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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

2 Chronicles 13

Verse 12

DISCOURSE: 403
ABIJAH’S REMONSTRANCE WITH JEROBOAM
[Note: For a Fast-Day in war.]

2 Chronicles 13:12. Behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarni against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper,

GOOD advice should be attended to, by whomsoever it may be given. Our blessed Lord particularly inculcated this on his disciples, commanding them to do whatever those who sat in Moses’ chair required of them, without regarding the moral character of the persons themselves, or refusing compliance with what was good, because it was not exemplified in the conduct of their instructors. The words before us were not spoken by a good man; for Abijah was on the whole a wicked King [Note: 1 Kings 15:3.]: but they contain very sound instruction, and have a semblance even of piety itself. The whole address indeed was well fitted for the occasion, though it certainly savours much of that partiality, which is found in almost all who plead their own cause. There is undoubtedly a good deal of false colouring in what he speaks to the disparagement of his enemies, though there is ground for his assertions, if they had been more carefully expressed and more duly qualified. Notwithstanding Abijah had invaded Jeroboam’s country, in order to make that, rather than his own country, the seat of war, we think it probable that Jeroboam was the aggressor; because the address of Abijah was altogether of a pacific nature. It seems from the words of our text that he laboured hard to prevent the effusion of blood: and if his adversary had been like-minded with himself, the dispute might perhaps have been amicably adjusted.

We shall consider the words of our text,

I.

In reference to the contest then pending between Judah and Israel—

Abijah’s address was certainly striking and judicious—
[Abijah contrasts the usurpation and idolatry of Jeroboam with the legitimate claims of his own family, and their continued adherence to the God of their fathers [Note: ver. 4–11.] — — — and doubtless these were just grounds for hope, that God would espouse his cause: for though it may please God for a season to let the ungodly triumph over his people, yet we believe, that, as a righteous Governor, he will ultimately favour the cause of righteousness and truth.

Well did the Israelites know, that there could be no effectual resistance to the Lord of Hosts, especially when those who were under his command were observant of the laws appointed for them. Hence, when Abijah told his adversaries, that he was come forth in dependence on God’s aid, and in a strict observance of his commands [Note: Numbers 10:9. This passage reflects much light on the text.], they had reason to tremble for themselves, and to refrain from prosecuting the contest any further. True indeed, a hypocrite may make all these pretensions, even as Rabshakeh. did in his address to Hezekiah’s servants [Note: Isaiah 36:10.]: but where the dependence is real, and the obedience true, a suecessful issue may justly be expected.]

The event justified his expectations—
[Whilst Abijah was endeavouring to avert the conflict, Jeroboam sought by stratagem to overwhelm him and all his followers. He placed in ambush a considerable portion of his army, and attacked Abijah both in front and rear. But Abijah “cried unto the Lord; and the priests sounded with their trumpets; and the men of Judah gave a shout,” expressive of their confidence in God: and immediately the hosts of Israel turned their backs; and, though they were twice as numerous as their enemies, no less than five hundred thousand of them fell down slain before the victorious hosts of Judah. Never was there such a slaughter in one single battle, either before or since: and the event of that day fully proves, that they who fight for God have nothing to fear; nor they who fight against him, to hope [Note: Ezekiel 22:14. with Romans 8:31.] — — —]

Taking the text in somewhat of an accommodated sense, we will proceed to consider it,

II.

In reference to the contest now pending between God and us—

There is a contest now existing between God and sinners—
[By every sin that men commit, they do indeed “fight against God” — — — What shall we say of those who cast off their allegiance to the God of Israel; who bow down to idols of their own creation; who disregard the word and ordinances of their God; and who seek only to wound and destroy those who warn them of their guilt and danger? Are not they avowed enemies to God? They are: their own reason may tell them so: the Scriptures universally declare it: justify themselves as they may, their excuses are all vain; and they only deceive their own souls — — —]
“Suffer ye then the word of exhortation”—
[“O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers!” We are appointed of God to “blow the trumpet of alarm against you;” and we must blow it, at the peril of our own souls: we must “lift up our voice as a trumpet, and shew you both your sin” and danger [Note: Isaiah 58:1.]. It is against God, even “the Captain of our salvation” himself, that you are fighting: it is his majesty that you oppose, his law you trample on, his mercy you despise, and his salvation you reject — — — O think with yourselves, Can you prosper? “Did ever any harden themselves against him and prosper [Note: Job 9:4.]?” No indeed; “it is in vain to kick against the pricks:” “though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished [Note: Proverbs 11:21.].”]

Application—
1.

From the former view of this subject, we may learn how to obtain the blessing of God upon our arms—

[It is not by confidence in an arm of flesh that we can hope to prevail, but by an humble trust in God. It is said, “The children of Israel prevailed, because they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers [Note: ver. 18.].” Notwithstanding the numbers and the stratagems of their enemies, they prevailed, because God himself fought for them. Let us then by prayer and supplication call God to our aid, and rest assured that he will interpose for us in the hour of necessity.

Whilst indeed we trust in him for success, we must use every effort for the attainment of peace: but if our adversary will not listen to reasonable terms, then may we go forth with confidence against him, knowing that “with God it is alike easy to save by many or by few.”]

2.

From the latter view of this subject we may learn how to escape the destruction to which we are exposed—

[Our God “has made ready his glittering spear;” and he has already said, “Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies [Note: Isaiah 1:24.].” What then shall we do? Shall we continue the contest? What would this be, but to “set briers and thorns in battle against the devouring fire, which would go through them, and burn them up together [Note: Isaiah 27:4.]?” No: let us throw down our weapons of rebellion against him, and cast ourselves on the multitude of his tender mercies: let us go, like Benhadad, “with ropes round our necks, and sackcloth on our loins,” and confess our desert of his heavier judgments, Then will he “turn from his fierce anger,” and be reconciled towards us: yea, “he will be merciful to our transgressions, and our sins and iniquities will he remember no more.”]


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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 13". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/2-chronicles-13.html. 1832.