Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 25:1-28. Let’s go!
2 Chronicles 25:1-4 (NIV) 1 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Jehoaddin; she was from Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly. 3 After the kingdom was firmly in his control, he executed the officials who had murdered his father the king. 4 Yet he did not put their sons to death, but acted in accordance with what is written in the Law, in the Book of Moses, where the LORD commanded: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sins.”
On verses 1-4: Amaziah takes over the throne of Judah after the death of his father Joash. One of his first orders of business is to execute the officials who had murdered his father. He does not put their sons to death because in Deuteronomy 24:16 it says that children are not to be put to death for their fathers’ sins, and vice versa, and that each is die for his own sins.
Similarly, the reason why we were destined to die and to be separated from God wasn’t because of Adam’s sin alone, but because of our sin. The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). So don’t blame our separation from God on Adam; the fact is that all of us deserved death because of our own sin. But praise God that in His mercy God sent His Son Jesus, who voluntarily gave up His life to pay for our sin so that we no longer need to be separated from Him again.
2 Chronicles 25:5-8 (NIV) 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 ready 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, “O king, 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.”
On verses 5-8: Amaziah musters 300,000 of his own men to go with him into battle against the Edomites (called the people of Seir). For extra help, Amaziah pays over a ton of silver to hire an additional 100,000 fighting men from Israel. Yet God sends a prophet to Amaziah to warn him not to let those 100,000 men from Israel march with him; otherwise Amaziah will end up in defeat.
What can we learn from this? Amaziah thought, “I could use all the help that I can get”, whereas God responded, “All you need is the help that I provide”. Before you go around enlisting the help of everyone you know, ask God, “Whose help do I really need?”
2 Chronicles 25:9-13 (NIV) 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. 12 The army of Judah also captured ten thousand men alive, took them to the top of a cliff and threw them down so that all were dashed to pieces. 13 Meanwhile the troops that Amaziah had sent back and had not allowed to take part in the war raided Judean towns from Samaria to Beth Horon. They killed three thousand people and carried off great quantities of plunder.
On verses 9-13: Even though it did not make complete sense to him, Amaziah listens to the Lord’s advice and dismisses the Israelite troops he hired. At first, Amaziah can’t stop thinking about the silver he would lose by following the Lord’s advice, but the prophet reassures him, “The Lord can give you much more than that.” Eventually Amaziah realizes why the Lord told him not to let the 100,000 men from Israel march with him; it’s because those 100,000 men could not be trusted. For after Amaziah pays them the silver and dismisses them, those 100,000 men go off and attack Amaziah’s own people, killing 3,000 of them. There’s no telling what greater damage those 100,000 men could have done if Amaziah had allowed them to march with him. In this case, Amaziah was better off losing a little than losing a lot.
What can we learn from this? When you lose anything because you followed the Lord’s leading, remember that God is not out to short change you. His plans are to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. So whenever God tells you to do something that doesn’t make sense to you, trust God anyway and believe that His plans are for the best.
2 Chronicles 25:14-16 (NIV) 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.”
On verses 14-28: After defeating the Edomites, Amaziah brings back the Edomites’ idols and begins worshiping them himself. Despite being rebuked by the Lord through a prophet, Amaziah refuses to listen. He challenges Jehoash king of Israel to a fight and loses. As a result his city is broken down and looted and Amaziah himself becomes a prisoner of Israel. From that time on, Amaziah is like a fugitive on the run and is eventually killed by conspirators.
What can we learn from this? When we worship other gods and refuse to listen to the Lord’s warnings, we end up picking fights we were never meant to fight and being imprisoned by our enemies. True strength and freedom come from trusting the Lord and listening to His Word.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans for me are always the best. May I trust You and listen to Your advice, even when it doesn’t make complete sense to me. For You are always working in my life for my good and for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!