Throughout the books of 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings we find chapter after chapter of the legacies of the Kings of Judah and Israel. It’s quite tedious to read and a bit confusing at times with all the names, wars and family trees, but one theme runs through all of their stories ~ They either “did what was right in the sight of the Lord” and were blessed and provided protection or “they did what was evil in the Lord’s sight” and found themselves subject to conspiracy, war and turmoil. And then came Amaziah . . .
Amaziah became king when he was 25 years old and reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan; she was from Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the LORD’s sight but not wholeheartedly. 2 Chronicles 25:1-2
We are told that Amaziah did what was right, but not “wholeheartedly”. This word caught my eye and I was convicted in my heart as I read it. The definition of wholeheartedly is, “marked by unconditional commitment, unstinting devotion, or unreserved enthusiasm” (thefreedictionary.com). We find that Amaziah followed the ways of the Lord when he executed the two servants who had murdered his father (v.3), but did not have their children put to death “because—as it is written in the Law, in the book of Moses, where the LORD commanded—“Fathers must not die because of children, and children must not die because of fathers, but each one will die for his own sin.” (v.4)
However, when faced with an intimidating battle he quickly brought in the “gods of the Seirites and set them up as his gods. He worshiped them and burned incense to them.” (v.14) He knew the ways and laws of the Lord and had obviously tried to live by them and honor them at one point, but when the going got tough he turned to idols. He wasn’t serving with his whole heart!
So the LORD’s anger was against Amaziah, and He sent a prophet to him, who said, “Why have you sought a people’s gods that could not deliver their own people from your hand?” (v.15) Why did Amaziah turn from the Lord? I wonder if his faith started to falter when faced with death or the fear of losing his power? Did he feel like God wasn’t enough and thought he needed some back-up? Was he overcome with peer pressure from the idol worshippers that surrounded him? He was on the right track at some point and I wonder what happened or how his heart changed to make him stumble and not serve the Lord wholeheartedly.
Amaziah’s story resonates with me. I think of how often I have let pride, the illusion of control and a lack of faithfulness cause me to stumble and not serve God with my whole heart. Sure, I have good intentions, but then I let the doubt, fear, anger, resentment, pride or other idol have its way with me and my whole heart turns to just three-quarters or a half. I consider the anger that God had for Amaziah and how once he turned his back on the Lord and stopped following Him, “a conspiracy was formed against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. However, men were sent after him to Lachish, and they put him to death there. (v. 27)
We will falter, fail and flee sometimes, but our God is always calling us back to Him. We don’t have to keep running. We need only turn our hearts back and place our eyes on Him to return under His wing of love, forgiveness and protection. Being a Christian doesn’t make us perfect, but it does make us forgiven and reconciled back to Christ. If you have turned from the ways of the Lord, as Amaziah did, it isn’t to late to turn back and serve God wholeheartedly once again. His greatest gift and desire for us is the redemption He alone can offer through the blood of His son Jesus. Will you accept that gift today?