June 24, 1 Kings 15; 2 Chronicles 13-16

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Judah’s King Abijam

15 In the eighteenth year of Israel’s King Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah, and he reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah daughter[a] of Abishalom.

Abijam walked in all the sins his father before him had committed, and he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God as his ancestor David had been. But for the sake of David, the Lord his God gave him a lamp[b] in Jerusalem by raising up his son after him and by preserving Jerusalem. For David did what was right in the Lord’s sight, and he did not turn aside from anything he had commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hethite.

There had been war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of Rehoboam’s life. The rest of the events of Abijam’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. There was also war between Abijam and Jeroboam. Abijam rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David. His son Asa became king in his place.

Judah’s King Asa

In the twentieth year of Israel’s King Jeroboam, Asa became king of Judah, 10 and he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His grandmother’s[c] name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom.

11 Asa did what was right in the Lord’s sight, as his ancestor David had done. 12 He banished the male cult prostitutes from the land and removed all of the idols that his ancestors had made. 13 He also removed his grandmother[d] Maacah from being queen mother because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. Asa chopped down her obscene image and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 The high places were not taken away, but Asa was wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his entire life. 15 He brought his father’s consecrated gifts and his own consecrated gifts into the Lord’s temple: silver, gold, and utensils.

16 There was war between Asa and King Baasha of Israel throughout their reigns. 17 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. 18 So Asa withdrew all the silver and gold that remained in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and the treasuries of the royal palace and gave it to his servants. Then King Asa sent them to Ben-hadad son of Tabrimmon son of Hezion king of Aram who lived in Damascus, saying, 19 “There is a treaty between me and you, between my father and your father. Look, I have sent you a gift of silver and gold. Go and break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will withdraw from me.”

20 Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel. He attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, all Chinnereth, and the whole land of Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard about it, he quit building Ramah and stayed in Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa gave a command to everyone without exception in Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and the timbers Baasha had built it with. Then King Asa built Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah with them.

23 The rest of all the events of Asa’s reign, along with all his might, all his accomplishments, and the cities he built, are written in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. But in his old age he developed a disease in his feet. 24 Then Asa rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his ancestor David. His son Jehoshaphat became king in his place.

Israel’s King Nadab

25 Nadab son of Jeroboam became king over Israel in the second year of Judah’s King Asa; he reigned over Israel two years. 26 Nadab did what was evil in the Lord’s sight and walked in the ways of his father and the sin he had caused Israel to commit.

27 Then Baasha son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar conspired against Nadab, and Baasha struck him down at Gibbethon of the Philistines while Nadab and all Israel were besieging Gibbethon. 28 In the third year of Judah’s King Asa, Baasha killed Nadab and reigned in his place.

29 When Baasha became king, he struck down the entire house of Jeroboam. He did not leave Jeroboam any survivors but[e] destroyed his family according to the word of the Lord he had spoken through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. 30 This was because Jeroboam had angered[f] the Lord God of Israel by the sins he had committed and had caused Israel to commit.

31 The rest of the events of Nadab’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written in the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings. 32 There was war between Asa and King Baasha of Israel throughout their reigns.

Israel’s King Baasha

33 In the third year of Judah’s King Asa, Baasha son of Ahijah became king over all Israel, and he reigned in Tirzah twenty-four years. 34 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight and walked in the ways of Jeroboam and the sin he had caused Israel to commit.

Judah’s King Abijah

13 In the eighteenth year of Israel’s King Jeroboam, Abijah[a] became king over Judah, and he reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah[b] 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.[c] 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.

10 “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. 11 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. 12 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.”

13 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. 14 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, 15 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. 16 So the Israelites fled before Judah, and God handed them over to them. 17 Then Abijah and his people struck them with a mighty blow, and five hundred thousand fit young men of Israel were killed. 18 The Israelites were subdued at that time. The Judahites succeeded because they depended on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam and captured some cities from him: Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron,[d] along with their surrounding villages. 20 Jeroboam no longer retained his power[e] during Abijah’s reign; ultimately, the Lord struck him and he died.

21 However, Abijah grew strong, acquired fourteen wives, and fathered twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 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.

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[f] 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[g] chariots. They came as far as Mareshah. 10 So Asa marched out against him and lined up in battle formation in Zephathah Valley at Mareshah.

11 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.”

12 So the Lord routed the Cushites before Asa and before Judah, and the Cushites fled. 13 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. 14 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. 15 They also attacked the tents of the herdsmen and captured many sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

Revival under Asa

15 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,[h] 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.

10 They were gathered in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. 11 At that time they sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from all the plunder they had brought. 12 Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their ancestors with all their heart and all their soul. 13 Whoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel would be put to death, young or old,[i] man or woman. 14 They took an oath to the Lord in a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets, and with rams’ horns. 15 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.

16 King Asa also removed Maacah, his grandmother,[j] 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. 17 The high places were not taken away from Israel; nevertheless, Asa was wholeheartedly devoted his entire life.[k] 18 He brought his father’s consecrated gifts and his own consecrated gifts into God’s temple: silver, gold, and utensils.

19 There was no war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.

Asa’s Treaty with Aram

16 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,[l] and all the storage cities[m] 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.” 10 Asa was enraged with the seer and put him in prison[n] because of his anger over this. And Asa mistreated some of the people at that time.

Asa’s Death

11 Note that the events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 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. 13 Asa rested with his ancestors; he died in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 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.

Read this verse again: Abijam walked in all the sins his father before him had committed, and he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God as his ancestor David had been. Wow. Why do you think Abijam walked in the sins his father before him had committed? Why do you think he was not wholeheartedly devoted to God? The answer is fairly obvious. His father had set the example. His father had shown him the path he should take and lived it out before him. Fathers, we have an obligation to not only tell our children about the goodness of God but also to walk with God before our children so they will have a good example to follow when they become adults.

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