SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- We've seen that Israel has split into two kingdoms. After his father Rehoboam dies, Abijah takes over leadership of "Judah", the southern kingdom. Jeroboam is still king of the northern (and much larger) kingdom.
- War breaks out and Jeroboam's forces have double the number of troops (verses 2-3).
- The people of the northern kingdom, under Jeroboam's leadership, have completely forsaken God. They now worship fake, made-up gods, represented by idols made of gold and shaped in the image of calves (see verse 8). The people of the southern kingdom are far from person in following God, but are still mostly trying to follow Him, as we see from Abijah's speech (in verses 4-12).
- During battle, Jeroboam's troops put their hopes in the "gods" of the golden calves, while Abijah's troops cry "out to the Lord for help" (verse 14). God comes through and gives them victory, despite their only having half the troops.
- Jeroboam and his people had gold calves represent what they put their hopes in, and it did not come through for them. We need to be very careful about what we cherish and trust in. Anything other than God is too small a thing and will not do for us what we want it to. Only God is worthy of our worship and trust.
- Abijah's army won victory because they cried out to God. God is always attentive to our cry and wants to come through for us. It's better to be constantly communicating with God instead of just waiting for our desperate moments to cry out, but even if you're already in a desperate place, God will hear your cry.
- Take a honest look at your life: What do you cherish as your greatest value or hope? Do you believe that success, or popularity, or money, or the love of another person, is going to give you what you're looking for in life? It won't. It's just a golden calf that won't come through for you. It's ok to have other things in our lives, other wants and goals, but our ultimate trust and hope needs to be in God. So, how can you move towards thinking and living that way?
- When you're in a bad situation, do you cry out to God? If not, what keeps you from doing so? How could that change?