Joining the Battle
Each day in our current era seems to bring a new ethical challenge to the forefront of society. Satan actively promotes the approval of all kinds of sexual sin on the one hand while simultaneously working to push God and religion out of the public sphere on the other. This should come as no surprise. Peter told us that Satan is a cagy adversary (1 Pet. 5:8), and Paul warned us to beware of his tactics (2 Cor. 2:11; 11:14-15). However, many Christians seem oblivious to the fact that they are in a war. It is not a conventional war, to be sure, but a war nonetheless. The battle lines have been drawn, the stakes are high, yet many have yet to put on their armor to engage the enemy (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:13-17). Although the LORD had allowed the division of Israel following the death of Solomon, He in no way condoned the unrighteous course pursued by Jeroboam. Division into different nation states was acceptable; division into different spiritual states was rebellion. Therefore, while originally thwarting Rehoboam’s forays against Jeroboam, this changed when Abijah began to reign (2 Chr. 13:1-3).
Although the specific circumstances differ greatly from today, spiritually speaking, Abijah’s efforts offer a principled plan worthy of emulation in opposing the forces of evil now arrayed against us. However, rather than seeing this as a political action taken on a grand scale and played out in the news media, we should instead see this as an effort undertaken to plead with people we know to do what is right. In his speech to those on the opposite side, Abijah did not waver, nor did he offer a compromise. He stated the facts straightforwardly, but more importantly, he put them in a spiritual context. And that is precisely what we should do as well.
- Rather than beating around the bush, we should directly address those responsible for sin and error (2 Chr. 13:4), appealing to God’s covenant (2 Chr. 13:5) as the basis for all that we say.
- We should also not shy away from stating the problem, citing the sins at issue while taking responsibility for any individual failures on the other side as well (2 Chr. 13:6-7).
- Spiritual problems are solved only when there is a spiritual focus, acknowledging sin and error for what it is rather than attempting to paper over such issues for the sake of unity (2 Chr. 13:8-9).
- The problem that separates people spiritually, more often than not, lies between forsaking the Lord and being faithful to Him (2 Chr. 13:10-11). Judah had its problems at this time, but it was not rebelling against the LORD.
- This also shows why it is essential in talking to others to keep it about God—not you (2 Chr. 13:12). Do not let anyone’s spiritual rebellion become personal; always see it as spiritual, because it will always be more personal to God than to any of us. However, the reaction is often not kind, to say the least.
- We must prepare for the possibility of vitriol (2 Chr. 13:13). Indeed, becoming the focus of someone’s anger with God can often keep us off the battlefield. We cannot let that happen.
- Instead, we must rely on the Lord throughout (2 Chr. 13:14-18), trusting always that His way is the best way. Following this process, like Abijah, you may not restore the unity you once enjoyed together, but God’s people will always be stronger when standing up for the truth (2 Chr. 13:19-22).
Satan and those on his side are not stronger or more capable, we just need to offer greater resistance (Jas. 4:7).
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