2 Chronicles 25:2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.
From “Wholly Devoted”, a devotional from Faith Fellowship Church of Broken Arrow, OK
After the reigns of King David and King Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel divided into two separate Kingdoms called Judah and Israel. It’s a little tricky to keep straight because the southern Kingdom of Judah had all the things we associate with Israel: Jerusalem is there, the Temple is there, and the Kings are the descendants of David. The northern Kingdom had none of these things, but retained the name of Israel.
The Kingdom of Judah had been through rocky times. King Amaziah took the throne after his father was assassinated. In fact, the last 3 rulers before Amaziah were all murdered … so he had good reason to be looking over his shoulder as he took the throne. According to the text, Amaziah had his father’s murderers executed, but he did not execute the sons of those assassins. That was a tactic used by most monarchs as a “security measure.” But Amaziah was obeying the Law of Moses, which said that sons were not to be punished for their fathers’ sins. In other words, so far Amaziah did what was right in God’s eyes.
Next we see Amaziah preparing to attack the bordering nation of Edom. In order to “beef up” the army, he hired 100,000 mercenaries from Israel. These were big, tough professional warriors. But the problem was that Israel had become unfaithful to God. God’s favor was no longer with them. And to make an alliance with an ungodly nation was against God’s law. So, a prophet came and reminded Amaziah, “It’s God who has the power to help you or overthrow you. Get rid of those mercenaries or you will lose God’s favor.”
Amaziah paid attention, but he couldn’t help hedging a bit. After all, he’d paid those mercenaries up-front and he didn’t want to lose his investment. Verse 9 tells us: Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?” This is the first hint we get that Amaziah was not whole-hearted in his desire to obey God. Now, it’s true that Amaziah was talking about a lot of money. 100 talents would be about 4 tons of precious metal. At current silver prices that would be well over $500,000 dollars.
Amaziah’s heart was set on earthly, material concerns. But the prophet re-directed his mind to focus on God and his power: The man of God replied, “The LORD can give you much more than that.”
So Amaziah obeyed God. He dismissed the mercenaries (about 25% of his entire army). And … with God’s blessing … he won a decisive military victory. But then Amaziah does something that jolts us. Verse 14 tells us that he takes the idols from Edom and sets them up. And worse than that, he worships them! He has just won a great victory … obviously from God’s hand. He has every reason in the world to be praising God, and God alone. But instead he turns to idols. He appeared to be running the good race — then he made a sudden U-turn. It’s obvious that his heart has suddenly gone from LUKEWARM to downright COOL.
God’s prophet points out to Amaziah that what he’s done is not only wrong, it’s flat-out STUPID. If your army beat their army, isn’t that proof positive that your God is better than their gods?
But Amaziah’s heart was not turned toward God. Amaziah had been influenced by the godless culture around him. In those times, people believed that when a nation won a battle it was not because their gods were stronger but because the losers’ gods abandoned them and moved to the other side. By worshipping the idols, Amaziah was thanking them for “helping out” with his victory… as if the one true God could not have done it without them.
What is most disturbing about this account is that one minute Amaziah appeared to be serving God and the next minute he was blatantly bowing down to foreign idols.
Remember how the scripture summed up the condition of Amaziah’s heart: He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly. II Chronicles 25:2