Christianity · God · greed · humanity · idolatry · Israel · Judah · life · Old Testament · religion

How a fortunate turn can become a crash & burn

Hindenberg--creative commons licenseWhen God helps us score a major victory against an obstacle in life, it can be an exuberant experience. Such a moment can be somewhat dangerous as well, and if we’re not careful, we can become our own worst enemy. This is what happened to King Amaziah of Judah right after God helped him annihilate the idolatrous Edomites in 2 Chronicles 25. Instead of giving glory to God when the Lord made it clear that Amaziah would not have won the battle without him, Amaziah took the credit all for himself and even went so far as to snub Jehovah right after the victory, as we see here:

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.

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, … 

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? 2 Chron. 25:14-19

Amaziah, full of pride, tossed out all common sense and embraced the powerless, false gods of the losers instead of rejoicing in the true and living God who made him a winner. Concerned for Amaziah, even though Amaziah basically told him to get lost, Jehovah sent a prophet to plead with the king. But it was to no avail as Amaziah’s pride led him to not only reject the prophet for not being a member of his counsel, he also went so far as to tell the prophet he would kill him if he didn’t cease from giving God’s message. The prophet quickly ended the conversation with the warning Amaziah would be destroyed.

As if that weren’t enough, the king decided to pick a fight with Joash the king of Israel after his advisers encouraged him to do so. This could have been in response to Israel’s soldiers exacting revenge on some cities of Judah in 2 Chron. 25:13 after Amaziah sent them home by God’s commandment. But instead of doing it to seek justice for his people, Amaziah wanted the war to pridefully show how tough he was and God used the pagan king Joash to point this out to Amaziah. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t listen and the remainder of his reign was marked by defeats and ended with his assassination. Amaziah began his reign with a fortunate turn from God, yet it all ended with a crash and burn because of his idolatrous pride.

Have you ever witnessed a Christian or Christian group like Amaziah? They start off with great godly victories only to later crash and burn because they embraced the world’s idols and augmented their own pride. May the Lord grant us the wisdom, humility, and discernment to avoid such pitfalls and if we do fall, to have the sense to quickly run back to him in repentance to embrace his grace, love, and mercy.

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