2 Chronicles 10–12 – Rehoboam
2 Chronicles 13:1–14:1 – Abijah
2 Chronicles 14:2–16:14 – Asa
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One Reply to “Three Kings: Rehoboam, Abijah and Asa”
Rehoboam succeeded Solomon as king…not that must have been a difficult thing to do! Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest king ever, but we don’t live on earth forever. At some point we know we will go, our time is limited. How do we prepare the next generation? Rehoboam’s first challenge comes from Jeroboam, one who fled from Solomon and hid until he died. Jeroboam’s story is told in 1 Kings 11:26-40, in short, a prophet told Jeroboam about the pending division of Israel into the Northern and Southern kingdoms and he was to be king over the 10 tribes of the north. Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he fled to Egypt to hide, it seems likely that Rehoboam would be aware of these events. Jeroboam now returns to confront Rehoboam, specifically to lighten the load placed on the people, so Rehoboam wisely consults the elders. Good choice, “but Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.” (2 Chronicles 10:8).
Thus the division of Israel begins and the confusing language of Israel and Judah as well. Israel refers to the ten tribes of the north and Judah to the two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) of the south. Jeroboam was up to no good, he “and his sons had rejected [the Levitical priests] as priests of the Lord when he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made” (11:14-15). The Levites were drawn to Rehoboam, for he was seeking the one true God.
Rehoboam “acted wisely” (11:23)–a significant observation–followed by the very next verse (though time had lapsed), “he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord” (12:1). It seems Rehoboam was on a roller-coaster ride as king of Israel (the southern kingdom). His unfaithfulness led to invasion from Egypt’s king Shishak who took all the treasures of the temple and ruled over Rehoboam. Another high point, “because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah” (12:12).
Abijah, the crown prince of Rehoboam, becomes king when Rehoboam dies. After three years of rule, there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah calls out Jeroboam in front of all Israel. “We are observing the requirements of the Lord our God. But you have forsaken him” (13:11). The civil war is now in full view of all. Abijah’s faithfulness at this point is rewarded and God delivers them while inflicting heavy casualties on Jeroboam’s forces. “Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down and he died” (13:20).
Asa succeeds Abijah as king and “did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” (14:2). When Zerah the Cushite marched against him, Asa called out to the Lord,
Azariah, son of Oded, was told by the Spirit of God to speak to Asa, to assure him God was with him “if you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you” (15:2). Further, the prophet said these encouraging words, “but as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (15:7).
For 35 years, Asa ruled in peace, then year 36 where Baasha, king of Israel came up against Asa. Asa takes matters into his own hands and through political prowess, he subdues Baasha through a treaty with Ben-Hadad. This did not please the Lord, so another prophet enters briefly (Hanani): “because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand” (16:7). “You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war” (16:9).
Asa had lost touch with his faith in the Lord. This is an extremely sad story, one that we really must hear. For decades Asa did well, but he slipped away from his focus. When he had some foot disease in his 39th year (or just before the perfect number 40), he “did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians” (16:12). Ultimately he died with no fanfare.
Lord, you are the God of all, the one true Lord of heaven and earth. May we never lose sight of this truth and always seek you first. Lord I pray our story won’t end like Asa’s. Regardless of where we are on our journey, lead us Lord and we will do your work. All glory, laud and honor be yours this day Lord!