2 Chronicles 12-16
(Rehoboam's Legacy)
May 8th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Click here for a print- friendly version

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Because Rehoboam was repentant, God’s anger was blunted, so he wasn’t totally destroyed. The picture wasn’t entirely bleak—there were some good things going on in Judah.

2 Chronicles 12:12 (MSG)

Summary of Chapters

These chapters continue the story of Rehoboam and relate the tale of his son and grandson who began to revive higher spiritual standards, but then slipped backwards again. Chapter 12 notes that Rehoboam abandoned the law of the LORD and subsequently was attacked by Egypt. But he then humbled himself before the LORD and avoided total destruction.

Rehoboam’s son, Abijah, succeeded him. He was confronted by the army of the northern kingdom, but the Chronicler reports that he strongly rebuked those people for following idols using their rent-a-priests: "Anyone who shows up with enough money to pay for it can be a priest! A priest of No-God (13:9 - MSG)!. By contrast, Abijah explained, Judah remained loyal to God and conducted worship the way God instructed, with the priests that he appointed. The scoundrels from the north tried a sneak attack during this speech, but “God delivered them into their hands (Chron 13:16 - NIV).”

Asa succeeded Abijah. He was the first of four reformers in Judah, later followed by Jehosophat, Hezekiah, and Josiah and also had some degree of military success (1). 2 Chronicles reports that Asa was inspired by the prophet Azariah, who delivered a speech reminiscent of David's second farewell in 1 Chronicles 28:9. Like David did in his speech, Azariah declared to that God would help those who were loyal:

    "Listen carefully, Asa, and listen Judah and Benjamin: God will stick with you as long as you stick with him. If you look for him he will let himself be found; but if you leave him he'll leave you. For a long time Israel didn't have the real God, nor did they have the help of priest or teacher or book. But when they were in trouble and got serious, and decided to seek God, the God of Israel, God let himself be found. At that time it was a dog-eat-dog world; life was constantly up for grabs—no one, regardless of country, knew what the next day might bring. Nation battered nation, city pummeled city. God let loose every kind of trouble among them.

    - 2 Chronicles 15:1-6 (MSG)

Asa did listen carefully on this occasion and responded by organizing a massive cleanup of false idols and a renewal of the covenant, "so the LORD gave them rest (Chron 15:15 NIV).” But when he was threatened by the northern tribes of Israel he forgot what he had heard and sought help from Aram instead of seeking help from God. Subsequently, the seer named Hanani warned Asa that he would be in trouble with God. He fought with his neighbors and his own people and died of a foot infection relatively young and was buried in the City of David.

Reflection and Application

God eased his judgment when Rehoboam confessed his sin – this event should remind us that we can repent even as we receive punishment.

In the earlier part of his career, Asa had a good track record of continuously welcoming the advice of people who were filled with the Spirit, and succeeded in his endeavors when he did so (for example, in 14:9-15). We should do likewise. Sometimes God reaches out to us directly, but other times he sends messengers. Sometimes the message is very direct, as it was for Asa, but in other cases it will be more subtle. When we embed ourselves in study and prayer then we are more likely to recognize these messages for us and can join God's team in victory.

Before he lost his way, Asa provided good examples of building physical defenses in all the cities during times of peace. We can learn from this example that we should build spiritual defenses against future temptation when times are good, because these are the times when we are most vulnerable.

The verses in 2 Chronicles 15:12-15 inspired English clergyman Philip Doddridge (1702-1751) to pen the hymn, "Rejoicing in our Covenant Engagement to God," which expresses the joy of a personal relationship with God. It was later renamed "O Happy Day that Fixed My Choice," which appears in the Methodist and Baptist Hymnals and has often been used in baptisms in the US and UK (2).

    O happy day, that fixed my choice
    On Thee, my Savior and my God!
    Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
    And tell its raptures all abroad.

    Happy day, happy day,
    When Jesus washed my sins away!
    He taught me how to watch and pray,
    and live rejoicing every day.
    Happy day, happy day,
    when Jesus washed my sins away!

In 1967 the song was re-arranged into a Gospel version written by Edwin Hawkins (August 18, 1943 - Current) that centered on the original refrain. This song won a Grammy and became a Gospel standard performed by a wide range of musicians, and allegedly influenced George Harrison's song titled "My Sweet Lord." "Oh Happy Day" was also featured in a variety of popular movies, including "Sister Act II" and "Secretariat."

But it all started with a verse written by the Chronicler during the Exile in Babylon, 2500 years ago. So when you hear this song on the radio or in movie, remember the occasion that inspired the original lyrics - a return to a covenant with God after a period of betrayal.

For your listening pleasure, here is a traditional version of "O Happy Day" on piano by an unknown artist with lyrics displayed and a live performance of the Gospel version sung by the Edwin Hawkins singers:

"O Happy Day," artist unknown

"O Happy Day," Edwin Hawkins Singers

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions

    1. What is the most formidable fortress or building that you have seen?
    2. How would you describe the wisdom of God?
    3. How can we build defenses against temptation?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, you are the strong fortress. We really don't know why sometimes we run away from you instead of towards you. Please help us to study your words and prepare ourselves to hear specific messages for us.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns


    (1) Tuell, Steven S. First and Second Chronicles, Interpretation, John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 2001, p 160
    (2) http://www.thedestinlog.com/articles/behind-15499-song-story.html, 5/7/12

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: 2 Chronicles 17-20 (Jehosophat’s Journey)

    Comments and Questions
    Please send your comments and questions to the author at ted@listeningforGod.org or share your comments or question via the Listening for God Twitter account

    Click to follow Listening for God(@listeningforgod)