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The Psychology of Amaziah (2 Chronicles 25)

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CHAPTER 25 Oct. 28 
Amaziah’s Incomplete Devotion
Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. 2He did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, but not with a complete heart. 3Now it happened that when the kingdom was established to him, he killed his servants who had killed the king his father. 4But he didn’t put their children to death, but did according to that which is written in the law in the book of Moses, as Yahweh 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. 5Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and ordered them according to their fathers houses, under captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, even all Judah and Benjamin. He numbered them from twenty years old and upward, and found them three hundred thousand chosen men, able to go forth to war, who could handle spear and shield. 6He hired also one hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for one hundred talents of silver. 7A man of God came to him, saying, O king, don’t let the army of Israel go with you; for Yahweh is not with Israel, with all the children of Ephraim. 8But if you will go, go and take action, be strong for the battle. God will overthrow you before the enemy; for God has power to help, and to overthrow. 9Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? The man of God answered, Yahweh is able to give you much more than this. 10Then Amaziah separated them, the army that had come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again. Therefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in fierce anger. 11Amaziah took courage, and led forth his people, and went to the Valley of Salt, and struck ten thousand of the children of Seir. 12The children of Judah carried away ten thousand alive, and brought them to the top of the rock, and threw them down from the top of the rock, so that they all were broken in pieces. 13But the men of the army whom Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle, fell on the cities of Judah, from Samaria even to Beth Horon, and struck of them three thousand, and took much spoil. 
Amaziah’s Spiritual Decline
14Now it happened, after that Amaziah had 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 to them. 15Therefore the anger of Yahweh was kindled against Amaziah, and He sent to him a prophet who said to him, Why have you sought after the gods of the people, which have not delivered their own people out of your hand? 16It happened, as he talked with him, that the king said to him, Have we made you one of the king’s counsellors? Stop! Why should you be struck down? Then the prophet stopped, and said, I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this, and have not listened to my counsel. 17Then Amaziah king of Judah consulted his advisers, and sent to Joash, the son of Jehoahaz the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us face off against each other. 18Joash king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon saying, Give your daughter to my son as his wife. Then a wild animal that was in Lebanon passed by, and trampled down the thistle. 19You say to yourself that you have struck Edom; and your heart lifts you up to boast. Now stay at home. Why should you meddle with trouble, that you should fall, even you, and Judah with you? 20But Amaziah would not listen; for it was of God, that He might deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they had sought after the gods of Edom. 21So Joash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah confronted each other at Beth Shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 22Judah was defeated by Israel; and they fled every man to his tent. 23Joash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash the son of Jehoahaz, at Beth Shemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits. 24He took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in God’s house with Obed-Edom, and the treasures of the king’s house, the hostages also, and returned to Samaria. 25Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years. 26Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, behold, aren’t they written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel? 27Now from the time that Amaziah turned away from following Yahweh, they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem. He fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish, and killed him there. 28They brought him on horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of David.


25:3 When the kingdom was established to him, he killed his servants- This sentence structure is common in the record of the kings; when they became strong, once they were set up in life, then they did wrong (11:17; 12:1; 17:1; 21:4; 26:8,16). Some people never get set up in life or become financially or domestically ‘strong’ as they would wish, and resent it. But remember this formula; perhaps if that had been granted them by God, they would turn away from Him. Amaziah repeated the pattern of Jehoram, who became strong in his kingdom, and then killed his brothers (21:4). Again we see how God intended Amaziah, as He intends all of us, to perceive how we should be and live on the basis of the examples in the history of His people. This is why reading the records of these kings is so valuable for us; and more than valuable, God intends us to be familiar with the history He has recorded and carefully preserved for so long, and learn from it, applying it specifically in our lives.
25:4 Despite committing murder after the pattern of wicked Jehoram (21:4), he was careful to be obedient to part of God’s law. We so often justify wrong behaviour by mixing it with some element of legalistic obedience to God’s word, just as we see in the account of the judgment and crucifixion of Jesus, with the Jews careful to obey parts of the Mosaic Law in detail- whilst totally missing the bigger picture
25:6 Jehoshaphat (19:2) and other kings of Judah had always gotten into trouble by making military alliances with Israel; but still the lesson wasn’t learnt, spiritual history wasn’t allowed by Amaziah to really have a practical impact upon him.
25:8 But if you will go, go and take action, be strong for the battle- A classic example of the downward spiral, whereby God pushes people along the road of self-destruction if this is the path they choose.
25:13 We might be surprised at this; Amaziah had paid money to hire this army, but in humility to God’s word had dismissed them and as it were wasted his money, just because God had told him not to use them but trust in Him. But then they do so much damage to Amaziah’s kingdom. Perhaps this was because his obedience to God’s word was only external, and not with a complete heart (:2). Likewise Amaziah won a great victory by faith in Yahweh, but immediately adopted pagan gods (:14,15). 
25:17 Earlier Amaziah had wanted to make an alliance with Israel (:6,7); now he picks an argument with them and purposefully provokes a war with them. This unstable, inconsistent attitude arose from his incomplete devotion to God (:2). The instability and inconsistency evident in so many aspects of so many lives is reflective of a lack of steady, consistent devotion to the God who is eager to be our rock.