"FIGHTING AGAINST GOD."
Intro. Abijah is the grandson of Solomon, the great grandson of David, and he is now king over the southern kingdom of Judah. Almost immediately Jeroboam the king of Israel declares war against him. As they come against one another to battle, Abijah stands on the top of the mountain and addresses the men from the Northern kingdom. He tells them that they have forsaken Jehovah and have come against Him with a great multitude and the golden calves which they worship as their god, they had expelled the sons of Levi, the true priests, and have ordained just anybody who wanted to be their priests. Whereas, the Southern kingdom had remained true to Jehovah, and had the sons of Levi as their priests according to the law.
I. THE TRUE BATTLE IS BETWEEN YOUR CALF GODS AND JEHOVAH, AND JEHOVAH IS WITH US.
A. WHAT ASSURANCE AND CONFIDENCE IT GIVES TO US TO KNOW THAT THE LORD IS WITH US.
1. In Psalm 118:6
, David said, "The Lord is on my side, I will fear; what can man do unto me?"
2. Paul said, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
3. When the children of Israel had come to the border of the promised land and Moses had sent the 12 spies to spy out the land, the ten spies brought back a scary report that struck fear in the hearts of the people. They spoke of the walled cities, the gigantic size of the people and the Israelites began to wilt. They said we cannot take the land, they will destroy us. Joshua and Caleb brought back a report that was far different, they sought to encourage the people saying:
Do not fear the people of the land; for they [are] bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD [is] with us: fear them not.
4. How come the great difference in the two reports?
a. The ten spies saw the problems in the light of their abilities.
b. The two saw the problem in the light of the Lord's abilities.
c. If you look at your problems in the light of your ability you will become fainthearted.
d. If you learn to look at them in the light of the Lord's ability, they will dissolve.
5. Towards the end of this book when Hezekiah was king and the Assyrians had come against Jerusalem with their great army that was conquering the world, Hezekiah said to the people who were fearful:
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or dismayed of the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that are with him: for there are more with us than are with him:
With him [is] an arm of flesh; but with us [is] the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
6. In the very next chapter of the book when Asa has ascended to the throne and the land is being invaded by a million man army from Ethiopia, with hundreds of chariots, Asa prayed to the Lord and said:
LORD, it is nothing for you to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on You, and in Your name we are going against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; don't let no man prevail against You.
B. The first thing that Abijah acknowledges is that the Lord is with us, for we have remained true to Him.
1. Again in a couple of chapters when his son Asa is King in his stead, the prophet said to king Asa after his great victory over the Ethiopians:
Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD [is] with you, as long as you are with Him, and if you seek Him, you will find Him, but if you forsake him, He will forsake you.
a. Before trying to face any obstacle in life, make sure that the Lord is with you.
b. When Moses said the Lord, You have asked me to bring these people up, however You haven't let me know who You will send with me. The Lord responded:
My presence shall go [with you], and I will give you rest.
And Moses said unto Him, If Your presence does not go with me, I am not leaving here.
c. Make sure that you never go any place where you cannot take the Lord with you.
d. If you think that the Lord might be uncomfortable with the the company you are keeping, find new company.
e. If the Lord would be uncomfortable in the places you frequent then frequent other places.
II. ABIJAH IS DECLARING, "GOD IS THE CAPTAIN OF OUR HOSTS."
A. We are under His command.
B. When Joshua had brought the people over Jordan and they were camped near Jericho the first city to be conquered in the new land we read:
Now it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he looked up and he saw a man standing with a drawn sword. Joshua went to him, and asked, Are you for us, or for our enemies?
And he said, No; I have come as the captain of the Lord's host. And Joshua fell on his face to the ground, and worshipped, and Joshua said: What does my lord say unto his servant?
C. I think that Joshua was greatly relieved to be free from the responsibility of leading these people and was very happy to submit to the new captain of the Lord.
D. Are you still the captain of your fate, and master of your soul, or have you submitted to Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life.
III. ABIJAH THEN SAID TO THEM: O CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, DO NOT FIGHT AGAINST JEHOVAH THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS; FOR YOU SHALL NOT PROSPER.
A. I am amazed at the folly of men who fight against God.
B. The Prophet Isaiah said: "Woe unto him who strives with his Maker."
C. I have thought how foolish it is to fight against God.
1. God loves you, so to fight against God is to fight against the One who has a loving interest in your life.
2. God's ways are far superior to your ways, so to fight against God is to fight against your own good.
D. In fighting against God, you put yourself in a no-win situation.
1. How could you ever hope to prevail against God?
2. God is calling you to the good life.
3. God is calling you to walk with Him.
4. God is calling you to repentance that you might have the forgiveness of your sins.
5. You may fight against Him, He allows you to do that, however if you win, and you resist His invitation to come and receive His love and forgiveness, then you have really lost forever.
E. As Abijah said, "You shall not prosper."
IV. A POSTSCRIPT TO OUR TEXT.
A. As Abijah was trying to talk some sense to these people, they had secretly sent half of the troops to circle around behind the army of Abijah and to come against them from the rear, so that Abijah and his men found themselves in a trap. The enemy was in front of them and the enemy was behind them, and they outnumbered them two to one.
B. But we read:
Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.
And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand. Note:
1. God smote Jeroboam.
2. God delivered them into the hand of Judah.
3. They tried to fight against God and they lost. So the fate of every man who seeks to fight against God. You are a loser.
V. TWO IMPORTANT LESSONS THE STORY TEACHES US.
A. Knowing that God is with you, you can face any difficulty or circumstance in life with great confidence. "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
B. It is sheer stupidity to try to fight against God, for in the end you will be the loser.