An About-Face Tragedy

King # 1- And he said, “… listen to me! Don’t you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt? … And now you plan to resist the kingdom of the LORD, which is in the hands of David’s descendants. You are indeed a vast army and have with you the golden calves that you made to be your gods. … As for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. … We are observing the requirements of the LORD our God. But you have forsaken him. God is with us; He is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. … do not fight against the LORD, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed.” 2 Chr 13:4–12

King # 2- “He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God” 1 Kgs. 15:3-5

If you had to choose one, which would you want for your King? Easy selection, huh. Not so fast. Before you choose, let me give you a little more information.

King #1 not only led an army of 400,000 against an army of 800,000, but even when he was caught in an ambush, he still led his army to victory. How did he do that? “God routed” his enemies and they “fled before” him and “God delivered them into their hands.” His troops “inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were 500,000 casualties.” “They were victorious because they relied on the LORD, the God of their ancestors.” 2 Chron 13:13-20

Remember that King # 2 “committed all the sins his father had done”? His father led the people into doing “evil in the eyes of the Lord. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than those who were before them had done. They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.” 1 Kgs 14:22-24

Now choose; select a King to live under. You’re probably saying, “But I don’t want to live under any King because I’m an American. OK, but if you had to choose one, it would be #1, huh? Again, not so fast. Why? King #1 and King #2 are the same King.

But how could his star shine so bright for God one day and yet fall away from God for the rest of his life? How could he be smothered with God’s blessing for his faithfulness one day and then trade Jehovah for a pile of idols? How could he “rely on the LORD” one day and then use male prostitutes to worship the LORD down the road?

Answer? The reason he could do such an about-face is he was human; flipflopping is one of the things that humans do best.

So if it is true that the things in the OT “were not written for his sake alone, but for our also” and “written for our instruction” and recorded as “examples for us, that we might not desire evil” and that we would “not be idolaters” and “not indulge in sexual immorality” and not “grumble”, then what are we to learn from Abijah, son of King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son?

Rom 4:22-24; 15:4; 1 Cor 9:8-10; 10:1-11

Faithfulness is a DAILY matter. Luke 9:23 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Abijah didn’t follow the LORD “daily”. Our eternal confidence rests on reporting to Jesus “daily” for duty. And Jesus won’t take up our cross daily for us; we have to do that.

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