Change Your Sound: The Seventh Day Shout & the Shout of the Surrounded

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles, which begins with the days and reign of Solomon son of David king of Israel, and continues through to the days of the northern kingdom of Israel, the southern kingdom of Judah and the kings who sat upon the thrones in both kingdom. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters eleven through fifteen of this Old Testament book. TO FIGHT AGAINST ISRAEL! THAT HE MIGHT BRING THE KINGDOM AGAIN TO REHOBOAM! YE SHALL NOT GO UP, NOR FIGHT AGAINST YOUR BRETHREN! THIS THING IS DONE OF ME! THEY OBEYED THE WORDS OF THE LORD! RETURNED FROM GOING AGAINST JEROBOAM! AND THE PRIESTS AND LEVITES THAT WERE IN ALL ISRAEL RESORTED TO HIM OUT OF ALL THEIR COASTS! THE LEVITES LEFT THEIR SUBURBS AND THEIR POSSESSION, AND CAME TO JUDAH AND JERUSALEM! JEROBOAM AND HIS SONS HAD CAST THEM OFF FROM EXECUTING THE PRIEST’S OFFICE UNTO THE LORD! ORDAINED HIM PRIESTS FOR THE HIGH PLACES, AND FOR THE DEVILS, AND FOR THE CALVES WHICH HE HAD MADE! AFTER THEM OUT OF ALL THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL SUCH AS SET THEIR HEARTS TO SEEK THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL CAME TO JERUSALEM, TO SACRIFICE UNTO THE LORD GOD OF THEIR FATHERS! THEY STRENGTHENED THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH! MADE REHOBOAM THE SON OF SOLOMON STRONG, THREE YEARS! FOR THREE YEARS THEY WALKED IN THE WAY OF DAVID AND SOLOMON! HE TOOK EIGHTEEN WIVES, AND THREESCORE CONCUBINES! HE DESIRED MANY WIVES! [THE SIN OF THE FATHER REPEATING IN THE GENERATION OF THE SON]

IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN REHOBOAM HAD ESTABLISHED THE KINGDOM, AND HAD STRENGTHENED HIMSELF, HE FORSOOK THE LAW OF THE LORD, AND ALL ISRAEL WITH HIM! SHISHAK KING OF EGYPT CAME UP AGAINST JERUSALEM, BECAUSE THEY HAD TRANSGRESSED AGAINST THE LORD! THUS SAITH THE LORD, YE HAVE FORSAKEN ME, AND THEREFORE HAVE I ALSO LEFT YOU IN THE HANDE OF SHISHAK! THE PRINCES OF ISRAEL AND THE KING HUMBLED THEMSELVES AND THEY SAID, THE LORD IS RIGHTEOUS! WHEN THE LORD SAW THAT THEY HUMBLED THEMSELVES! THEY HAVE HUMBLED THEMSELVES; THEREFORE I WILL NOT DESTORY THEM, BUT I WILL GRANT THEM SOME DELIVERANCE; AND MY WRATH SHALL NOT BE POURED OUT UPON JERUSALEM! THEY SHALL BE HIS SERVANTS; THAT THEY KNOW MY SERVICE, AND THE SERVICE OF THE KINGDOMS OF THE COUNTRIES! TOOK AWAY THE TREASURES OF THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, AND THE TREASURES OF THE KING’S HOUSE! WHEN HE HUMBLEDD HIMSELF, THE WRATH OF THE LORD TURNED FROM HIM, THAT HE WOULD NOT DESTROY HIM ALTOGETHER! THE CITY WHICH THE LORD HAD CHOSEN OUT OF ALL THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL, TO PUT HIS NAME THERE! HE DID EVIL, BECAUSE HE PREPARED NOT HIS HEART TO SEK THE LORD!

THERE WAS WAR BETWEEN ABIJAH AND JEROBOAM! NOW YE THINK TO WITHSTAND THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD IN THE HAND OF THE SONS OF DAVID! YE BE A GREAT MULTITUDE, AND THERE ARE WITH YOU GOLDEN CALVES, WHICH JEROBOAM MADE YOU FOR GODS! HAVE YE NOT CAST OUT THE PRIESTS OF THE LORD, THE SONS OF AARON, AND THE LEVITES, AND HAVE MADE YOU PRIESTS AFTER THE MANNER OF THE NATIONS OF OTHER LANDS! WHOSOEVER COMETH TO CONSECRATE HIMSELF WITH A YOUNG BULLOCK AND SEVEN RAMS, THE SAME MAY BE A PRIEST TO THEM THAT ARE NO GODS! AS FOR US, THE LORD IS OUR GOD, AND WE HAVE NOT FORSAKEN HIM! THE PRIESTS, WHICH MINISTER UNTO THE LORD, ARE THE SONS OF AARON, AND THE LEVITES WAIT UPON THEIR BUSINESS! THEY BURN UNTO THE LORD EVERY MORNING AND EVERY EVENING BURNT SACRIFICES AND SWEET INCENSE! THE SHEWBREAD ALSO THEY SET IN ORDER UPON THE PURE TABLE! THE CANDLESTICK OF GOLD WITH THE LAMPS THEREOF, TO BURN EVERY EVENING! FOR WE KEEP THE CHARGE OF THE LORD OUR GOD! YE HAVE FORSAKEN HIM! BEHOLD, GOD HIMSELF IS WITH US FOR OUR CAPTAIN, AND HIS PRIESTS WITH SOUNDING TRUMPETS TO CRY ALARM AGAINST YOU! FIGHT YE NOT AGAINST THE LORD GOD OF YOUR FATHERS! AND WHEN JUDAH LOOKED BACK, BEHOLD, THE BATTLE WAS BEFORE AND BEHIND! THEY CRIED UNTO THE LORD, AND THE PRIESTS SOUNDED WITH THE TRUMPETS! THE MEN OF JUDAH GAVE A SHOUT! AS THE MEN OF JUDAH SHOUTED, IT CAME TO PASS, THAT GOD SMOTE JEROBOAM AND ALL ISRAEL BEFORE ABIJAH AND JUDAH! THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL FLED BEFORE JUDAH! GOD DELIVERED THEM INTO THEIR HAND! THE CHILDREN OF JUDAH PREVAILED, BECAUSE THEY RELIED UPON THE LORD GOD OF THEIR FATHERS!

IN HIS DAYS THE LAND WAS QUIET TEN YEARS! ASA DID THAT WHICH WAS GOOD AND RIGHT IN THE EYES OF THE LORD HIS GOD! HE TOOK AWAY THE ALTARS OF THE STRANGE GODS, AND THE HIGH PLACES, AND BRAKE DOWN THE IMAGES, AND CUT DOWN THE GROVES! COMMANDED JUDAH TO SEEK THE LORD GOD OF THEIR FATHERS, AND TO DO THE LAW AND THE COMMANDMENT! HE TOOK AWAY OUT OF ALL THE CITIES OF JUDAH THE HIGH PLACES AND THE IMAGES! THE KINGDOM WAS QUIET BEFORE HIM!@ HE HAD NO WAR IN THOSE YEARS; BECAUSE THE LORD HAD GIVEN HIM REST! BECAUSE WE HAVE SOUGHT THE LORD OUR GOD, WE HAVE SOUGHT HIM, AND HE HATH GIVEN US REST ON EVERY SIDE! ASA CRIED UNTO THE LORD HIS GOD! LORD, IT IS NOTHING WITH THEE TO HELP, WHETHER WITH MANY, OR WITH THEM THAT NO POWER! HELP US, O LORD OUR GOD! WE REST ON THEE, AND IN THY NAME WE GO AGAINST THIS MULTITUDE! O LORD, THOU ART OUR GOD; LET NOT MAN PREVAIL AGAINST THEE! THE LORD SMOTE THE ETHIOPIANS BEFORE ASA, AND BEFORE JUDAH! THE LORD IS WITH YOU, WHILE YE BE WITH HIM! IF YE SEEK HIM, HE WILL BE FOUND OF YOU! IF YE FORSAKE HIM, HE WILL FORSAKE YOU! FOR A LONG SEASON ISRAEL HATH BEEN WITHOUT THE TRUE GOD, AND WITHOUT A TEACHING PRIEST, AND WITHOUT LAW! BUT WHEN THEY IN THEIR TROUBLE DID TURN UNTO THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL, AND SOUGHT HIM, HE WAS FOUND OF THEM! IN THOSE TIMES THERE WAS NO PEACE TO HIM THAT WENT OUT, NOR TO HIM THAT CAME IN, BUT GREAT VEXATIONS WERE UPON ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE COUNTRIES! NATION WAS DESTROYED OF NATION, AND CITY OF CITY! GOD DID VES THEM WITH ALL ADVERSITY! BE YE STRONG THEREFORE, AND LET NOT YOUR HANDS BE WEAK! YOUR WORK SHALL BE REWARDED! HE TOOK COURAGE, AND PUT AWAY THE ABOMINABLE IDOLS OUT OF ALL THE LAND OF JUDAH AND BENJAMIN, AND OUT OF THE CITIES WHICH HE HAD TAKEN FROM MOUNT EPHRAIM! AND RENEWED THE ALTAR OF THE LORD THAT WAS BEFORE THE PORCH OF THE LORD! THEY FELL TO HIM OUT OF ISRAEL IN ABUNDANCE, WHEN THEY SAW THAT THE LORD HIS GOD WAS WITH HIM! THEY GATHERED THEMSELVES TOGETHER AT JUERSLAEM IN THE THIRD MONTH, IN THE FIFTEENTH YEAR OF THE REIGN OF ASA! THEY OFFERED UNTO THE LORD THE SAME TIME, OF THE SPOIL WHICH THEY HAD BROUGHT! THEY ENTERED INTO A COVENANT TO SEEK THE LORD GOD OF THEIR FATHERS WITH ALL THEIR HEART WITH ALL THEIR SOUL! WHOSOEVER WOULD NOT SEEK THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL SHOULD BE PUT TO DEATH, WHETHER SMALL OR GREAT, WHETHER MAN OR WOMAN! THEY SWARE UNTO THE LORD WITH A LOUD VOICE, AND WITH SHOUTING, AND WITH TRUMPETS, AND WITH CORNETS! THEY HAD SWORN WITH ALL THEIR HEART, AND SOUGHT HIM WITH THEIR WHOLE DESIRE! HE WAS FOUND OF THEM! THE LORD GAVE THEM REST ROUND ABOUT! HE REMOVED HER FROM BEING QUEEN, BECAUSE SHE HAD MADE AN IDOL IN A GROVE! ASA CUT DOWN HER IDOL, AND STAMPED IT, AND BURNT IT AT THE BROOK KIDRON! THE HIGH PLACES WERE NOT TAKEN AWAY OUT OF ISRAEL! THE HEART OF ASA WAS PERFECT ALL HIS DAYS! HE BROUGHT INTO THE HOUSE OF GOD THE THINGS THAT HIS FATHER HAD DEDICATED! THERE WAS NO MORE WAR UNTO THE FIVE AND THIRTIETH YEAR OF THE REIGN OF ASA!

When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the once united nation and kingdom of Israel being divided into two distinct and two separate kingdoms—the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. If you turn and direct your attention back to the tenth chapter you will find that this schism and division took place during the days of Rehoboam the son of Solomon, as well as during the days of Jeroboam son of Nebat. In order to truly understand this particular sequence of events, however, one must not begin within the book of Second Chronicles, but one must take a look back to the words which were written and recorded in the Old Testament book of First Kings. It is in the book of Second Kings beginning with the eleventh chapter that you will find the events which ultimately led to the deep schism and division of the nation and kingdom of Israel, for it did not begin during the days of Rehoboam, nor did it begin with Rehoboam speaking and dealing harshly with the people of Israel. The events which unfolded during the days of Rehoboam would have their root and would have their foundation during the days of his father, for it would be the transgression of his father before the LORD God of Israel that would ultimately lead to the division of the kingdom, and for the northern ten tribes of Israel to be given into the hand of Jeroboam son of Nebat, while the tribes of Judah and Benjamin would remain in the hand of the house of David. Before we even begin to read the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles, I feel it absolutely necessary and absolutely imperative to draw and call your attention to the words which are written and recorded—not only in the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Kings, but also in the twelfth chapter of the very same book. It is within these two chapters where we discover and encounter the iniquity, idolatry and transgression of Solomon son of David and king of Israel, the word of the LORD which came unto Solomon, as well as the word of the LORD which would come unto Jeroboam son of Nebat. Moreover, it is within these chapters we learn and discover the iniquity and idolatry Jeroboam the son of Nebat would introduce in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel. With that being said—after we uncover the events which led to the division between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, we will come face to face with how this division, as well as the iniquity and idolatry where Jeroboam son of Nebat introduced in the northern kingdom of Israel had a direct impact on the southern kingdom of Judah, as well as on the Temple and house of the LORD. Consider if you will the words which are written in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of the Old Testament book of First Kings, and the stage that would be set for the divided kingdom, as well as the events which would begin to unfold during the days of Rehoboam the son of Solomon:

“But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD as did David his father. Then did Solomon build and high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods” (1 Kings 11:1-8)

“And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen” (1 Kings 11:9-13).

“And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand againast the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of VALOUR: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: and Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: and he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel) Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Asthoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and MIlcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: but I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light away before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that which is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon” (1 Kings 11:26-40).

“So Israel departed unto their tents. But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only” (1 Kings 12:16-20).

“Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at JEruslame, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the he altar. So did he in Beth-el, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense” (1 Kings 12:25-33).

“And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Beth-el: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the Singh which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Beth-el, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. An his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sight which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD” (1 Kings 13:1-5).

“After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places. And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth” (1 Kings 13:33-34).

If you want to truly understand the words which are written and recorded within this particular section of the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles, it is absolutely necessary that you understand from reading the words in the book of First Kings which describe how the nation and kingdom of Israel became divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. It would be through the idolatry, iniquity and transgression of Solomon king of Israel that the nation and kingdom of Israel would be rent from the house of David during the days of his son, and a vast majority of it would be given to another. Much like the LORD would rend the kingdom out of the hand of Saul and give it unto one who was better than himself—namely, David who was a man after God’s own heart—the LORD would also take the kingdom of Israel and rend it from the house of David during the days of his grandson Rehoboam. When the nation and kingdom of Israel became divided into a northern and southern kingdom in the midst of the earth they would initially have two different and two distinct kings that would reign over them. The northern kingdom and ten tribes of Israel would have as king over them Jeroboam son of Nebat, and it would be unto Jeroboam the kingdom would be given according to the word of the LORD. Rehoboam would rule and reign from and upon the throne of David over the tribe of Judah, as well as the tribe of Benjamin which would of course have their inheritance within and in the midst of the inheritance that was given unto Judah. It’s important that we not only recognize and understand how the kingdom of Israel would be divided into a northern kingdom of Israel and a southern kingdom of Judah, for what we read and what we find within these chapters is a powerful narrative that describes those early days of the divided kingdom. The eleventh chapter of the book of Second Chronicles would begin with Rehoboam gathering from the house of Judah and Benjamin a hundred and eighty thousand chosen men, which were warriors to fight against Israel that he might bring and restore the kingdom again unto himself. Perhaps the single greatest thing to realize and recognize concerning Rehoboam’s attempt to restore the kingdom unto himself was that he wouldn’t simply be fighting against Jeroboam and against the northern kingdom of Israel, as well as his brethren, but what he would also be doing is fighting against the LORD, and even fighting against the word of the LORD. What I absolutely love about how the eleventh chapter opens up and begins is that although it would essentially begin with Rehoboam and the one hundred and eighty thousand choice men who were with him potentially fighting against and resisting the word of the LORD would ultimately result in Rehoboam and all those obeying the word of the LORD that would come unto them warning them of their actions. The fourth verse of the eleventh chapter concludes with the following words “and they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.”

THE MIGRATION OF THE RIGHTEOUS! THE MIGRATION OF THE PRIESTS! THE MIGRATION OF THE MINISTERS OF THE LORD! As you continue reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that after Rehoboam returned from his attempted battle with his brethren Israel, he dwelt in Jerusalem and built cities for defense. The author of Second Chronicles goes on to describe the specific cities which he fortified in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah, and how he sought to establish the southern kingdom of Judah and cause it to become exceedingly strong in the midst of the land. It’s worth noting that after Rehoboam returned from attempting to fight against his brethren, he immediately went to work to fortify the southern kingdom of Judah, as well as the various cities within and in the midst of the land. Scripture reveals how after his return he built cities for defense in Judah, as well as fortifying the strongholds, and put captains in them. The twelfth verse of the eleventh chapter reveals how in every city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side. Although Rehoboam would and could not engage the northern kingdom of Israel in battle, and although there was absolutely nothing he could do to somehow restore the kingdom unto himself, he could absolutely fortify the cities within the southern kingdom of Judah, and work to secure and establish himself as king in the midst of the land. Scripture is unclear the motive behind Rehoboam’s building cities for defense in the midst of the land of Judah, but one thing that is absolutely certain when reading and considering the narrative of the southern kingdom of Judah was that the city of Jerusalem was indeed the capital city in the midst of the land. In fact, when we come to the days and time when Nebuchadnezzar would invade the southern kingdom of Judah we find him not immediately targeting the city of Jerusalem, but rather targeting the fortified cities round about Jerusalem in the midst of the land. It should also be noted that Sennacherib king of Assyria would do the same thing in the midst of the reign of Hezekiah king of Judah, for if the defenses and fortified cities of Judah were captured and controlled, then it would leave the capital city of Jerusalem essentially and effectively isolated in the midst of the land. One might even say that the strongholds and the fenced cities in the midst of the land served as a buffer in the midst of the land to help safeguard and protect the city of Jerusalem which was not only the place of the government of God as evident through the throne of David, but also the place of the glory of God as evident through the Temple of Solomon. One might very well say that as the defenses and walled cities of Judah went, so also could the capital city of Jerusalem go.

It would be during the days of Rehoboam king of Judah that these fortified cities would be made exceeding strong, and that there would be fenced cities and strong holds round about the city of Jerusalem. It’s necessary and imperative that we recognize and remember this, for these strong holds and fenced cities would serve as buffers in place within the land to serve as safeguards against foreign enemies and adversaries that would invade the land. There is not a doubt in my mind that Rehoboam might very well have feared an invasion of some kind in the midst of the land, and in an attempt to prevent the invasion of a foreign enemy and adversary, he established fenced cities round about Jerusalem throughout the land, and provided them with shields and spears. Scripture makes it very clear that Rehoboam made these cities exceeding strong, and we must acknowledge the fact that Rehoboam himself might have had at least a measure and degree of insecurity within his heart during the days of his reign, and built up these fenced cities in order that the city of Jerusalem might be guarded and protected. Despite the fact that Jerusalem was the ultimate walled and fenced city in the midst of the land of Judah, there would be additional fenced cities that would be present round about that city to ward and fend off would be invaders who would seek to gain access and entrance into the city of Jerusalem. It would be David, Joab and the mighty men of Israel that would capture and build up the city of Jerusalem, and it would be Solomon who would further build and expand this great city and city of the Great King. Now here we are two generations removed from David and we find his grandson building cities for defense in Judah, as well as fortifying and making strong these cities in the midst of the land. As I sit here today I can’t help but view these strongholds and these fenced cities as having a wonderful relevance within our lives, and that safeguards and measures we have put in place to guard the place of the government of God and the glory of God within our lives. Though we are not building up literal cities, and though we aren’t talking about actual cities in place within our lives, we are nonetheless speaking about those measures, those precautions, and those strongholds we have set up within our minds, within our hearts, and within our lives in order that the place of the government and the glory of God might be guarded and protected. It’s worth noting that not only were there walls and defenses round about the city of Jerusalem itself, but even beyond those walls were fenced cities, and cities of defense, in order that the capital city with the throne and the Temple might be guarded and protected.

FENCED AND DEFENSED! It should be noted when reading these words that during the days of Rehoboam king of Judah he sought to build and established cities of defense in the midst of the land of Judah—cities which would in fact be fenced cities which he himself could make strong. It would be within these cities that would not only have their own walls and fences round about them, but within there would be choice men who were mighty men of valor which would be equipped with spear and shield that they might engage any enemy and adversary that would attempt to enter into and invade the land. We do know that this would be a very real possibility, for later on during the reigns of kings that would sit upon the throne of Judah we find Egypt, Assyria and Babylon all entering into land of Judah, capturing the fenced cities of the land, and setting their sights on the city of Jerusalem itself. It is necessary that we recognize and understand this, for it reveals a great and tremendous need within our hearts, within our minds, and within our lives that needs to be addressed on a daily basis. Perhaps the single greatest question I can’t help but ask as I sit here today is what measures are you currently takin to ensure that the place of the glory within your life, and the place of government within your life is guarded and protected What measures, and what systems do you have in place in order to ward and fend off would be adversaries and enemies that would seek to gain access and entrance into your heart and into your mind? What measures and what systems do you have in place to ensure that the place of the government of God, as well as the place of the glory of God might not be accessed by the enemy and adversary? What degrees and measures of safety, protection and defense do you have within your own life to secure yourself from any and every threat of the enemy? We do in fact know that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, and we do in fact know that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God, and yet what I can’t help but ask is beyond the shield of faith which should be in your hand and strapped to your arm—what walls, what fences, what degrees and measures of defense do you have within your life? Have you set up and established the defense of prayer within your life? Have you set up and established the defense of worship within your life? Have you set up and established the defense of personal devotion within your life? Have you set up and established the defense of accountability within your life? Have you set up and established the defense of intercession within your life? It is true that we must indeed take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, and the shield of faith within our hearts and lives, however, it is also equally as important and imperative that we ensure we have systems of defense and strongholds present within our hearts and within our lives. There must be those systems and those measures we have in place to guard and protect us from the onslaught and attack of the enemy and adversary in order that we might safeguard and protect ourselves, as well as the place of the government and glory of God within our hearts and lives.

Moving even further within this particular passage of Scripture you will not only read of the fortification of fenced cities of defense in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah, but you also read of this migration of priests and ministers of the LORD that would leave and depart from the northern kingdom of Israel during the days of Jeroboam son of Nebat. If you begin reading with and from the thirteenth verse of the eleventh chapter you will encounter and come face to face with this migration of priests and Levites which had previously dwelt in the cities of their possession and inheritance in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, as they would depart from that land would make their way down to the land of Judah. What’s more, is that the priests and the Levites didn’t specifically leave the northern kingdom of Israel to experience a change of scenery, but they left the northern kingdom of Israel to escape the idolatry and iniquity that would be present in the midst of the land. It would be in the northern kingdom of Israel that Jeroboam son of Nebat would set up two golden calves of idolatry in both Dan and Beersheba, and it would be in the northern kingdom of Israel where Jeroboam would set up and establish his own priesthood and his own religion. It’s worth noting when reading the narrative that is found in the book of First Kings, as well as the narrative that is found in the book of Second Chronicles that Jeroboam essentially set up and established a new religion that would ultimately be a snare—not only of the people within the land, but also of the kings that would sit upon the throne of Israel. With that being said, there is actually something new that is learned in the eleventh chapter of the book of Second Chronicles that was not presented in the book of First Kings concerning the days of Jeroboam son of Nebat and Rehoboam son of Solomon. If you begin reading with and from the thirteenth verse of the eleventh chapter of this book of Second Chronicles you will find the following words concerning this migration and journey of the priests and the Levites which originally dwelt within and in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel. Consider if you will the following words as they are presented in the midst of this Old Testament book:

“And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel restored to him out of all their coasts. For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD: and he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon” (2 Chronicles 11:13-17).

There is something truly powerful and truly unique that is found within this particular passage of Scripture, for what we see is this powerful migration and this powerful journey—first of the priests and the Levites who were willing to leave their suburbs and their possession in order that they might come to Judah and Jerusalem. The author of the book of Second Chronicles makes it absolutely and perfectly clear why the priests and Levites would migrate from the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, for it would be during the days of Jeroboam and his sons that the priests and the Levites would be but off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD. This is important to think about and consider, for it would mark the beginning of the spiritual decline of the northern kingdom of Israel—one that would continue on through the days of Jezebel queen of Israel and daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians. It would be during the days of Jeroboam son of Nebat that the priests and Levites would be cut off from executing their ministry and office before the LORD, and it would be during the days of Jezebel queen of Israel that the prophets would be cut off from the midst of the land. Scripture would make it very clear that part of the beginning of the spiritual and moral decline of the northern kingdom of Israel wasn’t merely the setting up of these golden calves at each end of the land, but it would also be the cutting off of both the priests and the Levites from fulfilling and executing their office and ministry before the LORD. How do you know when a nation is on a downward spiral in the midst of the earth? You know when the priests and the Levites—the faithful ministers of the LORD—begin to be cut off from their office, their ministry and their service before the LORD. When the priests and Levites begin to to restricted from faithfully carrying out and executing their office before the LORD it is a sure and clear sign that the nation is on a downward spiral away from worshipping, serving and following the living God. What’s so incredibly fascinating about the words which are found within this passage is that although the priests and the Levites were cut off from faithfully executing their office before the LORD, they would find and have a place to go in the southern kingdom of Judah. It’s actually quite astounding to think about and consider the fact that the priests and the Levites would leave their suburbs and their possession in order that they might come to Judah and Jerusalem—to the place of the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD God of Israel where the altar and the Ark of the Covenant were both found.

Moving on even further into this particular portion of Scripture you will find that it wasn’t merely the priests and the Levites that would depart from the northern kingdom of Israel and from the idolatry and immorality that would be so pervasive in the midst of the land, for you will find that their migration and their journey would also lead to and result in all those who set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel to come to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers. I am convinced that one of the things that allowed the southern kingdom of Judah to remain in existence longer than the northern kingdom of Israel was not only the presence of the Temple which Solomon had built in the midst of the land—the place of the altar of burnt offering and sacrifice, as well as the Ark of the Covenant—but it was also the fact that the priests and the Levites, and all those who set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel would continue seeking the LORD and would continue in their worship and pursuit of the living God. SEEK THE LORD, SACRIFICE UNTO THE LORD! It is something worth noting and pointing out when reading these words that even in the midst of the idolatry, and even in the midst of the tremendous iniquity and transgression that would be found within the land, there would still be those who would not only set their hearts to continue serving and ministering before the LORD, but there would also be those who would not only set their hearts to seek the LORD, but who would also sacrifice unto the LORD their God. How truly awesome and wonderful this picture is of those who would both set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel, and would come to Jerusalem that they might sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers. A SPIRITUAL RESISTANCE! WILL YOU JOIN THE RESISTANCE! THE RESISTANCE OF THE PRIESTS! THE RESISTANCE OF THE LEVITES! THE RESISTANCE OF THE SEEKERS! If there is one thing I so love and appreciate when reading this passage of Scripture it’s that there were not only ministers of the LORD, but also the people themselves who would rise up against the idolatry and iniquity that would be present in the midst of the land, and would resist being caught up in the worship of devils and false gods. Perhaps one of the most incredible realities I find within this passage of Scripture is the fact that not only were the priests and Levites willing to abandon their suburbs and possessions to escape the corruption that was taking place in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, but so also were all those who had set their hearts to seek the LORD. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves is what are we willing to leave behind and surrender in order that we might continue in the ministry and work the living God has called us to. The priests and Levites were willing to leave their suburbs and their possession in order that they might come unto the city of Jerusalem, and more specifically unto the Temple and house of the LORD. When the priests and Levites realized they would no longer be able to faithfully execute the work and service of the LORD their God because of Jeroboam son of Nebat, they purposed within their hearts and souls to leave everything behind in order that they might continue in their work, their service and their ministry before and unto the LORD God of Israel. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for it brings us face to face with what we are willing to give up and what we are willing to leave behind for the sake of continuing—and perhaps even pursuing—the work of the ministry and service of the LORD.

As I sit here this evening I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the reality that in an attempt to secure his new idolatrous worship and religion which had been established in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam cast off the priests and Levites from being able to execute the priest’s office unto the LORD. It’s worth noting that not only did Jeroboam son of Nebat cast off the sanctuary and house of the living God with the altar of burnt offering and the Ark of the covenant, but Jeroboam also cast out the priests and prevented them from faithfully executing their service and ministry unto the LORD, the God of Israel. CASTING OFF THE PRIESTS, CASTING OFF THE SANCTUARY! We dare not miss and lose sight of this, for what we discover and learn during this passage of Scripture is the beginning of the downward spiral of the northern kingdom of Israel—a downward spiral that many nations of the earth have faced and experienced throughout the years. In order to understand the progression that is found within the northern kingdom of Israel you must understand that first comes the casting off and rejection of the sanctuary and house of the living God, which is followed by setting up new gods which are formed and fashioned from one’s own imagination. It’s not enough simply to cast off the sanctuary and create new gods which are not gods at all, but a new religion that would replace that which was in place in the city of Jerusalem and in the southern kingdom of Judah. Jeroboam would begin this downward spiral and path of rebellion and iniquity before the LORD by casting off the sanctuary, then by setting up not one, but two golden calves, and then building an entire religion around those golden calves. Jeroboam son of Nebat would take this even further as he would not only install his own priests for this newfound religion which was set up in the midst of the land, but also cast off the priests and Levites of the LORD. Oh that we would see the tremendous danger that took place, for not only would Jeroboam son of Nebat cast off the sanctuary in favor of his two golden calves, but he would also cast off the priests and Levites in favor of those priests whom he would install. It would be during the days of Jeroboam the priests would be cast off, and it would be during the days of Jezebel the prophets would be cut off. We dare not and must not forget this, for whenever a nation casts off the priests and cuts them off from fulfilling their service before the LORD, and whenever a nation cuts off and kills the prophets of the LORD, judgment is absolutely and most certainly at the door. It should be noted that the LORD didn’t and wouldn’t immediately cast out the northern kingdom of Israel, but would first cast off and cast down the rebellious houses of Jeroboam, of Baasha, Ahab, and even Jehu. Upon thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture we must see the tremendous danger that surrounds any nation that would first cast off the priests of the LORD, and would then cut off the prophets of the LORD.

I absolutely love that within and during the days of Jeroboam son of Nebat, as well as during the days of Rehoboam son of Solomon there was a spiritual migration and pilgrimage that would take place in the midst of the land, as not only would the priests and Levites abandon and forsake everything in order that they might come into Judah, come into Jerusalem, and unto the sanctuary and Temple of the living God, but there would also be all those who would set their hearts to seek the LORD who would come to the house and sanctuary of the living God to sacrifice their offerings before Him. It’s interesting to note how the seventeenth verse of the eleventh chapter reads, for the author describes how the priests and the Levites, as well as all those who set their hearts to seek the LORD by offering their sacrifices before the LORD strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong for three years. For three years the priests and the Levites, as well as the people who lived and dwelt in the southern kingdom of Judah walked in the way of David and Solomon as their set their hearts to seek the LORD, to serve Him faithfully with their whole hearts, and to offer their sacrifices before and unto the living God. Although the days of Rehoboam the son of Solomon would be days when the whole kingdom of Israel would be rent out of his hands and out of the hand of the house of David, we must recognize that during that time there was indeed a spiritual migration and journey that took place there in the land, as the priests and Levites, as well as all those who sought the face of the LORD and set their hearts to seek Him would make their way to the sanctuary and house of the living God. In all reality, the days of Rehoboam son of Solomon are strangely similar to the days of Jezebel and Ahab, for although Jezebel would kill the prophets of the LORD while allowing the prophets of Baal to remain, the LORD emphatically declared unto Elijah that He had reserved for Himself seven thousand who had not bowed themselves before, nor kissed Baal in the midst of the land. Just as there was a remnant during the days of Jezebel—during days when the prophets of the LORD were being killed by an evil and wicked queen—so also would there be a remnant during the days of Rehoboam son of Solomon—a remnant that would not only set their hearts to seek the LORD, but who would also choose not to bow down to the golden calves which Jeroboam son of Nebat had made, nor worship the devils which were invited in the midst of the land, nor worship in the high places Jeroboam had set up. Despite the fact that Jeroboam would set up and establish his own priests for the high places and for the altar which he had made in the midst of the land, as well as the golden calves, there would be a remnant of faithful priests and faithful Levites who would continue their commitment, their dedication and their devotion to the sanctuary and house of the LORD in the midst of the land. Oh how absolutely powerful it is to know and understand that there was a remnant of priests and Levites, as well as a remnant of all those who sought the LORD during the days of Jeroboam when the priests of the LORD would being cast off—just as much as there was a remnant of all those who had not bowed themselves before, nor kissed Baal during the days of Jezebel and the prophet Elijah.

As you come to the thirteenth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find Abijah the son of Rehoboam son of Nebat beginning to reign over the southern kingdom of Judah, and did so during the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam son of Nebat. What’s so unique about the words which are written and recorded within this particular passage of Scripture is that during the days of Abijah and Jeroboam son of Nebat there was continual and constant war. What’s more, is that in the third verse of the thirteenth chapter you will find that Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war of four hundred thousand chosen men—this set against eight hundred thousand chosen men who were mighty men of valor for the northern kingdom of Israel. What’s truly interesting about the words which are found within the thirteenth chapter of the book of Second Chronicles is the emphatic declaration Abijah the son of Rehoboam king of Judah made before and unto Jeroboam son of Nebat and all those mighty men of valor who were with him for battle. Consider if you will the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter of the book of Second Chronicles beginning to read with and from the fourth verse of the chapter:

“And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which is in mount Ephraim, and said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel; Ouight ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord. And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belize, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tender hearted, and could not withstand them. And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the son of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods. Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? So that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods. But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which ministers unto the LORD, are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business: and they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burnt every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him. And, behold, God Himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD, God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper” (2 Chronicles 13:4-12).

WHEN THE BATTLE IS BEFORE AND BEHIND! HOW DO YOU RESPOND WHEN YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY AN ENEMY AND ADVERSARY? CRYING UNTO THE LORD, SOUNDING THE TRUMPETS! CRYING UNTO THE LORD, SOUNDING THE TRUMPETS, AND GIVING A SHOUT! THE CRY, THE SOUND AND THE SHOUT! THE CHILDREN OF JUDAH PREVAILED, BECAUSE THEY RELIED UPON THE LORD GOD OF THEIR FATHERS! As you read the words which are written and recorded within this particular passage of Scripture you will encounter and come face to face with a powerful strategy when you find yourself in a place where you either feel as though you are surrounded by enemies and adversaries on all sides, or you truly are surrounded by those enemies and adversaries. Upon reading the words within this passages you will find that Abijah came against Jeroboam son of Nebat and the northern kingdom of Israel with four-hundred thousand choice men who were mighty men of valor. This is quite incredible and astonishing when you consider the fact that the force, the strength and the might of Judah during the days of Abijah during this time was essentially half of that of Jeroboam son of Nebat. This passage of Scripture presents us with the fact that Jeroboam son of Nebat came against Abijah with eight-hundred thousand choice men who were also mighty men of war, and who were valiant in the midst of the battle. What adds a tremendous amount of weight to this particular reality is when you consider that not only were Abijah and the men of Judah outnumbered 2-1 on the battlefield, but when they looked up they saw that the battle was not only before them, but the battle was also behind them. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that essentially what Jeroboam son of Nebat did was realize and recognize that the strength and might of his forces outnumbered those of Abijah, and as a result, he divided his ranks—perhaps even divided them in half—and set half behind Abijah and the army that was with him, while the other half remained before them. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that for every soldier of the southern kingdom of Judah there would not only be a soldier before them, but also one behind them. Stop and consider the fact that the southern kingdom of Judah and every soldier that was apart of that army would have to to face an opponent and foe on either side of them with one before them and one behind. This reality is something that is not absent, nor is it silent within Scripture, for when you read the Scripture in its entirety—particularly the Old Testament book of the Psalms—you will find that there were countless times when David king of Israel felt completely surrounded on all sides by enemies, by foes and adversaries that were hell-bent on his destruction. There is even a specific passage of Scripture found in the books of Second Samuel and First Chronicles when you find that the children of Ammon set themselves in array against David the nation and kingdom of Israel when they realized they had made themselves abominable in his sight. The children of Ammon would enlist the help of the Syrians in order that they might come unto them and help them in the battle against the nation and kingdom of Israel.

When you read this particular narrative within the books of Second Samuel and First Chronicles you will find that Joab realized that the children of Ammon were before, while the Syrians were behind, he divided the choice men of Israel and put half of them under the command and control of his brother Abishai. Essentially what we find and read within this passage is a powerful picture of being surrounded by enemies and adversaries on all sides, as Joab, Abishai and the mighty men of war found themselves confronting an enemy before them, as well as an enemy behind them. Upon dividing the men and placing a number under the command and control of his brother Abishai, Joab declared unto him that if the enemy he faced was too strong for him then Joab would turn and help him in the battle. Conversely, if the battle against the enemy which Joab faced was too strong for him, then Abishai would turn and help him. What makes this particular passage so incredibly intriguing is when you think about the fact that essentially what you find are the people of God being surrounded by enemies and foes on two different fronts—before and behind them. A similar reality was found in the narrative of the children of Israel in the midst of the wilderness when they came to the Red Sea, for you will recall that at the command of the LORD the children of Israel turned and altered course in the wilderness and would come before the Red Sea which was before them. Scripture reveals in the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus how the children of Israel had before them the vast Red Sea, while behind them the Egyptian army had marched against them to pursue and overtake them. The children of Israel would see the impossibility before them in the waters of the Red Sea, and they would see the enemy and adversary behind them in thE Egyptians, and they were initially afraid because of the enemy that had marched out against them. It’s worth nothing that in this particular instance—although the children of Israel could see the Red Sea before them, and although they could see the enemy and adversary behind them, they could not see through or beyond the Red Sea to the path that lie beneath the waters. What’s more, is that when they looked upon the Red Sea—not only did they not, and not only could they not see the path that lie before them beneath the waters, but they also couldn’t see that the waters would be for them a wall of safety and passage, while those same waters would be a weapon in the hand of the living and eternal God. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that what would be a wall of protection for the children of Israel and the people of God would ultimately be a weapon in the hand of the living God, for the LORD would use those same waters which were a shelter for the people of Israel on their right side and on their left, but would use that same place of shelter as a powerful weapon and instrument in His hand to utterly destroy the Egyptians together with their horses, their chariots and their soldiers. It’s worth noting and pointing out that the children of Israel would encounter impossibility before them and a threat behind them, and not only would the LORD reveal a path before them beneath and in the midst of the waters, but so also would He lure the Egyptians and their horses and chariots in the midst of the waters in order that there in the midst of the waters—not only could he thrust them into confusion and cause the wheels of their chariots to fall off, but He would also cause the waters of the Red Sea to come crashing down upon the Egyptians, thus drowning them in the midst of the sea.

It’s truly astonishing and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that when Joab realized that the battle was both before and behind him, he divided his men and delivered a number of them into the hand of his brother to command against one half of the enemy. Ultimately the passage reveals how the enemies which were before and behind would flee from before these two brothers, and how Joab and Abishai would follow after and pursue their enemies, and would overtake them. It’s worth noting and pointing out this particular reality, for in the thirteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles we find the battle not only set before Abijah and the children of Judah, but also behind them. What you find in the midst of this incredibly dangerous and volatile situation was Abijah, the priests and all those men of war who were with him responding in a way that we would be incredibly wise to recognize and understand. When you begin reading with and from the fourteenth verse of the thirteenth chapter you will find that when Judah looked back and saw the battle was before and behind—not only did they cry unto the LORD< but so also did the priests sound with the trumpets. What’s more, is that you will find the men of Judah shouted with a great shout. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this reality, for within this particular narrative—not only do we find a cry, not only do we find a sound, but we also find a shout. The children of Judah cried out before and unto the LORD their God, while in the midst of the battle the priests themselves would sound the trumpets of alarm and battle before and against Jeroboam and the army that was with him. How absolutely wonderful and powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that in the midst of this battle which was before and behind, you find Abijah and the men of Judah raising up a cry before the LORD their God. Not only this, but you will also find that eventually that cry would give way to a shout, as in between the cry and the shout would be the sound of the trumpets. BETWEEN THE CRY AND THE SHOUT! It’s truly unique and incredible to read the words which are written and found within this passage of Scripture, for what you will find is the incredible presence of a cry within the hearts of the children of Judah, and how that cry would ultimately give way to a shout that would proceed forth from their lips and from their mouths. We dare not and must not miss that, for between the cry and the shout would be a sound that would be heard—namely, the sound of the trumpet which would cause a noise of alarm and war to be heard in the midst of the battle. A similar reality would be manifested outside the walls of Jericho, for as the children of Israel would finish marching around the city of Jericho seven times on the seventh day—not only would the priests sound the trumpets, but so also would the children of Israel shout with all their might and with all their strength. It would be in direct response to the sound of the trumpet and the noise of their shout that the LORD would cause the walls of Jericho to crumble and collapse before them. Ultimately, the children of Israel would march straight up into the midst of the city of Jericho and would set the entire city to the edge of the sword—save Rahab, her family and all those that were together with her in her house which was marked by the scarlet cord.

What I find to be a direct challenge to us as we read the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles is the fact that when Judah realized and recognized that the battle was before and behind them, they initially raised up and lifted their voices in a cry as they cried out to the LORD. There in the midst of the battle the children of Judah would cry out unto and would cry before the LORD their God—completely and entirely unsure of what would happen as a result of their cry. Immediately following the sound of the cry of the children of Judah would be a different sound—namely, the sound of the trumpet that would be heard as the priests would sound the trumpet in the midst of the battle. WHEN A CRY GIVES WAY TO ALARM! WHEN THE CRY OF A VOICE GIVES WAY TO THE SOUND OF TRUMPET! WHEN THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET GIVES WAY TO THE SOUND OF THE SHOUT! What I find to be so absolutely incredible when reading the words found within this passage of Scripture is that there were essentially three distinct sounds that would be heard there in the midst of the battle, as there would first be the sound of a cry that would be heard in the midst of the battle. Scripture isn’t unclear how long the cry of the children of Judah would be heard, but I would dare say that this cry was not only a crying out in fear, but also a powerful crying out to and before the LORD. It’s worth noting and pointing out that this cry and this crying out to the LORD would be marked by a different sound, as the sound of the trumpet would be heard as the priests would change the sound there in the midst of the battle. CHANGE YOUR SOUND! CHANGING THE SOUND! Please don’t miss this, for I am convinced that there are a great number of men and women right who might find themselves surrounded by enemies and adversaries on all sides, and who might very well find the battle before them, as well as the battle behind them. If there is one thing that we must realize when reading this passage it’s that the sound which was heard in the midst of the battle, and the sound which was heard in the midst of the children of Judah would change, as it would move from a cry to a shout. Oh, I can’t help but get the strong sense that there are men and women right now who find themselves facing an enemy and adversary before them, and even an enemy and adversary behind them, and while it is absolutely and entirely okay to cry out to the LORD in the midst of the battle, there must come a point in the midst of the battle, and there must come a point in the midst of the cry that the sound which is heard in your prayer closet, the sound which is heard in the sanctuary, the sound which is heard in your car as you’re driving, the sound which is heard as you’re perhaps in the open field, as the sound which is heard on the shores of a beach or lake, or wherever you might find yourself—that sound must change and experience this radical transformation as you move beyond the cry to the shout, and as you change the sound in the midst of the battle.

It’s worth noting that at the Red Sea the children of Israel would cry out to Moses when they saw the sea before them and the Egyptians behind them, and the LORD would not only part the waters and bring them through, but He would also use those same waters to utterly destroy the Egyptians which pursued them in the wilderness. When they came to Jericho, however, there would be a different strategy that would be employed, for part of the strategy would be silence—and not only silence, but also silence for a full six days as they would march around the city one time each of those first six days. On the seventh day, however—and after marching around the city seven times on the seventh day, the silence of six days would give way to the shout of the seventh. WHEN THE SILENCE OF SIX DAYS GIVES WAY TO THE SHOUT OF THE SEVENTH DAY! THE SHOUT OF THE SEVENTH DAY! WHEN THE SOUND OF SILENCE GIVES WAY TO THE SOUND OF THE SHOUT! There at Jericho the sound of the silence would ultimately give way to the sound of the shout, while during the days of Abijah and the men of Judah the sound of the cry would give way to the sound of the shout. Oh please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this, for not only did the LORD never intend, nor destine the children of Israel to march in silence forever, so also was it not meant for the children of Judah to cry out and to cry unto the LORD forever. Eventually the silence outside the walls of Jericho would give way to the shout of the seventh, and eventually the cry in the midst of the battle would give way to the shout before the LORD. We must get this within the depths of our soul, for I believe with all my heart the Spirit of the living God is calling for us to change the sound we make, for He is bringing us beyond the noise we made and into the noise we make. BEYOND THE NOISE WE MADE AND INTO THE NOISE WE MAKE! There is a sound and there is a noise we made—whether it be silence or an actual cry before the LORD—and yet the sound and noise we made would be completely and utterly changed and transformed to a sound we make, as the sound of the cry and the sound of silence would give way to the sound of the shout in the midst of the camp. Oh that we would not forget and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and incredible reality, for there are those who right now are making one noise and one sound with their voices in the midst of the battle which is before and behind them, and the LORD is inviting them to change the sound they make. Perhaps the single greatest question you must ask yourself is whether or not you are willing to change the sound you made in order that you might make a different sound. You must realize and understand that the living God never intended for you to be silent forever, nor did the living God ever intend for you to cry forever, for He desired that your silence give way to a shout, and that your cry give way to a shout. Are you willing this day to allow your cry to give way to a shout, and are you willing to allow your silence to give way to a shout? SEVENTH DAY SHOUT! THE SHOUT OF THE SURROUNDED! THE SURROUNDED SHOUT! THE SEVENTH DAY SHOUT, THE SURROUNDED SHOUT! Oh that we would recognize this truly amazing and wonderful reality, for when the children of Israel shouted before the walls of Jericho the LORD caused the walls to fall before them and delivered the city into their hands. When the children of Judah shouted, the LORD God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before them, and the children of Israel fled before Judah. Moreover, God delivered them into their hand, and Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter. Oh that we would allow ourselves to be transformed from the silence of six days to the shout of the seventh, and from the cry at the beginning of the battle to the shout after.

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