Summary: King Amaziah shows a lukewarm heart will become a cool heart and then stone cold.
THE DANGER OF A LUKEWARM HEART
The example of Amaziah II Chronicles 25 CHCC: 11-02-03
Most of us are used to the typical American greeting, “How are you doing?” We answer “Fine, and how are you?” automatically … pretty much without thinking. I know of a Bible College student from India, though, that could catch you off guard. Instead of the quick “How’re ya’ doing?” He would stop, look you right in the eye and ask, “How is it with your soul, brother?” Now there’s a question to make you stop and think.
That’s the kind of question I want to ask you this morning. How is it with your heart, brother? How is it with your heart, sister?
We’re going to look today at an obscure Bible character named Amaziah. He was a King in Judah about 200 years after David was King of Israel. The account of his reign is found in the 25th chapter of II Chronicles. Now, if you read a biography of a political figure today, the account will start with their younger days, go through all the events chronologically, and then maybe end by summing up their character and accomplishments.
But the Bible turns that upside down. When the Bible introduces a King, it starts right off by telling the condition of that person’s heart. And in this case, the King had a LUKEWARM HEART. Look in II Chronicles 25:2:
1. The Lukewarm Heart II Chronicles 25:2
He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly. II Chronicles 25:2
Let me take a minute to set the scene. After the reigns of King David and King Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel divided into two separate Kingdoms called Judah and Israel. It’s a little tricky to keep straight because the southern Kingdom of Judah had all the things we associate with Israel: Jerusalem is there, the Temple is there, and the Kings are the descendants of David. The northern Kingdom had none of these things, but retained the name of Israel.
The Kingdom of Judah had been through rocky times. King Amaziah took the throne after his father was assassinated. In fact, the last 3 rulers before Amaziah were all murdered … so he had good reason to be looking over his shoulder as he took the throne. According to the text, Amaziah had his father’s murderers executed, but he did not execute the sons of those assassins. That was a tactic used by most monarchs as a “security measure.” But Amaziah was obeying the Law of Moses, which said that sons were not to be punished for their fathers’ sins. In other words, so far Amaziah did what was right in God’s eyes.
Next we see Amaziah preparing to attack the bordering nation of Edom. In order to “beef up” the army, he hired 100,000 mercenaries from Israel. These were big, tough professional warriors. But the problem was that Israel had become unfaithful to God. God’s favor was no longer with them. And to make an alliance with an ungodly nation was against God’s law. So, a prophet came and reminded Amaziah, “It’s God who has the power to help you or overthrow you. Get rid of those mercenaries or you will lose God’s favor.”
Amaziah paid attention, but he couldn’t help hedging a bit. After all, he’d paid those mercenaries up-front and he didn’t want to lose his investment. Verse 9 tells us: Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?”
This is the first hint we get that Amaziah was not whole-hearted in his desire to obey God. Now, it’s true that Amaziah was talking about a lot of money. 100 talents would be about 4 tons of precious metal. At current silver prices that would be well over $500,000 dollars.
Amaziah’s heart was set on earthly, material concerns. But the prophet re-directed his mind to focus on God and his power: The man of God replied, “The LORD can give you much more than that.”
So Amaziah obeyed God. He dismissed the mercenaries (about 25% of his entire army). And … with God’s blessing … he won a decisive military victory. But then Amaziah does something that jolts us. Verse 14 tells us that he takes the idols from Edom and sets them up. And worse than that, he worships them!
He has just won a great victory … obviously from God’s hand. He has every reason in the world to be praising God, and God alone. But instead he turns to idols. He appeared to be running the good race --- then he made a sudden U-turn. It’s obvious that his heart has suddenly gone from LUKEWARM to downright COOL.
2. The Cool Heart II Chronicles 25:14