June 5: When Words Are Enough
2 Chronicles 11:1–13:22; Titus 2:9–2:15; Psalm 96:1–13
It’s not often that words change the course of history. But Shemaiah, a little-known prophet, was given such an opportunity. We can easily pass over these life-altering moments if we’re not looking for them.
Rehoboam had assembled 180,000 chosen “makers of war” to fight against Israel in hopes of restoring his kingdom. He was prepared to destroy a portion of God’s people in order to gain a temporary victory. Then Shemaiah—a “man of God”—came along (2 Chr 11:2).
When Shemaiah spoke for Yahweh, Rehoboam backed down; he sent the 180,000 men home (2 Chr 11:1–4). You can imagine Rehoboam trembling in fear as he told this enormous number of warriors, “Thanks for coming out today, but Shemaiah just told me that Yahweh doesn’t approve, so we can start fortifying this city instead (see 2 Chr 11:5–12), or you can just go home if you want.”
Trust goes both ways in this story. Rehoboam trusted that Shemaiah spoke the true word of Yahweh, and Rehoboam had the trust of his men, who chose to listen to him instead of independently heading into battle. All of the parties decided to trust Yahweh, whether directly through His oracle or indirectly through following the words of their leaders.
When things seem out of control, we expect God to show up. But we often make that request without regard for the foundation we should have laid before—when things were calm. Times of rest and waiting are not times to be stagnant; instead, they are times to get to know God better so that we are prepared for what’s next. Shemaiah prepared for this situation by knowing God—the best kind of preparation.
How can you establish the foundation for your future ministry experiences now?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin ninescore thousand chosen men of war to fight against Israel, and to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam. But the word of the Lord came to Shemiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon King of Judah, and to all Israel that are in Judah and Benjamin, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. They obeyed therefore the word of the Lord, and returned from going against Jeroboam. And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built strong cities in Judah. He built also Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa, And Beth Zur, and Sochoh, and Adullam, And Gath, Mareshah, and Ziph, And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah, And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which were in Judah and Benjamin strong cities. And he repaired strongholds and put captains in them, and store of vittles, and oil and wine. And in all cities he put shields and spears and made them exceedingly strong: so Judah and Benjamin were his. And the Priests and the Levites that were in Israel, resorted unto him out of all their coasts. For the Levites there came to Jerusalem of all the tribes of Israel, such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God fo Israel, to offer unto the Lord God of Israel, to offer unto the Lord God of their fathers. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon mighty, three years long: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon. And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliah the son of Jesse, Which bare him sons Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham. And after her he took Maahah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: for her took eighteen wives and threescore concubines, and begat eight and twenty sons, and threescore daughters. And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him King. And he taught him: and dispersed all his sons throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin unto every strong city: and he gave them abundance of vittles, and desired many wives. And wehn Rehoboam had established the kingdom and made it strong, he forsook the Law of the Lord, and all Israel with him. Therefore in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, Shishak the king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem (because they had transgressed against the Lord) With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen, and the people were without number, that came with him from Egypt, even the Lubim, Sukkim, and the Ethiopians. And he took the strong cities which were of Judah, and came into Jerusalem. Then came Shemaiah the Prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah that were gathered together in Jerusalem, because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Ye have forsaken me, therefore have I also left you in the hands of Shishak. Then the princes of Israel, and the King humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves, therefore I will not destroy them, but I will send them deliverance shortly, and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless they shall be his servants: so shall they know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the earth. Then Shishak the king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took the treasure of the house of the Lod, and the treasures of the King’s house: he took even all, and he carried away the shields of gold, which Solomon had made. In stead whereof King Rehoboam made shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the chief of the guard, that waited at the door of the king’s house. And when the king entered into the house of the lord, the guard came and bare them and brought them again unto the guard chamber. And because he humbled himself, the wrath of the Lord turned from him, that he would not destroy all together. And also in Judah the things prospered. So King Rehoboam was strong in Jerusalem and reigned: for Rehoboam was one and forty years old, when he began to reign, and reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his Name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And he did evil: for he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord. The acts also of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the Prophet, and Iddo the Seer, in rehearsing the genealogy? and there was war always between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of Daivd, and Abijah his son reigned in his stead. In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, began Abijah to reign over Judah. He reigned three years in Jerusalem: (his mother’s name also was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah) and there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. And Abijah set the battle in array with the army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men, Jeroboam also set the battle in array agaisnt him with eight hundred thousand chosen men which were strong and valiant. And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which is in mount Ephraim, and said, O Jeroboam, and all Israel, hear you me, Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel hath given the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his son by a covenant of salt? And Jeroboam the son of Nebar the servant of Solomon the son of David is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord: And there are gathered to him vain men and wicked, and made themselves strong agaisnt Rehoboam the son of Solomon: for Rehoboam was but a child and tender hearted, and could not resist them. Now therefore ye think that ye be able to resist against the kingdom of the lord, which is in the hands of the sons of David, and ye be a great multitude, and the golden calves are with you which Jeroboam made you for gods. Have ye not driven away the Priests of the Lord the sons of Aaron and the Levites, and have made you Priests like the people of other countries? whosoever cometh to consecrate with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a Priest of them that are no gods. But we belong to our Lord our God, and have not forsaken him, and the Priests the sons of Aaron minister unto the Lord, and the Levites in their office. And they burn unto the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and sweet incense, and the bread is set in order upon the pure table, and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for keep the watch of the Lord our God: but ye have forsaken him. And behold, this God is with us a sa captain, and his Priests with the sounding trumpets to cry an alarm against you. O ye children of Israel, fight not against the Lord God of your fathers: for ye shall not prosper. But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to compass, and come behind them, when they were before Judah, and the ambushment behind them. Then Judah looked, and behold, the battle was before and behind them, and they cried unto the Lord, and the Priests blew with the trumpets. And the men of Judah gave a shout: and even as the men of Judah shouted, God smote Jeroboam and also Israel before Abijah and Judah. And the children of Israel fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hand. And Abijah and his people slew a great slaughter of them, so that there fell down wounded of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men. So the children of Israel were brought under at that time: and the children of Judah prevailed, because they stayed upon the Lord God of their fathers. And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, even Bethel and the villages thereof, and Jeshanah with her villages, and Ephron with her villages. And Jeroboam recovered no strength again in the days of Abijah, but the Lord plagued him, and he died. So Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat two and twenty sons, and sixteen daughters. The rest of the acts of Abijah, and his manners and his sayings, are written in the story of the Prophet Iddo. 2 Chronicles 11:1–13:22
- Let servants be subject to their masters, and please them in all things, not answering again. Neither pickers, but that they show all good faithfulness, that they may show all good faithfulness, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. For that grace of God, that bringeth salvation unto all men, hath appeared, And teacheth us, that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and that we should live soberly and righteously, and godly in this present world. Looking for that blessed hope, and appearing of that glory of that mighty God, and of our Savior Jesus Christ. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purge us to be a peculiar people unto himself, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and convince with all authority. See that no man despise thee. Titus 2:9-15
- Sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, and praise his Name: declare his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among all nations, and his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great and much to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the people areidols: but the Lord made the heavens. Strength and glory are before him: power and beauty are in his Sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, ye families of the people: give unto the Lord glory and power. Give unto the Lord the glory of his Name: bring an offering and enter into his courts. Worship the Lord in the glorious Sanctuary: tremble before him all the earth. Say among the Nations, The Lord reigneth: Surely the world shall be stable, and not move, and he shall judge the people in righteousness. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad: let the sea roar, and all that therein is. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it: let all the trees of the wood then rejoice, Before the Lord: for he comth, for he cometh to judge the earth: he will judge the world with righteousness, and the people in his truth. Psalm 96:1–13