Today we take in a few of the conflicts, victories, and reforms of some of Judah’s kings. Let us remember that what was recorded in the Old Testament narratives was “written for our instruction” (Rom.15:4; 1Cor.10:11), so that we would learn from the successes and failures. May we, with the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit, learn to avoid sin and pursue righteousness because of what we read today.
— Pastor Mike
2 Chronicles 13-16
Abijah Reigns in Judah
13:1 In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah began to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah  the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.
Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3 Abijah went out to battle, having an army of valiant men of war, 400,000 chosen men. And Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with 800,000 chosen mighty warriors. 4 Then Abijah stood up on Mount Zemaraim that is in the hill country of Ephraim and said, “Hear me, O Jeroboam and all Israel! 5 Ought you not to 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 the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord, 7 and certain worthless scoundrels gathered about him and defied Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute  and could not withstand them.
8 “And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made you for gods. 9 Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes for ordination  with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are no gods. 10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are sons of Aaron, and Levites for their service. 11 They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and incense of sweet spices, set out the showbread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand that its lamps may burn every evening. For we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken him. 12 Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed.”
13 Jeroboam had sent an ambush around to come upon them from behind. Thus his troops  were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. 14 And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front of and behind them. And they cried to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15 Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 The men of Israel fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hand. 17 Abijah and his people struck them with great force, so there fell slain of Israel 500,000 chosen men. 18 Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers. 19 And Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took cities from him, Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and Ephron  with its villages. 20 Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down, and he died. 21 But Abijah grew mighty. And he took fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 The rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.
Asa Reigns in Judah
14:1  Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land had rest for ten years. 2  And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim 4 and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. 5 He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. 6 He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace. 7 And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lordour God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. 8 And Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin that carried shields and drew bows. All these were mighty men of valor.
9 Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” 12 So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive, for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah  carried away very much spoil. 14 And they attacked all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was upon them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them. 15 And they struck down the tents of those who had livestock and carried away sheep in abundance and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
Asa’s Religious Reforms
15:1 The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, 2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, 4 but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 5 In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. 7 But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”
8 As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord.  9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10 They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11 They sacrificed to the Lordon that day from the spoil that they had brought 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep. 12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, 13 but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. 14 They swore an oath to the Lord with a loud voice and with shouting and with trumpets and with horns. 15 And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.
16 Even Maacah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron. 17 But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true all his days. 18 And he brought into the house of God the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels. 19 And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.
Asa’s Last Years
16:1 In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and built Ramah, that he might permit no one to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 2 Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king’s house and sent them to Ben-hadad king of Syria, who lived in Damascus, saying, 3 “There is a covenant  between me and you, as there was between my father and your father. Behold, I am sending to you silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with Baasha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me.” 4 And Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali. 5 And when Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah and let his work cease. 6 Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them he built Geba and Mizpah.
7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. 8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time.
11 The acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians. 13 And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 They buried him in the tomb that he had cut for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier that had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer’s art, and they made a very great fire in his honor.
I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life
14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;  believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”  5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.  From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me  anything in my name, I will do it.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,  to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
 13:2 Spelled Maacah in 1 Kings 15:2
 13:7 Hebrew soft of heart
 13:9 Hebrew to fill his hand
 13:13 Hebrew they
 13:19 Or Ephrain
 14:1 Ch 13:23 in Hebrew
 14:2 Ch 14:1 in Hebrew
 14:13 Hebrew they
 15:8 Hebrew the vestibule of the Lord
 16:3 Or treaty; twice in this verse
 14:1 Or You believe in God
 14:2 Or In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you
 14:4 Some manuscripts Where I am going you know, and the way you know
 14:7 Or If you know me, you will know my Father also, or If you have known me, you will know my Father also
 14:14 Some manuscripts omit me
 14:16 Or Advocate, or Counselor; also 14:26; 15:26; 16:7