2 Chronicles 25 Devotional
By Pastor Lawrence
Clearly there is something rotten in the state of Judah at this time. The previous king Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord but only during the days of Jehoida the priest; afterwards, he had a change of heart. Now his son Amaziah is said to have done what was right in the eyes of the Lord yet not with his whole heart. So, one king gives his heart to God for half of his reign and the other king gives half his heart to God throughout his reign. Obviously, neither situation is to be recommended and the life and reign of both kings came to a miserable end as a result.
When King David sought to hand over his scepter to his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:9 he gave him this charge: “know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.” Obviously, Solomon didn’t take that counsel to heart, for it wouldn’t be long before he turned to the worship of idols and to many forms of immorality, but eventually he came to his senses, repented and turned back wholeheartedly unto the Lord. These latter two kings did not. They both seemingly had a good start but did not finish well. Slowly, they turned away from the Lord, and when the Lord sent them prophets to correct and rebuke them, they cast off the Word of the Lord, which became their undoing.
Early in his reign, Amaziah brought justice to his father’s assassins but was careful to heed God’s command not to punish their children for the sins of their fathers. But when faced with an overwhelming enemy in the nation of Edom, the young king not trusting the Lord hired a hundred thousand conscripts from the wicked nation of Israel to shore up his troops, which did not please the Lord at all. And when the Lord sent a prophet to correct the king, he listened, but instead of immediately releasing these troops, he questioned the prophet about the loss of the hundred talents of silver that he had spent to acquire them. So, he went from worrying about power to worrying about money. Clearly, in both cases, he was not trusting God, but with the assurances of the prophet that the Lord was able to give much more than this, finally the king sent the men away and won a great victory.
Contrary to all expectations, though, after slaughtering more than twenty thousand Edomites, Amaziah brough home the idols of the Edomites and set them up as his gods and worshipped them. Of course, the Lord was very angry with the king and sent to him another prophet questioning this idiotic move. In response, the king questions the prophet’s right to even speak in his presence since he had not been appointed as a royal counselor, even threatening his life for challenging the decision of the king. And at that point, the prophet pronounced God’s woe upon the king for refusing to heed his counsel.
With poetic justice, the Lord would bring his judgment upon the king through the bad counsel he was willing to hear from his royal court to challenge the king of Israel. By provoking the king of Israel, Amaziah was greatly humiliated, being captured by him in battle, having some of the walls in Jerusalem torn down, and the silver and gold stolen from the temple and from the king’s palace. But even with this great defeat, the king did not return with all his heart unto the Lord, and as a result, the Lord had forsaken him, allowing a conspiracy to develop against him that would bring his life to a ruinous end.
Clearly, half-hearted obedience unto the Lord is not obedience at all. Even when he did what was right in the eyes of God, Amaziah did not do it for the right reasons. If you think about it, even wicked men will at times carry out the Lord’s will unbeknownst to them. In fact, even the devil carries out God’s commands but certainly not out of a love for the Lord. Thus, there is something much more important than just doing the right thing, and that is knowing and loving the right God. Of course, none of us loves the Lord perfectly in this way, which is why we trust and rest in Jesus alone for our salvation. But we also know that each of us is capable of walking away from the Lord at any moment and rejecting God’s counsel, which, again, is why we trust in Christ each day and not in our own strength or faithfulness. And this causes us to cry out like David did, saying, “create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” David had seen what had happened to the half-hearted King Saul, and feared the same thing might happen to him. And now we have seen what happened to successive kings who followed that same pattern. Now, as the apostle Paul says, we must remember that “these things happened to them as an example and they were written down for our instruction. Therefore, let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”