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Israel and Judah stay split, but both fall away from God, fall into war and are invaded by Egypt and others: 1 Kings 14-15; 2 Chronicles 12-16 (with verses sorted into chronological order – see note)

After Jeroboam died, his son, Abijam, inherited the throne.

The record of his reign is strangely contradictory. On one hand, he wasn’t the best:

1 Kings 15:3 He committed the same sins as his father before him, and he was not faithful to the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had been.

But on the other hand,

1 Kings 15:4 But for David’s sake, the Lord his God allowed his descendants to continue ruling, shining like a lamp, and he gave Abijam a son to rule after him in Jerusalem.

Abijam seemed to have known where his right to rule came from. In his war with Jeroboam (king of the breakaway Northern Israel), Abijam’s challenge was:

2 Chronicles 13:8 Do you really think you can stand against the kingdom of the Lord that is led by the descendants of David? … 10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him. Only the descendants of Aaron serve the Lord as priests, and the Levites alone may help them in their work.

But earlier on, we’re told Abijam never really was with God in the first place. He seemed to have believed that having Levies to keep the rules and regulations was enough, but his heart was never really in it. He’d allowed idolatry in Judah, and his son Asa ended up having to turn Judah back to God. The Levites were possibly no more than a lucky charm of sorts.

It’s a good example of how keeping all the outward forms of sacrifice isn’t the same as obedience and faithfulness to God. True obedience comes from the heart, and it involves more than sacrifice Just winning a few wars, and so having the outward signs of success, didn’t really count. History recorded him as a king without faithfulness who was in constant war with a neighbour.

Note

The verses in chronological order are: 2 Chronicles 12:13−16; 1 Kings 14:29−15:5; 2 Chronicles 13:1−22; 1 Kings 15:6−8; 2 Chronicles 14:1−8; 1 Kings 15:9−15; 1 Kings 14:19−20; 1 Kings 15:25−34; 2 Chronicles 14:9−15; 1 Kings 15:16−22; 2 Chronicles 16:1−10; 1 Kings 16:1−34; 1 Kings 15:23−24; 2 Chronicles 16:11−14

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