II Chronicles 25-27
And the pattern continues. By now you can probably recognize a pattern in the kings of Judah; some are good, some are bad, and some are both. This pattern continues with king Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham. The text clearly states that Amaziah, “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart.” Uzziah had a similar reign with a different conclusion, and Jotham had a relatively positive reign. There are two points that stand out separately in these texts that differ from the texts about the other kings. The first point is found in the language of a man of God in 25:9, “The man of God answered, ‘The LORD is able to give you much more than this.’” Surprisingly, while Amaziah obeys this word, the reader finds out that the discharged Israelites ransack Judah in anger. Why would God allow this to happen if Amaziah was obedient? The answer is found in 25:20, “But Amaziah would not listen, for it was of God, in order that he might give them into the hand of their enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom.” God knew the heart of Amaziah, that his obedience would not last. The truth that God is “able to give you much more” remains. The second point is found in the rebellion of Uzziah. Seemingly Uzziah is a far better king that Amaziah, but his pride (sound familiar? c.f chapter 16 “the fall of Asa”) is his downfall. What is unique regarding Uzziah is that his pride did not result in outright rebellion through idol worship, but inner rebellion. Uzziah was offered the chance to repent (v.18), but refused, thereafter being struck with leprosy. The old line comes to mind from the hymn “Come ye Sinners”… “If you tarry till your better, you will never come at all.” Uzziah tarried, and died in his rebellion. As a note of interest from the ESV commentary, “King Uzziah was not buried in the normal royal tombs of Jerusalem but in a field. A stone plaque was found in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, from the Second Temple period that bears the inscription, ‘Here were brought the bones of Uzziah, king of Judah. Do not open!’ It may be that the king’s bones were moved to the Mount of Olives many centuries after his death.”
Reflect: The line from 25:9, “The man of God answered, ‘The LORD is able to give you much more than this’” is particularly poignant. When faced with adversity (the temptation between paying for mercenaries and the Lord’s command to not ally with Israe), Amaziah made the right choice, and yet, “Amaziah would not listen, for it was of God, in order that he might give them into the hand of their enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom” (25:20). How might we apply this to our own lives? We are not kings of Israel or Judah and we certainly do not represent God to the people the way an Israelite king was supposed to represent God. Today, since the canon is closed, we don’t have prophetic words from prophets telling us how to act, yet, we can identify with the language and events of Amaziah. Often we feel like obedience will bring blessing, but sometimes we find ourselves “cursed.” Sometimes obedience can even make our lives appear worse. The story of Amaziah forces the reader to go deeper, to consider the heart. Amaziah had a heart in rebellion against God. Consider these questions: “Do you functionally operate in your daily life with the belief that right action equals an easy life?” “Do you get mad at God when he forces you to look deeper, into the motivations of your heart?” Take some time to pray and ask the Lord to search your heart. Ask the Lord to reveal the direction your heart is going.
Connect: Luke 6:45
45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
- Rev. Joseph Bianco
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.