Israel lines up for battle against Judah, whose leader Abijah, son of Rehoboam, makes a stirring speech that could have come from David. He warns Israel that they are fighting against God if they come against Judah. He points out how the golden statues of Israel are no gods at all.
There are twice as many soldiers of Israel than there are in Judah. But even that is impressive for Judah. Rehoboam had mustered 180,000 valiant men. His son gathers 400,000. God was blessing Judah. We are told the number of wives and children that Abijah and Rehoboam have. Rehoboam has around one child per woman in his life and way more daughters than sons. Abijah has more than two children per woman and more sons than daughters. The Lord is controlling the growth and “manpower” of these kingdoms.
But even with 400,000, Abijah had to come with faith to face 800,000 from Israel. Israel relies on their strength in numbers. We’re told that Judah won the battle because they relied on the Lord.
It’s a horrible battle. Israel loses 500,000 fighting men and some of their cities and village. Jeroboam never recovers his power from that defeat and is struck down by the Lord, while Abijah, declaring that God is the Lord and alone is God, grows mighty. 500,000 men die; wives become widows; children become fatherless. And it’s because someone said to them, “These are your gods.” They said, “Oh, okay.”
Does this happen today? Of, course it does. Israel was given to us as an example. People have said, “This is your god. He is a god of love. He wants everyone to love whoever their flesh desires.” People said, “Oh, okay. Yes, our god is a god of love.” And just like that they are worshiping and serving a god of their own making.
People have said, “This is your god. He is a god of forgiveness. He came to us so we could be forgiven. He knows we’re sinful people. That’s why he came. Not to stop our sin but to forgive our sin.” People said, “Oh, okay. Yes, our god is a god of forgiveness.”
It all sounds so good. And people will defend their gods tooth and nail, but they are gods of their own making.