Sermons

Summary: Kings of Judah, Pt. 5

AVERAGE IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH (2 CHRONICLES 25:1-28)

One day Linus came home with his report card. As he turned on the TV, his sister Lucy scoffed at his grade: “You got a “C” in history? That’s only average.” Linus defended himself: “So what? I’m an average student in an average school in an average community. What’s wrong with being average?” Lucy retorted, “Because you’re capable of doing much better.” To which Linus sighed and said, “That’s the average answer!”

The sibling quarrel continued when Linus plopped himself on a sofa, with his head resting on his right hand, by now regretting talking back to the feisty Lucy, who did not let up: “You think that being average is enough, don’t you?” As Linus walked away Lucy screamed after him, with hands thrown up: “Well, it isn’t! What shape would the world be in today if everyone settled for being average?” Finally, Linus turned to ambush a speechless Lucy: “What shape is the world in today?”

Amaziah was the most mediocre, insubordinate and ungrateful among the eight good kings. He was the ninth king of the southern Judah, the fourth good king of Judah and the son of Joash, the good king who died an ignoble death after defeat by the Syrians. Joash’s officials conspired against him and killed the king for murdering the prophet son of likable high priest Jehoiada (2 Chron 24:25). Against this backdrop Amaziah succeeded his father on the throne. The new king started on the right track when he set aside the nightmare of his father’s death and put behind him the thought of avenging Joash. Other than that, he was not known for the rest of his years for anything but below average.

What makes a person average or acceptable in the eyes of the Lord? How do we move from being average, second-rate or even irrelevant to excellent, first class and inspirational in life and conduct?

Be Clear, Not Confused, About Your Commitment

25:1 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Jehoaddin; she was from Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly. 3 After the kingdom was firmly in his control, he executed the officials who had murdered his father the king. 4 Yet he did not put their sons to death, but acted in accordance with what is written in the Law, in the Book of Moses, where the LORD commanded: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sins.” (2 Chron 25:1-4)

I had thought long and hard about a grade I gave to a preaching student. The student, at the start of the last quarter of his studies, two months before his graduation and two classes into the quarter, said he had to leave school to assume pastoral duties immediately at his home church abroad. The abrupt departure took me by surprise but the school had assented to his request. How in the world can one halfway round the world take a practical subject like preaching?

The 40-something student had taken my preaching class for previous two quarters with average results but had finally gotten the hang of it. Upon receiving his final preaching assignment, I was taken back at how much the quality of his work had deteriorated. His assignment was unrecognizable; church work had taken its toll.

I wanted to flunk him but wrote to the administration office out of compassion, asking, “What is the minimum passing grade?” They told me “C,” which was what I gave the student.

None of the good king was as bad as Amaziah. So far, the good kings of the southern kingdom of Judah have ranged from good to excellent. Asa was a good king; his son Jehoshaphat was excellent. Joash was a good king, but Amaziah was mediocre. In fact, Amaziah’s name was omitted from Jesus’ genealogy (Matt 1:8) for good reason. He barely passed and deserved to be a good king. The reason why not enough was written about or spoken of him was that he was the worst of the eight good kings of the southern Judah, not identical to the bad kings but almost indistinguishable from them, not worst than them but not much better. His name was a shame and a disgrace to other good kings. His commitment was lacking and leaking from day one. God could see through him from day one. He had reserved his heart for something else. He was a classic opportunist.

One of the things he did well when he ascended the throne was to put his father’s murderers to death but spared the innocent of death. He did not cause needless bloodshed, spill innocent blood or erase a family. His fostered a lot of goodwill, put many people at ease, and make his kingly transition smooth.

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