2nd Chronicles 25 – AMAZIAH; When Wicked Rulers Do God’s Will & Receive God’s Judgement

The reign of King Amaziah is a case study in the governance of God as He superintends the affairs of nations. There are certain principles laid down in the twenty-nine years, when this man sat on the throne of David, that remain true today. As such, these principles sharpen our understanding of the providences of God. They teach us that God can raise up ungodly leaders to accomplish His purposes. In a most practical way these principles should encourage our hearts because the political affairs of this world are not under the control of Biden, Putin, Xi Jinping, Johnston, Macron or Merkel. When God permits wicked people to govern he can use them to accomplish His purposes through the good or the bad that they do. He can restrain their hand or He can let them loose. They can be instruments of healing and peace or they can be instruments of judgement and chastening, but unless they repent they too will experience the righteous judgement of a holy God.

The Westminster Confession of Faith deals with this very subject in a clear yet solemn manner:

“Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith, nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word, nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God.”

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 16 Section 7

Amaziah is an excellent yet tragic example of this truth. While he did well, on occasions, he never acted in faith because his heart was not committed to God. Therefore while God blessed the good that he did, those very acts on Amaziah’s part, only served to store up condemnation for His soul.

God punishes people for doing good, because in His sight, if there is no grace there is nothing good.

This is a challenge, a sobering challenge for our own hearts today. No amount of good works makes us pleasing to God, even natural goodness is a recipe for wrath if we do not act in faith, as recipients of saving grace.

Amaziah, despite the length of his reign, presided over a nation that was caught in the cyclone of inevitable decline. In so doing he continued in the path of the Kings who reigned post Jehoshaphat – Jehoram, Ahaziah and Joash.

Let us think about the particulars of his monarchy.

1: A Summary of his Reign

And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.

2nd Chronicles 25:2

This phrase, which refers, to the good which Amaziah did, emphasises his shortcomings. The good that he did was not done with a heart that was right in the sight of God.

Our attitude and our motivation tests our spirituality more than what we actually do.

God can raise up wicked men to accomplish His purpose but they will never do so with a sound heart.

2: His Execution of Justice

Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him, that he slew his servants that had killed the king his father. But he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin.

2nd Chronicles 25:3-4

He took a course of action, in executing those who assassinated his father Joash. While Joash had brought much evil upon himself, this did not justify the actions of those who had taken his life. While the assassins carried out the judgement of God, they were guilty of shedding innocent blood, and for this they were dealt with. But Amaziah was careful to apply the law showing mercy to the families of those concerned.

This incident teaches us the importance of law and justice in a God fearing society and that the shedding of innocent blood must always be met the full force of law.

3: His Military Campaign

A. Assembling his Army

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. He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver.

2nd Chronicles 25:5-6

In the days of Jehoshaphat, the king was able to assemble 1,000,000 soldiers (2nd Chronicles 17:14-19). In just a few generations the military weakness was such that Amaziah felt constrained to hire in 100,000 mercenaries from Israel, to the north.

Years of spiritual decline had resulted in military decline. When a nation forgets God, the prospects for that nation will diminish. Let us read these signs with alarm today!

B. His Reliance upon Israel

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. 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. 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.

2nd Chronicles 25:7-9

One of the features of the Book of Chronicles is the intervention of faithful and courageous servants of God.

An anonymous prophet warned the King of the consequences if he persisted with his actions of hiring in the godless mercenaries.

The ministers of Christ must be brave in calling this ungodly society to account for its forsaking of the law of God. There will always be hope when the trumpet of alarm is sounded, hope will be gone if the watchmen are silent.

Amaziah being a carnal man was more concerned with the wealth he would be wasting if he parted with these soldiers, their wages were paid in advance. But the man of God God uttered those timeless words:

The LORD is able to give thee much more than this

Let us always remind ourselves that the cost of not doing the will of God is infinitely greater than the cost of doing the will of God. Likewise His rewards surpass that which the world offers. With that encouragement let us continue to do what is right with courage and conviction regardless of the cost to reputation or wealth.

C. His Victory over the Edomites

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. 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. 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.

2nd Chroncicles 25:10-12

He was reluctant but he sent the mercenaries home and as a result Amaziah won a resounding victory. There was just enough godly men around Amazaih at this period, to keep him in the right place. We can never under estimate the value of wise and God fearing advice in the life of a nation.

D. The Rebellion by the Mercenaries

But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle, fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Bethhoron, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil.

2nd Chronicles 25:13

Even when we eventually do what is right, there will always be a price to pay for doing wrong. Amaziah brought these mercenaries into Judah, he had to send them away but such was their anger at being prevented from sharing in the spoils of war, they plundered the cities of Judah, weakening even further an already weakened nation. Sin always exacts its price…it never fails to do so!

3: His Elevation of Edom’s Idols

Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them. Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand? And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king’s counsel? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel.

2nd Chronicles 25:14-16

It was common practice for ancient kings to humble defeated nations by stealing their gods. It was an attempt to remove moral and spiritual power from the enemy. Despite all that Amaziah had achieved, this one action reveals the state of his heart.

He was a man of the world who did not fear God. A leader may appear to do well and follow a good path but the moment will arrive when the true condition of his heart is revealed. So it is for all of us…let us not be found wanting.

4: His Defeat by Israel

And Judah was put to the worse before Israel, and they fled every man to his tent. And Joash the king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Bethshemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits. And he took all the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God with Obededom, and the treasures of the king’s house, the hostages also, and returned to Samaria.

2nd Chronicles 25:22-24

Amaziah spent the final fifteen years of his reign as a servant of Joash of Israel. The words of the prophet were coming to pass.

4: His Final Humiliation

Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the LORD they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there. And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.

2nd Chronicles 25:27-28

His demise is linked with his failure to follow the LORD.

Whatever good we feel that we have done, let us inspect our hearts and our thoughts today, to ensure that we will follow through to the end, running with patience the race that is set before us.

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