The finish-line is all that really counts with God

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I’ll bet you know someone who lived a really good life, but at some point in their life, fell off of that “good life” cliff into the pit of foolishness? Now I’m not talking about someone who developed mental problems late in life or had medical issues that changed them. I’m speaking about someone who lived a quality life for years, but for some reason they just gave that up and spent the rest of their life as a mess. 

The Bible has a bunch of those kind of examples; one was Judah’s King Amaziah. (2 Kings 14; 2 Chronicles 25) It is little wonder that he exchanged the good life for wickedness, after all that is exactly what his father, Joash, did; truly like father, like son. That is why it says: “In everything he followed the example of his father Joash.”

He started his 29 year reign spot on: “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not as his father David had done.” Almost every king fell short of the David measuring stick, so that wasn’t really a bad thing. However, he ran into a brick wall of idolatry with the people of Judah. Sadly, it was his father’s fault. Joash not only failed to remove the “high places” of pagan worship, but actually led the people into idolatry. 2 Chr 24:17-19 Guess who inherited that mess.

Even though Amaziah had that hurdle to overcome, he was faithful to the LORD. After executing his father’s assassins, King Amaziah organized Judah’s military and prepared to attack Edom, as a show of the LORD’S strength and Judah’s. He was hoping to send a message to surrounding nations: better think twice about attacking Judah.

The battle with the Edomites was a quick victory. 10,000 Edomite soldiers were killed in the battle and 10,000 more were captured and died when they were pushed off a cliff. So far everything was going great for Amaziah and Judah.

Can you hear a “BUT” coming? But “When Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought back the gods of the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down to them and burned sacrifices to them.” What a fool! He dragged the idols of the gods of the losing team back to the palace of the winning team and began worshiping them instead of his God who had blessed him with victory. FOOL! FOOL!

Want to guess how God was feeling about the whole mess? “The anger of the LORD burned against Amaziah, and he sent a prophet to him, who said, ‘Why do you consult this people’s gods, which could not save their own people from your hand?’”

Now at this point Amaziah had the perfect opportunity to confess his sin and fall down before the LORD in repentance. But he did not. “While he was still speaking, the king said to him, “Have we appointed you an adviser to the king? Stop! Why be struck down?” Rather than repent, Amaziah, as the old country saying goes, “swelled up like a toad” and failed to realize that when you back-talk the man of God, you have back-talked God too. That is when he hears the judgment that God determined: “So the prophet stopped but said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.” The Judge pounded his gavel, pronounced Amaziah GUILTY and issued his punishment-DESTRUCTION.

Again, Amaziah could have humbled himself in repentance before the LORD, but he did not. “Amaziah, however, would not listen, for God so worked that he might deliver them into the hands of Jehoash, because they sought the gods of Edom. So Jehoash king of Israel attacked. He and Amaziah king of Judah faced each other at Beth Shemesh in Judah. Judah was routed by Israel, and every man fled to his home. Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh. Then Jehoash brought him to Jerusalem and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate— a section about 400 cubits long (600 ft). He took all the gold and silver and all the articles found in the temple of God that had been in the care of Obed-Edom, together with the palace treasures and the hostages, and returned to Samaria.”

Amaziah’s last days? “From the time that Amaziah turned away from following the LORD, they conspired against him in Jerusalem and he fled to Lachish, but they sent men after him to Lachish and killed him there. He was brought back by horse and was buried with his ancestors in the City of Judah.”

Lesson? Only a fool would ignore the abundant blessings from the LORD, serve another god and lose everything. Therefore, don’t ever be a fool; never, ever make anyone or anything #1 in your life. God will know that the moment you do it and He will not tolerate a demotion to #2. And if that ever happens, the next thing you will hear is his decree: GUILTY, followed by your punishment.

So, take daily note of the LORD God, humble yourself before Him and thank Him each and every day for His abundant blessings. God bless.

Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at pawdad@nts-online.net.

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