2 Chronicles 13:2 Now there was war between Abijah (ruler of the southern kingdom of Judah) and Jeroboam (ruler of the northern kingdom of Israel). 3 Abijah engaged in battle, having an army of valiant warriors, four hundred thousand picked men; and Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with eight hundred thousand picked mighty warriors. 4 Then Abijah stood on the slope of Mount Zemaraim that 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 kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? 6 Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord; 7 and certain worthless scoundrels gathered around him and defied Rehoboam son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute and could not withstand them.
After King Solomon died the united kingdom of Israel was divided in two. Scripture can be confusing because sometimes “Israel” refers to all of God’s people in both kingdoms. But other times “Israel” refers to the northern kingdom alone. In this case it refers only to the northern kingdom where Jeroboam ruled.
We’re told in v.3 that Abijah was outnumbered two-to-one, but he was clearly not afraid of Jeroboam. Why? Because God had promised to preserve the throne for the descendants of David. As David’s grandson Abijah was heir to that promise. Jeroboam was not. Abijah warned that fighting against him was essentially fighting against God, but Jeroboam ignored the warning. He had a huge numerical advantage! At day’s end Jeroboam had lost 500,000 men. In one day! To put that in perspective, the deadliest day in US military history was at the battle of Antietam during the Civil War in which 3,600 soldiers died in a one day. No comparison.
Jeroboam allowed himself to be impressed with the power of his military force rather than with the power of Almighty God.
This is a common theme in scripture: with God all things are possible. There are times in life when the odds seem impossible, the challenges overwhelming, the prospect of success nil. This morning I’m asking myself where I’m too focused on what is seen instead of focused on God who is unseen. How am I making the same mistake as Jeroboam?
Lord give us grace to fix our gaze on you. Amen.