Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lessons from the Battlefield, part 4: Amaziah the Half-Hearted

2 Chronicles 25:1-28


Amaziah was Uzziah’s father.  When he became king, he “did right in the eyes of the Lord, but not with a whole heart.”  He was willing to serve God on his schedule, but holding back a part of his heart eventually cost him dearly. 

Amaziah assembled a large army in Judah, but the strength God had given him didn’t seem enough.  He hired 100,000 valiant warriors from Israel to assist his army.  It seemed like a good idea.  He needed to enlarge his army and the men he hired were proven soldiers, known for being both brave and fierce.  A man of God, however, brought word that the soldiers of Israel were not to accompany Judah’s army.  “God is not with them,” he said.  If Amaziah allowed them to fight with him, he would be defeated.  Amaziah’s unholy alliance would cost him dearly if he did not abandon it.    

Amaziah was worried about his investment, and argued that he had already paid them a substantial amount of money.  “Let it go,” the man of God said.  “God has more to give you than 100,000 talents of silver.”  He implied that, unless Amaziah obeyed, he would forfeit all the blessings God had planned.  Amaziah did exactly what the prophet said.  He dismissed the soldiers and sent them home.  

God did give him the victory he needed, but, unbelievably, although Amaziah had thoroughly defeated the army of Seir, he took the idols/gods of Seir and set them up as his own.  He abandoned the Lord and began to worship the foreign idols. A prophet came to him.  “Amaziah, can’t you tell that these ‘gods’ couldn’t save their own people?  How can they help you?” he asked.  “Shut up!” he replied.  “I didn’t ask you for your advice!”  “God will destroy you for this,” the prophet warned.  

Amaziah was determined to do things his way, and he wanted a fight.  He eventually talked Joab of Israel into fighting and, as he was warned, Amaziah was defeated.  He was taken hostage, Jerusalem was looted, and the wealth of the temple was taken as spoil.  

Amaziah spent the rest of his life as a captive rather than in the luxury of his palace.  The king became a prisoner, not because of chance events but because he wanted to go his own way.  The part of his heart held back from God eventually cost him dearly.  

Are you following God with your “whole heart” or, like Amaziah, are you holding back part of your life, your heart?  Is there an area in your life that is “off limits” to God?  Amaziah found that the “off limits” area was far too costly.  What will your “off limits area” cost you?  Why not surrender to our Lord and let Him have His way with your life?