There is much knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to be gained from reading the history of the Kings of Judah and Israel. The accounts of these Kings contain more than just their life and death. Within the chapters of Kings and Chronicles we learn about leadership, trust, pride, humility, discernment, the power of God, and much more.
From reading the accounts of the Kings, there is one salient principle that reoccurs over and over:
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
The following account of King Amaziah serves as a perfect example of such a precept which should increase our understanding:
2 Chronicles 25
King James Version (KJV)
1 Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.
5 Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield
6 He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver.
7 But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the Lord is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim.
8 But if thou wilt go, do it; be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down.
9 And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this.
10 Then Amaziah separated them, to wit, the army that was come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again: wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger.
11 And Amaziah strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and went to the valley of salt, and smote of the children of Seir ten thousand.
12 And other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces.
This story is truly one of self reflection. The first thing we learned about King Amaziah is that “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart” (2 Chronicles 25:2). This means that he was probably keeping the laws of God but still had the tendancy of doing his own will instead of the will of God. This shows us that serving God, is not just about keeping the sabbaths and dietary law (even though they are important). Rather, it is about a complete renewal of our carnal mind through putting off all thoughts, words, and actions that are contrary to the “perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Thus, there is always room for our individual improvement. It also shows us that God will work with us despite our issues. Therefore, we must desire to be holy and perfect. It is good to pray that the Lord has mercy on us, and make in us, a clean heart which is necessary for pleasing God (see Psalm 51).
One problem with King Amaziah was that he did not enquire of the Lord before he mustered up the hosts to battle. This shows us that we can have knowledge of the true and living God, yet lack the wisdom to make good decisions. If we want to ensure that we are doing the right thing, we must always consult the Lord before we act. If not, the consequences can be fatal. Hence we must keep in mind that the God of Israel has told us that:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
Many people are beginning to realize that the majority of the beliefs, traditions, and doctrines of mainstream Christianity are completely contrary to the gospel of Christ. This will lead many to reject the pagan customs of Sun-day worship, Christmas, and Easter and start keeping the Lord’s sabbath and feast days as commanded. However, despite this knowledge, people may have a tendency to still act in accordance to their flesh because it feels good or they might think they are right in doing so. By doing this, they are ignoring scriptures like Proverbs 14:12 and Isaiah 55:8.
The above account of King Amaziah has also shown that God is merciful and fair. God always sends his servants to warn us of our errors. He always gives us an opportunity to correct our ways, even after we make a bad decision.
For example, there are people that may be striving to serve God according to his laws, but are battling with issues of lust. This may end up in hasty pre-marital sex, which is an act of fornication. When you lay with a person you become “one flesh” and thus this sacred act should only occur with one’s spouse (1 Corinthians 6:16). That is why if one has pre-marital sex it is considered a deadly sin in the eyes of God. However, God is merciful and has told us that we can rectify our deadly sin by getting married to the person we slept with (Exodus 22:16). Now, a person may not know this, and question the will of God after hearing such a solution. For whatever reason, it may “seem right” not to follow God’s ways. We may want to look for a way not to do God’s will. King Amaziah probably thought he could get away with going up to battle with his extra soldiers which is why he asked questions about the money he had spent for them (2 Chronicles 25:9). But if we want to be in good terms with God, we will obey him regardless of our own thoughts! Sometimes we may not be aware of the consequences and solutions of our actions, but just as God sent his priest to show King Amaziah the consequence and solution to his bad decisions, he will do the same for us.
So what should we do in such cases when we have found out that we are wrong? We are to do what King Amaziah did! He made a very wise decision because although he was upset and had spent much money, and although he questioned the solution to his bad decisions, he still HUMBLED himself, RECEIVED CORRECTION, and OBEYED the Lord. He could have easily rejected the Word of God, just like the many wicked kings of Israel and Judah. However, he was warned, that if he did not take advantage of God’s grace and warning that, But if thou wilt go, do it; be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy (2 Chronicles 25:8). King Amaziah made the right decision by taking heed to the Word of God and as a result, he ended up defeating the Edomites (2 Chronicles 25:11).
Although King Amaziah was victorious in the end, this shows us that it will not always be easy to rectify our hasty and bad decisions. As we saw with the King, rushing into things can be extremely costly because he lost 100 shekels of silver. Furthermore, we must realize that “costs” are not always about money. Think about the 100,000 soldiers that came from the North, all the way to the South, all for nothing! The account says that “their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger” (2 Chronicles 25:10). Who knows how this ended up effecting their future relationship with the southern tribes of Judah!? Nonetheless, if we are given the opportunity to remedy an absent minded or carnal decision, by all means we are to do it no matter the cost! Therefore, we should learn that if we seek the Lord early in our decision making, we will avoid stress, pain, and destruction for ourselves and others.
Finally, a very important point that we should take away from this account, is that with God, nothing is impossible! This should give us an incentive to do his will! King Amaziah obviously assumed that mustering extra troops from Northern Israel would make his army stronger and would help him defeat the Edomites. We have learned that numbers is not the issue when dealing with God because the man of God reminded King Amaziah that “God hath POWER to help, and to cast down” (2 Chronicles 25:8). That is why we cannot just look at things with our physical eyes. We must not be guided by the flesh, rather we are to be led by the Spirit of God, because if God is for us, who can be against us? This should help us to always be mindful of the bigger picture and weigh the consequences of our actions.
God does not desire for any of his servants to perish (Ezekiel 18:23-24). Therefore, if we want to ensure that we succeed, we must never lean on our own understanding. Rather, we are to take heed to the Word and warnings of the Lord, humble ourselves, and seek to do Father’s will. If we do these things, we will end up victorious!