1 Kings 15:1-24, 2 Chronicles 13-16: Numbers Don’t Mean Anything

This is not a post about church growth, though I’m sure that it can be applied in that way. This post is about war and what men put their trust in. 2 Chronicles 13 and 14 recount two different battles that the kings of Judah fought against their enemies. The first battle was fought by king Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, he went up to battle against Jeroboam, the king of Israel. He had 400,000 men. Jeroboam had 800,000, double the size. All of these men were said to be mighty men of valor. The second battle was fought between Asa, Abijah’s son, and an Ethiopian army of a million men. Asa had 580,000, again, almost half the opposing force.

Each battle went to Judah, and in the second place, we learn that they did not leave one Ethiopian alive. A million dead in one giant battle. I don’t think the world has seen anything like this, before or since.

They key to these victories was not numbers or overwhelming strength. Each army was filled with incredibly capable warriors and Judah was outnumbered nearly 2 to 1 in both battles. The key is revealed in the pronouncement given by Abijah, king of Judah, and it holds true for his son, Asa, as well. In 2 Chronicles 13 we read these words:

10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are sons of Aaron, and Levites for their service. 11 They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and incense of sweet spices, set out the showbread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand that its lamps may burn every evening. For we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken him. 12 Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed.”

If we do not forsake the Lord, He will not forsake us. And that call to Jeroboam and the people of Israel that ends the challenge is one that we should not soon forget. If we choose to fight against the Lord, we will fail, but if we choose to fight for Him, or more specifically, if we trust that God is the one who wins battles, we will “overwhelmingly conquer” as Paul puts in Romans 8.

We are in a war, make not mistake of that. this war is not fought with swords or guns or missiles, it is fought with faith against the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places, and no amount of enemy attacks can stand against the strength of the Lord. If God is on our side, Who can stand against us?

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