When the army of Judah arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim and shouted to Jeroboam and all Israel: “Listen to me! Don’t you realize that the Lord, the God of Israel, made a lasting covenant with David, giving him and his descendants the throne of Israel forever? Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a mere servant of David’s son Solomon, rebelled against his master. Then a whole gang of scoundrels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them.
“Do you really think you can stand against the kingdom of the Lord that is led by the descendants of David? You may have a vast army, and you have those gold calves that Jeroboam made as your gods. But you have chased away the priests of the Lord (the descendants of Aaron) and the Levites, and you have appointed your own priests, just like the pagan nations. You let anyone become a priest these days! Whoever comes to be dedicated with a young bull and seven rams can become a priest of these so-called gods of yours!”
(2 Chronicles 13:4-9)
Though Abijah was by no means a godly king, he was still a descendant of David. God kept his covenant promise to David by keeping a descendant of David on the throne. Abijah sinned, but his fiery speech to Jeroboam showed that he was spared the immediate consequences of his sin. He criticized Jeroboam’s low standards in appointing priests. Anyone is qualified to represent a god that is worthless. To represent the Lord God Almighty, however, a person must live by God’s standards, not man’s.
To make matters worse, Jeroboam’s army was cursed because of the gold calves they carried with them—another aspect of their disobedience. It was as though they had put sin into a physical form so they could haul it around. Therefore, they suffered a painful defeat at the hands of the army of Abijah.
Consider carefully the things you cherish. If you value anything more than God, it might become a “gold calf” that will one day drag you down. Prayerfully release anything that interferes with your relationship with God.