Abijah Succeeds Rehoboam
13 In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah became king over Judah. 2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.
Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3 Abijah began the battle with an army of valiant warriors, 400,000 chosen men, while Jeroboam drew up in battle formation against him with 800,000 chosen men who were valiant warriors.
4 Then Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, “Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel: 5 Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David [a]and his sons by a covenant of salt? 6 Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up and rebelled against his [b]master, 7 and worthless men gathered about him, scoundrels, who proved too strong for Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, when [c]he was young and timid and could not hold his own against them.
8 “So now you intend to resist the kingdom of the Lord [d]through the sons of David, [e]being a great multitude and having with you the golden calves which Jeroboam made for gods for you. 9 Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron and the Levites, and made for yourselves priests like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams, even he may become a priest of what are no gods. 10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken Him; and the sons of Aaron are ministering to the Lord as priests, and the Levites [f]attend to their work. 11 Every morning and evening they [g]burn to the Lord burnt offerings and fragrant incense, and the showbread is set on the clean table, and the golden lampstand with its lamps is ready to light every evening; for we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken Him. 12 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.”
Abijah seems to be a little forgetful, but maybe he wasn’t born when God told his father not to fight against their brothers. Either way, Rehoboam didn’t listen to that for long, and waged many battles against the other tribes of Israel. So it shouldn’t shock us that Abijah started picking fights not long after he became king (he was only king for 3 years).
He does take a little different approach though. Abijah first tries to appeal to any remaining sense of fearing God that they might have left. He tells the opposing army that God is on their side since they still follow the law, and Jeroboam has led them into false worship of idols.
We don’t yet know how this will turn out, and though it feels a little impetuous and/or arrogant, at least Abijah seems to be putting his trust in God to win the battle when he has 2:1 odds against him. And so should we, but with care to avoid any arrogance, and pursuing the will of God before we do anything so rash.
For God alone is our strength and shield. He is our defender when all seems to be set against us. As we follow his ways, and seek his will, God will be sure to guide us in the way that we should go. And in that we can draw confidence, not of ourselves, but in our faithful God.