What’s the difference between following God and following God wholeheartedly? Today we see some clues in the life of King Amaziah. Where are you at in your devotion to God? Our lack of complete and wholehearted faith in God shows in the things we fall back on…
1 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan; she was from Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly.
5 Amaziah called the people of Judah together and assigned them according to their families to commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds for all Judah and Benjamin. He then mustered those twenty years old or more and found that there were three hundred thousand men fit for military service, able to handle the spear and shield. 6 He also hired a hundred thousand fighting men from Israel for a hundred talents of silver.
7 But a man of God came to him and said, “Your Majesty, these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the Lord is not with Israel—not with any of the people of Ephraim. 8 Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow.”
9 Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?”
The man of God replied, “The Lord can give you much more than that.”
10 So Amaziah dismissed the troops who had come to him from Ephraim and sent them home. They were furious with Judah and left for home in a great rage.
11 Amaziah then marshaled his strength and led his army to the Valley of Salt, where he killed ten thousand men of Seir.
14 When Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought back the gods of the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down to them and burned sacrifices to them. 15 The anger of the Lord burned against Amaziah, and he sent a prophet to him, who said, “Why do you consult this people’s gods, which could not save their own people from your hand?”
16 While he was still speaking, the king said to him, “Have we appointed you an adviser to the king? Stop! Why be struck down?”
So the prophet stopped but said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.”
2Chronicles 25:1-2, 5-11, 14-16
King Amaziah of Judah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly… Okay, what’s the difference? What’s the difference between following God and following God wholeheartedly? And where am I at in my devotion to God?
Before we get into Amaziah’s situation, I will never forget being told in a group setting to stand up and reach our hands up as high as we could get them. And then, with everyone’s hands as high as they could go, the speaker said, “Now reach higher.” And we did. We could all reach higher than our highest. Which tells me my heart could be more wholly devoted.
Amaziah was weak in the faith department. He was going to war and had hired 100,000 fighting men from Israel in the north. God spoke to him to send the troops back – the Lord was not with Israel, and so if Judah went forward with them, they would lose. God’s power would be their victory – not mercenaries for hire. Amaziah did not respond with faith. He responded with, “What about the money I paid for them?” His faith was weak and his heart less than wholly devoted.
After defeating the Edomites in the power of God, Amaziah brought back the idols of the people of Seir and set up altars to them to make offerings and burn incense. Amaziah’s faith was fickle. He was easily swayed to worship idols after having an amazing interaction with God, who sent home 100,000 fighters and still delivered the victory.
Pride was getting in his way. When the prophet confronted him, Amaziah silenced him, asking, “Have we appointed you an advisor to the king?” Actually, it’s the other way around. God appointed you to be king, Amaziah, and he can unappoint you just as fast… Shortly thereafter, Amaziah’s kingdom fell to Israel from the north. It was God’s will and plan.
Sometimes we grab ahold of the very things which we know are against God and don’t even work for others, and we think those idols will work for us. Or we just have to have them.
Our lack of complete and wholehearted faith in God shows in the things we fall back on.
In what area of your life do you need to be more wholehearted toward God? Listen to him. Trust him. Follow him.