Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 14-15
Today’s Reflection: 2 Kings 14:8-10
8) Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us look one another in the face.” 9) And Jehoash king of Israel sent word to Amaziah king of Judah, “A thistle on Lebanon sent to a cedar on Lebanon, saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son for a wife,’ and a wild beast of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thistle. 10) You have indeed struck down Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Be content with your glory, and stay at home, for why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you?”
Amaziah was one of the good kings of Judah. He tried to do what was right in the sight of the Lord, as far as he understood it (2 Kings 14:3-4). He did seek vengeance against the people who had assassinated his father, but not against their families. It was often customary to kill not only enemies, but their family members who might seek vengeance. But Amaziah knew and obeyed the commandment of the Lord that family members should not be punished for the sins of others (2 Kings 14:5-6). He also sought vengeance against the Lord’s enemies outside Judah, defeating the Edomites (descendants of Esau) in battle (2 King 14:7).
Amaziah didn’t stop there. He challenged the king of Israel to meet him in battle. Many kings desired to reunited the separated kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and Amaziah was no different. Jehoash, king of Israel, cautioned Amaziah, suggesting his previous successes had caused him to become prideful. But Amaziah was insistent, so he led Judah’s army into battle against Jehoash and Israel’s army, and was soundly defeated. Amaziah was taken prisoner and Jerusalem was ransacked. Amaziah’s pride led to an unimaginably bad outcome for him and his people.
When God is leading us amazing things can happen. Successes in various areas of life—career, relationships, ministry, finance. But what happens if we lose sight of the fact that it’s God who is the giver of good things? It’s easy to begin to think we created our own good outcomes, that we’re responsible for our success, that we are the architects of our own lives and that we can accomplish whatever we please on our own. This happened to Amaziah. Here are a few pointers to keep this from happening to you:
1) Give God thanks for everything. Every good thing in your life comes from God. No amount of effort on your part could accomplish any good thing without Him. The very breath in your body is His. So give Him the glory for everything you’ve ever accomplished.
2) Recognize God as the one who guides your life. After the exodus, Israel was guided by the Lord as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If the pillar stayed, Israel stayed, whether for a day or for years. When the pillar moved, Israel moved. The 23 Psalm describes the Lord as a shepherd and us as sheep. A sheep only goes where its shepherd leads. These examples show the relationship God would like to have with us. One in which he guides every step of our lives.
3) Put every significant decision before the Lord. One of the things I love about David is his propensity to say to God, ‘should I go up or should I forebear’? Basically, when he had an idea he asked God, should I do this or not? Sometimes God would say yes, sometimes no, sometimes not yet or not that way. Everytime God’s answer was the right answer. Everytime.
4) Don’t assume previous success guarantees future success. Amaziah assumed his victory in battle over Edom meant he would succeed against Israel as well. But there was more to his victory than the factors he could see. The spiritual realm is at work behind the scenes, so rather than assume based on what you know, go to the one who is truly discerning. The Lord will tell you what you need to know and show you what you cannot see.
Proverbs 16:3 – Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.