THE IMPOSSIBLE GOAL

Kings try every solution in Judah and Israel, and we see many different results demonstrated.  Amaziah takes his father’s place in Judah, and repeats many of his ways.

Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.  And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.  Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him, that he slew his servants that had killed the king his father.  But he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where the LORD 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.  2 Chronicles 25:1-4

Another young king begins to lead Judah in the right direction, yet his heart is not perfect.  This has always led the kingdom to a long downhill slide.  He executes judgment on his father’s killers without getting carried away.  He begins to organize the kingdom as well.

Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield.  He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver.  But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim.  But if thou wilt go, do it; be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down.  And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.  Then Amaziah separated them, to wit, the army that was come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again: wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger.  2 Chronicles 25:5-10

So Amaziah has three hundred thousand troops, and feels compelled to hire another one hundred thousand from Israel.  This displeases God, who points out their idolatry.  He is told to let them have the money and to send them home.  The army from Israel is insulted and angry with Amaziah now.

And Amaziah strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and went to the valley of salt, and smote of the children of Seir ten thousand.  And other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces.  But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle, fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Bethhoron, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil.  2 Chronicles 25:11-13

Judah has victory in battle, but the angry army from Israel turned against Judah now.  The Israelis attacked the cities of Judah.  Their act may be justified in part by Amaziah’s own idolatry.

Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was 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 unto them.  Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?  And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king’s counsel? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel.  2 Chronicles 25:14-16

If this situation isn’t bad enough, Amaziah has decided to backslide to the gods of wood and stone.  A prophet challenges his decision to take gods that had already failed his enemies.  The king threatens to strike the prophet and he is warned of his pending doom. 

Then Amaziah king of Judah took advice, and sent to Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us see one another in the face.  And Joash 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 thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.  Thou sayest, Lo, thou hast smitten the Edomites; and thine heart lifteth thee up to boast: abide now at home; why shouldest thou meddle to thine hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee?  But Amaziah would not hear; for it came of God, that he might deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom.  2 Chronicles 25:17-20

This states that Amaziah took advice, not that it was good advice.  So he listened to fools who told him to challenge the king of Israel.  King Joash of Israel (Same name as Amaziah’s father) points out how Amaziah is prideful in this challenge.  He describes an offensive weed that presumes to be equal in stature to the mighty cedar trees of Lebanon.  He suggests that the proud thistle is to be destroyed by a wild beast.  He suggests that a minor victory over lesser enemies does not guarantee victory against the armies of Israel.  King Joash tries to warn him away from this war against their own family who are the armies of this divided Israel. 

A wise person would react to only a single word of wisdom, but Amaziah is not one of these.  In this case God has already decided his doom because he had surrendered to false gods.  A good king has been tempted by pride, and this only because he was previously tempted to abandon the God of Abraham for idols. 

So Joash the king of Israel went up; and they saw one another in the face, both he and Amaziah king of Judah, at Bethshemesh, which belongeth to Judah.  And Judah was put to the worse before Israel, and they fled every man to his tent.  And Joash the king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Bethshemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits.  And he took all the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God with Obededom, and the treasures of the king’s house, the hostages also, and returned to Samaria.  2 Chronicles 25:21-24

The end of this is predictable; Judah is routed by Israel and they lose treasures from the house of God.  Amaziah outlived Joash of Israel, but there was no joy in this.  He had lost the blessing of God and the treasures of the temple.  Amaziah’s end comes in a conspiracy as his father’s did. 

And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years.  Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, behold, are they not written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel?  Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the LORD they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there.  And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.  2 Chronicles 25:25-28

How often do we know that salvation is available to people who just cannot see it?  The testimony of Jesus has been presented to western civilization for thousands of years.  Christian holidays proclaim the message and it does not reach the majority of our world. 

God does offer his invitation, and predestinates some to follow him.  We should keep this hope that we will offer the gospel to some who will receive it.  We obey to offer hope, and God prepares his lost sheep to know their master’s voice.  These scriptures will be the bread of life to his sheep.

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