Quick recap… King Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, decided to tax the people even more than his father had… more than they could pay, and the people rebelled. The man appointed to lead the rebellion was Jeroboam, one of their own. The result of the rebellion was a divided people; Jeroboam was king of the 10 northern tribes and Rehoboam was king of the southern tribe of Judah (and Benjamin, doing as Judah told them to do).
Jeroboam fought with Rehoboam, hoping to unite the people again. Then, when Rehoboam died, Jeroboam fought with his son, Abijah.
Abijah/Abijam was the 4th king of David’s lineage – Rehoboam, Solomon, David – and was the second king of Judah.
See 1Kings 15:1-8.
I. His Wickedness (v.1-5) Abijah committed the same sins his father, Rehoboam, had committed.
II. His Warfare (v.6-8) During Abijah’s reign, there was constant war between Israel & Judah. For example…
See 2Chronicles 13:1-22; 14:1.
I. The Fighter (13:1-20)
Abijah became involved in a war with Jeroboam, king of Israel. Before this battle, Abijah tried to unite the 2 kingdoms so God’s people might be whole again. But, the N.Kingdom wanted no part of it.
– The Sides (v.1-3)
Abijah’s army was outnumbered 800,000 to 400,000 (2 to 1).
800,000 troops. Do you know how many countries in the world today have this many troops (or more)? Only China, India, N.Korea, Russia, and the United Staates! To compare, Canada has about 68,000 active military personnel. Abijah was able to pull together 400,000. That’s a bunch… but it’s not 800,000.
– The Speech (v.4-12)
Before the battle, Abijah gave a “fire-’em-up” speech.
* He Condemned Jeroboam (v.4-9) Abijah recounted how Jeroboam led the northern tribes to rebel against the house of David.
* He Cautioned Jeroboam’s Troops (v.10-12)
Abijah reminded Jeroboam that his people had not abandoned the Lord, and warned the northern tribes that fighting against Judah was actually fighting against God.
– The Surprise (v.13)
During Abijah’s speech, Jeroboam’s army secretly surrounded Abijah’s army… and ambush. It was a “pincer movement”.
Abijah’s army was outnumbered 2 to 1. Jeroboam seemed to be in the stronger tactical position. Yet, Abijah acted on what he knew of God rather than what he’d learned from his father.
– The Shout (v.14) Judah’s soldiers cried out to the Lord for help.
– The Stop (v.15-20)
God answered and enabled the forces of Judah to completely rout the forces of Israel.
That victory on the battlefield didn’t represent who Abijah was in his heart. It wasn’t about what he said in his fiery speech, but what was said about him in 1Ki.15:3.
One moment in the spotlight doesn’t make anyone a star. It might in the eyes of most people, but not God. God looks for people who are living consistently… day in and day out. Long-term faithfulness is what counts.
3 truths we can learn from Abijah’s situation for when we face an overwhelming problem:
1) Remember You Need God… you’re not alone, and He’s waiting for you to depend on Him!
2) Realize Your Battle Is Spiritual… not physical!
3) Rely on the Power of God to Show Up… He will!
II. The Father (13:21,22) Abijah married 14 wives; fathering 22 sons and 16 daughters.
III. The Finality (14:1) Abijah died.
Abijah was spared the worst of the consequences for his sins… being removed from the throne… because God was still honoring the covenant He’d made with David 3 generations before.
How often are people spared today because of God’s faithfulness to one of His own? A child because of his/her father… a pilot because of his/her passenger… a nation because of the church… etc.
You can read Abijah’s story in 1Kings 15:1-8; 2Chronicles 13:1-22; 14:1.