FAMILIAR PATTERNS OF SUCCESS

Abijah has lived long and prospered, and his son has had a godly example.  Asa lives in a time when some people in Judah are straying from the Lord.  He assumes the responsibility of a godly leader as his father did.

So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years.  And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God:  For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:  And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.  Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.  And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.  2 Chronicles 14:1-6

For Judah there was no question of religious tolerance.  Who would challenge God who reveals himself to his prophets?  This was the remnant of faith descended from Abraham, destined to represent the best of mankind under the law.  For king Asa the faithful defense of faith earned years of peace.  In time his challenge would come though.  Asa made sure that Judah was ready.

Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.  And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.  And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah.  Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.  2 Chronicles 14:7-10

Judah retained a standing army of 500,000 which was challenged by a million Ethiopians.  What possessed the Ethiopians to travel so far to oppose Judah?  They had to cross other nation’s territories or possibly open sea to arrive near Jerusalem.  The world goes to great lengths to oppose faith, blind to the cost, and to their certain failure.  In our age many Ethiopians are Jewish, and have come to Israel as citizens.  This may have been a lesson they would remember to draw them to God.  Asa knew where to find his help.

And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee.  So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.  And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.  And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them.  They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 14:11-15

The logistics to support a great army were to become the spoils of victory to the faithful.  The Lord fought the battle, and a victory against two to one odds was given to Judah.  In their ignorance Ethiopia lost thousands of men who would not return to their families.  Today they have both Jewish and Christian faith which suggests they have learned from this dark day in their history.  Israel may soon do the same.

Today Israel faces even greater odds with so many hostile nations around them.  Conditions are ripe for a great conflict today.  We are ordered to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  That peace will come in the form of the Prince of Peace, their Messiah Yeshua.  We should pray for the day when they will look on God who they pierced.  When the high places of misguided religion are torn down they will finally see the conclusion of the Law and victory over darkness.  Yeshua is their messiah and their victory.  He has fought the battle for them and it is finished.

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