This is Episode #134 and today we’ll read 2 Chronicles chapters 13-17 together. Finally! Some kings who stand firm for God! Well…for the most part.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #134 and today we’ll read 2 Chronicles chapters 13-17 together. Finally! Some kings who stand firm for God! Well…for the most part.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
2 Chronicles Chapter 13
Judah’s King Abijah
In the eighteenth year of Israel’s King Jeroboam, Abijah became king over Judah, and he reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah daughter of Uriel; she was from Gibeah.
There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah set his army of warriors in order with four hundred thousand fit young men. Jeroboam arranged his mighty army of eight hundred thousand fit young men in battle formation against him. Then Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, “Jeroboam and all Israel, hear me. Don’t you know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt? But Jeroboam son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord. Then worthless and wicked men gathered around him to resist Rehoboam son of Solomon when Rehoboam was young, inexperienced, and unable to assert himself against them.
“And now you are saying you can assert yourselves against the Lord’s kingdom, which is in the hand of one of David’s sons. You are a vast number and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made for you as gods. Didn’t you banish the priests of the Lord, the descendants of Aaron and the Levites, and make your own priests like the peoples of other lands do? Whoever comes to ordain himself with a young bull and seven rams may become a priest of what are not gods.
The Lord is Our God
“But as for us, the Lord is our God. We have not abandoned him; the priests ministering to the Lord are descendants of Aaron, and the Levites serve at their tasks. They offer a burnt offering and fragrant incense to the Lord every morning and every evening, and they set the rows of the Bread of the Presence on the ceremonially clean table. They light the lamps of the gold lampstand every evening. We are carrying out the requirements of the Lord our God, while you have abandoned him. Look, God and his priests are with us at our head. The trumpets are ready to sound the charge against you. Israelites, don’t fight against the Lord God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed.”
Now Jeroboam had sent an ambush around to advance from behind them. So they were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. Judah turned and discovered that the battle was in front of them and behind them, so they cried out to the Lord. Then the priests blew the trumpets, and the men of Judah raised the battle cry. When the men of Judah raised the battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. So the Israelites fled before Judah, and God handed them over to them.
Abijah Grew Strong
Then Abijah and his people struck them with a mighty blow, and five hundred thousand fit young men of Israel were killed. The Israelites were subdued at that time. The Judahites succeeded because they depended on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
Abijah pursued Jeroboam and captured some cities from him: Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, along with their surrounding villages. Jeroboam no longer retained his power during Abijah’s reign; ultimately, the Lord struck him and he died.
However, Abijah grew strong, acquired fourteen wives, and fathered twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. The rest of the events of Abijah’s reign, along with his ways and his sayings, are written in the Writing of the Prophet Iddo.
2 Chronicles Chapter 14
Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David. His son Asa became king in his place. During his reign the land experienced peace for ten years.
Judah’s King Asa
Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God. He removed the pagan altars and the high places. He shattered their sacred pillars and chopped down their Asherah poles. He told the people of Judah to seek the Lord God of their ancestors and to carry out the instruction and the commands. He also removed the high places and the shrines from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom experienced peace under him.
Because the land experienced peace, Asa built fortified cities in Judah. No one made war with him in those days because the Lord gave him rest. So he said to the people of Judah, “Let’s build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, with doors and bars. The land is still ours because we sought the Lord our God. We sought him and he gave us rest on every side.” So they built and succeeded.
The Cushite Invasion
Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah bearing large shields and spears, and two hundred eighty thousand from Benjamin bearing regular shields and drawing the bow. All these were valiant warriors. Then Zerah the Cushite came against them with an army of one million men and three hundred chariots. They came as far as Mareshah. So Asa marched out against him and lined up in battle formation in Zephathah Valley at Mareshah.
Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, “Lord, there is no one besides you to help the mighty and those without strength. Help us, Lord our God, for we depend on you, and in your name we have come against this large army. Lord, you are our God. Do not let a mere mortal hinder you.”
So the Lord routed the Cushites before Asa and before Judah, and the Cushites fled. Then Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar. The Cushites fell until they had no survivors, for they were crushed before the Lord and his army. So the people of Judah carried off a great supply of loot. Then they attacked all the cities around Gerar because the terror of the Lord was on them. They also plundered all the cities, since there was a great deal of plunder in them. They also attacked the tents of the herdsmen and captured many sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles Chapter 15
Revival Under Asa
The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. So he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Asa and all Judah and Benjamin, hear me. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For many years Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without instruction, but when they turned to the Lord God of Israel in their distress and sought him, he was found by them. In those times there was no peace for those who went about their daily activities because the residents of the lands had many conflicts. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every possible distress.
But as for you, be strong; don’t give up, for your work has a reward.”
When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage and removed the abhorrent idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He renovated the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord’s temple. Then he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, as well as those from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing among them, for they had defected to him from Israel in great numbers when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.
Rest on Every Side
They were gathered in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign.
At that time they sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from all the plunder they had brought. Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their ancestors with all their heart and all their soul. Whoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel would be put to death, young or old, man or woman. They took an oath to the Lord in a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets, and with rams’ horns. All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They had sought him with all sincerity, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.
King Asa also removed Maacah, his grandmother, from being queen mother because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. Asa chopped down her obscene image, then crushed it and burned it in the Kidron Valley. The high places were not taken away from Israel; nevertheless, Asa was wholeheartedly devoted his entire life. He brought his father’s consecrated gifts and his own consecrated gifts into God’s temple: silver, gold, and utensils.
There was no war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.
2 Chronicles Chapter 16
Asa’s Treaty with Aram
In the thirty-sixth year of Asa, Israel’s King Baasha went to war against Judah. He built Ramah in order to keep anyone from leaving or coming to King Asa of Judah. So Asa brought out the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and the royal palace and sent it to Aram’s King Ben-hadad, who lived in Damascus, saying, “There’s a treaty between me and you, between my father and your father. Look, I have sent you silver and gold. Go break your treaty with Israel’s King Baasha so that he will withdraw from me.”
Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies to the cities of Israel. They attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali. When Baasha heard about it, he quit building Ramah and stopped his work. Then King Asa brought all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and the timbers Baasha had built it with. Then he built Geba and Mizpah with them.
Hanani’s Rebuke of Asa
At that time, the seer Hanani came to King Asa of Judah and said to him, “Because you depended on the king of Aram and have not depended on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from you. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a vast army with many chariots and horsemen? When you depended on the Lord, he handed them over to you. For the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth to show himself strong for those who are wholeheartedly devoted to him. You have been foolish in this matter. Therefore, you will have wars from now on.” Asa was enraged with the seer and put him in prison because of his anger over this. And Asa mistreated some of the people at that time.
Note that the events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a disease in his feet, and his disease became increasingly severe. Yet even in his disease he didn’t seek the Lord but only the physicians. Asa rested with his ancestors; he died in the forty-first year of his reign. He was buried in his own tomb that he had made for himself in the city of David. They laid him out in a coffin that was full of spices and various mixtures of prepared ointments; then they made a great fire in his honor.
2 Chronicles Chapter 17
Judah’s King Jehoshaphat
His son Jehoshaphat became king in his place and strengthened himself against Israel. He stationed troops in every fortified city of Judah and set garrisons in the land of Judah and in the cities of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured.
Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the former ways of his ancestor David. He did not seek the Baals but sought the God of his father and walked by his commands, not according to the practices of Israel. So the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. Then all Judah brought him tribute, and he had riches and honor in abundance. He took great pride in the Lord’s ways, and he again removed the high places and Asherah poles from Judah.
Jehoshaphat’s Educational Plan
In the third year of his reign, Jehoshaphat sent his officials — Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah — to teach in the cities of Judah. The Levites with them were Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah; the priests, Elishama and Jehoram, were with these Levites. They taught throughout Judah, having the book of the Lord’s instruction with them. They went throughout the towns of Judah and taught the people.
The terror of the Lord was on all the kingdoms of the lands that surrounded Judah, so they didn’t fight against Jehoshaphat. Some of the Philistines also brought gifts and silver as tribute to Jehoshaphat, and the Arabs brought him flocks: 7,700 rams and 7,700 male goats.
Jehoshaphat’s Military Might
Jehoshaphat grew stronger and stronger. He built fortresses and storage cities in Judah and carried out great works in the towns of Judah. He had fighting men, valiant warriors, in Jerusalem. These are their numbers according to their ancestral families. For Judah, the commanders of thousands:
Adnah the commander and three hundred thousand valiant warriors with him;
next to him, Jehohanan the commander and two hundred eighty thousand with him;
next to him, Amasiah son of Zichri, the volunteer of the Lord, and two hundred thousand valiant warriors with him;
from Benjamin, Eliada, a valiant warrior, and two hundred thousand with him armed with bow and shield;
next to him, Jehozabad and one hundred eighty thousand with him equipped for war.
These were the ones who served the king, besides those he stationed in the fortified cities throughout all Judah.
I absolutely loved Abijah’s speech to the northern tribes of Israel. He just flat got it said and everyone knew he was right. The Israelites must have been ashamed to be confronted about worshipping two golden calves that they knew Jeroboam had cast himself. Ridiculous. And what about Asa? Did he lose his mind or something? Talk about an abrupt about-face. I don’t know…maybe, like Solomon, he just started to believe his own press. Too bad. He spent most of his life following his God faithfully and then, he just quit. I guess we just won’t know what happened until we get to heaven. However, we can learn from it. I’d really like to know what your impression of these kings is at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will by changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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