1 Kings 15:1-24; 2 Chronicles 13-16
At this time in history, Judah has split off from Israel. Jeroboam and his followers in Israel no longer follow the Lord. The Levites left Israel and went over to Rehoboam’s side in Judah.
Rehoboam, although not perfect, fathered a son who led Judah for three years and who did have faith in the Lord. The chronicles tell of a large battle against Israel when Abijah (Rehoboam’s son) stood on a mountain in the face of a larger army and boldly proclaimed:
And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD, which is in the hand of the sons of David; and you are a great multitude, and with you are the gold calves which Jeroboam made for you as gods. 9 Have you not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made for yourselves priests, like the peoples of other lands, so that whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may be a priest of things that are not gods? 10 But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken Him; and the priests who minister to the LORDare the sons of Aaron, and the Levites attend to their duties..… for we keep the command of the LORD our God, but you have forsaken Him. 12 Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the LORD God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!”
Then Abijah and his army found themselves surrounded in an ambush. Rather than panic, he completely relied on the Lord:
and they cried out to the LORD, and the priests sounded the trumpets. 15 Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah…. Thus the children of Israel were subdued at that time; and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the LORD God of their fathers.
They were victorious because they relied on the Lord and on His Name. This example of reliance continued when Abijah’s son Asa took the throne and found himself facing off with a million soliders of Ethiopia:
9 Then Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and he came to Mareshah. 10 So Asa went out against him, and they set the troops in battle array in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”
12 So the LORD struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.
Notice how strong the Name of the Lord is for those who rely on Him?
The same holds true for us today, if we will only do the relying! Jesus told his disciples that if they would ask for anything IN HIS NAME, it would be done. Demons recognized his name and came running. There is real power in the name of Jesus if we will only seek and rely on Him!
Jesus told us that when we seek we will find. Asa was told the same message by a prophet years earlier:
“Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.
If only we would seek the Lord today the way Asa sought him so many years ago.
What does it mean to seek the Lord? It’s not as if the Lord is a tangible, material person who we can touch and see with our eyes. Ah, but He is present with us if we will only stop long enough to listen for the whisper. It means searching out the scriptures when we have a problem or when we have a praise. It means being ready to give thanks at all times. It means walking through each day with a teachable, open heart.
Ultimately, when we seek the Lord, we are subsequently putting our trust and reliance in Him…just like Abijah…just like Asa…just like Jesus.