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God is our captain: how an outnumbered army claimed victory

Abijah, the son of evil king Rehoboam of Judah, turned out to be godly despite growing up in the shadow of his evil father. His name even reflects the boldness he had in the Lord since “Abijah” means “Jehovah is my father.” One day, king Abijah had to face the northern kingdom of Israel in battle (2 Chronicles 13). The army of Judah was outnumbered 2:1 by Israel’s army, led by Jeroboam.

shofarHowever, Abijah did not focus on the statistics. He placed all his confidence in the Lord because he not only knew Jehovah personally, he also knew God’s order of things and stood boldly on them. When the battle was ready to kickoff, Abijah went to the top of a mountain and preached loudly why he was standing against Jeroboam and Israel’s army. It was his personal proclamation of how Judah was taking a stand on behalf of the Lord. Abijah had no timidity in pointing out how Israel rebelled against the Lord’s order of things by their rejecting God-anointed leadership, both in government and religious settings, and how they embraced idolatry. He even called them “children of Belial” for rejecting God.

Abijah also preached that he and Judah would remain faithful to “keep the charge of the LORD our God” (2 Chronicles 13:11). To end his pre-battle sermon, Abijah stated, “God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper.” Abijah basically told them that if they fought against God, they were guaranteed to lose, regardless of their numbers.

In response, Jeroboam set up an ambush, thinking they would annihilate Judah. But Judah saw the ambush, and in response gave a mighty shout to the Lord most high, and soundly defeated the pagan army of Israel by God’s power and even took some of their territory as the spoils of war–a defeat from which Jeroboam never recovered (2 Chronicles 13:19-20).

We as Christians can learn a lot from Abijah. There are people who love to divide Christendom with their attempts to bring subtle, yet damnable, heresies within our midst. It pays off when we are “not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is,” (Ephesians 5:17). Like Abijah, it is in our best interest when we glorify God by pointing out how and why those who resist sound doctrine are off the mark and how and why we are standing by the principles Jehovah sets forth in his word.

Yes, at times our enemies will try to ambush us like Jeroboam and outnumber us, but when we glorify God with our praises and use the discernment and truth-based courage the Holy Ghost gives us, we will find that the enemies of the cross who may masquerade as Christians will be defeated in their unjust causes. God is our captain who often requires us to take action to withstand the enemy. Our meekness should not be mistaken for weakness. When the integrity of the gospel is at stake in the Christian world or even in our interactions with the world, just sitting back, doing nothing, and saying nothing while the enemy prepares an ambush, is not going to help the cause of Christ or his church.


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