(Pastor Ock Soo Park’s Sermon for Children)
The People of Judah Who Cried Out to God
After Solomon, the king of Israel, had died, Israel was divided into Judah and Israel. Rehoboam, son of Solomon, became the king of Judah and Jeroboam became the king of Israel. There was always war between the two countries.
The king of Judah, Rehoboam, passed away and Abijah rose to the throne. Three years after Abijah became a king, another war broke out between Judah and Israel. While Jeroboam had a large army of 800,000 men, Abijah, the king of Judah, only had 400,000 men. Using the many men he had, Jeroboam positioned soldiers facing the army of Judah and also ambushed soldiers behind them. Abijah and the men of Judah trembled in great fear.
However, in the Old Testament, 2 Chronicles chapter 13, it is written “And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind: and they cried unto the LORD, and the priests sounded with the trumpets. Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.” The frightened men of Judah called upon God searching after Him and the priests blew the trumpets. Thereupon God heard them and struck Jeroboam and his men to defeat. It was the victory of the king of Judah, Abijah, who searched and depended on God.
With Faith in God
There are many kings mentioned in the Bible, but there are not that many kings who fought wars with faith in God. But Abijah fought Jeroboam with faith in God. Even though he was at a great disadvantage, having to face the men of Jeroboam who were twice in number, he was able to cry upon God and blow the trumpet.
As we live our lives many big and small problems arise. The majority of people live like the many kings who did not depend on God. When encountering difficult problems they try to solve the problems with their own strength, rather than solving the problems depending on God. Eventually when they face a problem that is greater than their abilities they fall into despair and disappointment.
Like Abijah, We Have to Let God Fight
The reason why God gives us problems we can’t solve is not because He hates us. He allows this because He wishes to work within us. This is why we have to forsake our ways and depend on God when we face problems. Like King Abijah, we have to make God fight. But unfortunately, in such cases, most people worry and become anxious thinking, “God will not help me.” They fall into despair and become frustrated.
When difficulty comes, we have to think why God gave us this problem. “Why did God give me this difficulty? I did not seek after God. God must have given me this difficulty so that I may depend on Him. If I depend on Him, God will make me overcome this difficulty!”
As we think this deeply, God stirs up faith in our heart. This is why we have to go forth with the precise faith that God will surely help us, protect us and make us victorious when we confront great difficulties.
What Did I Eat and How Did I Live at That Time?
Just as Abijah, at times we also meet strong enemies. We go through financial difficulties and at times suffer threatening diseases. We also have to endure stressful studies. The reason why God is giving us these things is to stir up faith in our heart.
A long time ago, I lived in a village called “Apgok-dong.” It was a very poor village and there was nobody to help me. God placed me in such circumstances so that I may depend on Him. During that time, I had to depend on God because I had no other way. I don’t understand what I ate or how I survived, but God made me live. The time I spent there strongly influenced my life of faith. The same God who helped me then is helping me even until now. This is how I gained the boldness to live with faith, believing in God at all times.
Today, with Faith in God
King Abijah put down all other ways and depended only on God. This is why God struck down Jeroboam’s army and made Abijah win.
Just like Abijah, we also go through big and small wars in our lives. Faith does not arise just because we are in difficulty. We have to think often, “Do I truly believe that God will help me in this war?”, “Am I really depending on God?”, “Am I not fighting this war using humanistic ways?”, “Does God truly want to help me?” And then we have to forsake all of our humanistic ways and go forth with faith believing in God. When we go forth with faith believing in God, the same God who worked in Abijah will surely work and make us win. In addition, He will stir up faith that God will help us in all the circumstances that we encounter.
The trials and difficulties we encounter in our lives are good opportunities for us to experience God. They are opportunities for us to receive blessings. Therefore I hope that you win the war that you face today with faith believing in God and not with humanistic ways.