adam and Eve sinned they introduced death into the world. Death is the result of disobeying God. But God also made us with a soul, an eternal thing that lives in every human person. This eternal thing belongs to God because He made it, but, we have the choice to give our soul to His enemy if we decide we would rather live with death than with life. God gives us the choice to live with Him if we desire Him, or we can choose to ignore Him, His Son and His Word. The reward for choosing Him, His Son and His Word is eternal life with Him in heaven, but, the punishment for ignoring Him is hell. The key to our eternal life is and always has been obedience.