Amaziah, son of Joash, king of Israel.
His story is not so illustrious. In fact, the Bible records the following of him: “Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.” (2 Chron. 25:2 NLT). Nonetheless, part of Amaziah’s story weighed heavily on my heart this morning…
Amaziah was preparing the people to go to war against Edom (See2 Chron. 25:5-12). He assembled his army of 300,000 troops from the people of Judah and Benjamin, but when this didn’t seem like enough to him, he went out and paid 7,500 pounds of silver to hire 100,000 Israeli troops, experienced fighting men from the northern kingdom. Incidentally, these men were also longstanding enemies of Judah…
As I read this, I was reminded of my longstanding difficulties with becoming overwhelmed in times of high stress. Yes, I could relate to Amaziah. So often I “hire Israelis” — in the form of working through my lunch hour, going to work early, refusing relaxation time with my family, etc. In fact, I had done that just the day before God gave me this message. What could be the harm?
It seemed that God wasn’t pleased with this hire of Israeli troops. Amaziah received a visitor, an unnamed “man of God”, with a message: “Your Majesty, do not hire troops from Israel, for the Lord is not with Israel. He will not help those people of Ephraim! If you let them go with your troops into battle, you will be defeated by the enemy no matter how well you fight. God will overthrow you, for he has the power to help you or to trip you up.” (2 Chron. 25:7-8 NLT).
Now I would have been upset by such a message. When someone tells me something like, “Don’t worry about the dishes. There will be plenty of time to do them!” or “The grass will still be there next week. You don’t have to stress about cutting it”, I tend to snap at that person…something along the lines of, “What? Now the dishes are going to start doing themselves?” or “I suppose the grass will stop growing between now and next week?”
Amaziah was no different from me, for he was also upset. After all, he had just emptied his treasury to hire these troops: “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?” (vs. 9a NLT).It is God’s response to Amaziah that caught and held my attention: “The Lord is able to give you much more than this!” (vs. 9b NLT)
Talk about a Godly rebuke! It was kind of like when Jesus turned to his disciples so many times and said, “Oh you of little faith!” (SeeMatt. 8:26,14:31, etc)! And as I thought about working through lunch, staying late and coming in early the next morning, I could hear God saying to me, “What? You don’t trust me to provide enough time if you take your lunch? If you go to work on time instead of early? If you spend some quality time with your family? Quality time doing ministry work? Quality time…with…Me? Oh you of little faith!”
Amaziah was obedient at this point. He sent the men of Israel away, and he and his 300,000 Judean troops defeated Edom quite soundly (See2 Chron. 25:11-12); and I decided that morning that I would be obedient as well. I would go to work on time, I would take a lunch break, I would leave on time, and I would spend some quality time with my family.
The entire incident with the Israeli troops did have its repercussions, however…“Meanwhile, the hired troops that Amaziah had sent home raided several of the towns of Judah between Samaria and Beth-horon. They killed 3,000 people and carried off great quantities of plunder.” (vs. 13 NLT).
I know that my own lack of faith in God’s provision also has repercussions. After taking things into my own hands the day before, I had come home with a major headache and a less-than-sweet attitude that had come very close to ruining everyone’s evening. Fortunately I have a praying family, and their unspoken prayers had raised my spirit and brought me out of the depression and self-pity that had already overtaken me.
Yes, hiring those Israeli troops and skipping lunch are both in the same class: Acts of self-reliance instead of trusting in God. The good news is that when we repent, our loving Father still comes through. Nonetheless, our poor choices have repercussions. How much better for both Amaziah and me to have simply trusted in God in the first place instead of trying to “fix” things on our own.
God loves us. No matter how great or small the things are that we are up against, He will take care of each one. Even when our lack of faith causes us to seek reliance on some other source, He is still there to take care of our problems the moment we repent. How much better, however, it would be to simply trust in Him from the beginning…
But wait. Would my decision to trust in God that day bear fruit? After all, things at work were still out of control…Join us on Tuesday for Amaziah’s Mistake, Part 2.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Amaziah’s Mistake…And Mine Too…” mini-series, please clickhere.)