December 19, 2015

2 Chronicles 13 - 14
In the 18th year of King Jereboam’s rule, Abijah took over the throne of Judah...war broke out between the two kings.  Abijah took a high position on the battle field and gave this speech, 

“ Listen Jeroboam and all Israel!  Don’t you realize that God, the one and only God of Israel, established David and his sons as the permanent rulers of Israel, ratified by the ‘covenant of salt’ - God’s kingdom ruled by God’s king?  And what happened?  Jeroboam, the son of Solomon’s slave Nebat, rebelled against his master....  

All the riffraf joined Jeroboam’s cause and were too much for Reheboam, Solomon’s true heir.  Rehoboam didn’t know his way around--besides he was a real wimp; he couldn’t stand up against them...

You think you’re so big with your huge army backed up by the golden-calf idols that Jeroboam made for you as gods!  But just look at what you’ve done--you threw out the priests of God, the sons of Aaron and the Levites and made priests to suit yourselves, priests just like the pagans have...but the rest of us in Judah, we’re sticking with God.  We have not traded him in for the latest model--we’re keeping tried and true priests of Aaron to lead us to God and the Levites to lead us in worship...We continue doing what God told us to do in the way he told us to do it;  but you have rid yourselves of Him.  Can’t you see the obvious?  God is on our side;  he’s our leader...O Israel, don’t fight against God, the God of your ancestors.  You will not win this battle.”

While Abijah was speaking, Jeroboam had sent men around to take them by surprise from the rear...When Judah looked back, they saw they were attacked front and back.  They prayed desperately to God, the priests blew their trumpets, and the soldiers shouted a battle cry.  At the battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah..Jeroboam never did recover from his defeat while Abijah lived...Meanwhile Abijah flourished....

Abijah’s son, Asa, became the next king.  For 10 years into Asa’s reign the country was at peace.  Asa was a good king.. He told Judah to center their lives in God, the God of their fathers, to do what the law said, and to follow the commandments. ...Because the land was quiet and there was not war, he was able to build up a good defense system in Judah.  God kept the peace.  Asa said to his people, “While we have the chance and the land is quiet, let’s build a solid defense system.”

Zerah the Ethiopian, went to war against Asa with an army of a million plus 300 chariots against the 580,000 men under Asa...  Then Asa prayed to God, “O God, you aren’t impressed by numbers or intimidated by a show of force once you decide to help:  Help us, O God; because we have come out to meet this huge army because we trust in you and who you are.  Don’t let mere mortals stand against you!”  God defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah; the Ethiopians ran for their lives.  

Revelations 13
And the Dragon stood on the shore of the sea.  

Then the Beast I saw looked like a leopard with bear paws  and a lion’s mouth.  The Dragon turned over its power to it, its throne and great authority....The whole earth was agog, gaping at the Beast.  They worshiped the Dragon who gave the Beast authority and they worshiped the Beast... The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous.  It could do anything it wanted for 42 months...Meanwhile God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.

I saw another beast rising out of the ground.  It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke.  It was a puppet of the first Beast.  This second beast worked magical signs...it forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead....Solve a riddle.  Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast.  It’s human number: 666.