Summary: The standard of Judah began to subside as the kings stopped comparing themselves to David. You can't make people more faithful by lowering the standard of faith.
Don’t Just Change the Standard
When it comes to on-time train travel the Japanese have the best record.
A train is considered to be ontime only if it arrives within one minute of the schedule.
The average late running of trains in Japan is 20 seconds.
If it is 5 minutes late the conductor issues an official apology and the passengers get a lat certificate to show their employers.
If a train is 1 hour late it will be on the news.
This expectation includes the trains that travel at 300-500kph
In Brisbane if 92% trains arrive on-time during peak hour that is considered to be a good achievement. However a train is only considered to be late if it comes after four minutes of the schedule.
It seems that if you can’t meet the standard then the easiest thing is to … try harder?
No … the easiest thing to do is change the standard.
I suspect that such a decision happens more than we realise.
Rather than try harder, we change the standard.
Let me show you what I mean by having a look at 2 Kings 14:1-22.
It all starts off looking ok.
Focus on Verse 5-6
Law of Moses.
First time a king has been said to follow the law … that is a great statement!
Amaziah breaks the earlier stories of killing whole families.
He shows restraint.
There is a real positive outlook here.
That is the first act of his time as a leader – he starts very well.
Teaching someone to ride a bike … down a hill
It is easy to start well.
Avoiding the crash is more difficult.
Because you don’t have all the skills.
That is the problem with Amaziah – he has a few skills short in the tool box.
The standard has been lowered.
3 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father David had done. In everything he followed the example of his father Joash. 4 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.
Joash is the king that almost never was.
In a rage of revenge Athaliah, Joash’s grandmother, tried to kill all of the family of her son so that she would be the only ruler. But Joash was spared by a kind aunt.
He started ruling when he was seven.
During his reign Joash repaired the temple, which had been neglected by a couple of previous kings. It was a good thing that he did.
But Joash also made a treaty with Hazael King of Aram … and he used money from the temple treasury to pay for the treaty.
Later in his life Joash turned from God and God punished him.
A lot of people remember that Joash fixed the temple.
Few remember that he turned from the Lord in his later years.
Now here is Amaziah
… doing right
… but only right in accordance with the standard set by Joash.
… not doing right in accordance with the standard set by David who was a man after God’s own heart.
And those high places – the places that keep on distracting the people from God – still stand.
This has become the new standard … and people seem to be satisfied … but we know it isn’t right.