Most of us know the feeling. We have been asked to do something we don’t really want to do. Maybe we agreed without thinking through what was involved. Perhaps the task seemed easier than it turned out to be. But out of duty, pressure, or necessity, we do it, resenting every moment of our cooperation. The various forms this principle can take is illustrated in the way men take the garbage out to the curb every week!
Amaziah became king of Judah when he was twenty-five years old. His reign spanned twenty-nine years. His father, Joash, provided him with a good but seriously flawed model to follow as king. As a result, Amaziah knew what God expected of him, but he resisted obedience.
Young Amaziah grew up in a court setting filled with intrigue, treachery, and killing. He watched his father do well under the godly influence of the old priest Jehoiada. But when Jehoiada died, Joash quickly lost sight of his dependence on God. Eventually, Joash permitted his adviser’s son, Zechariah, to be killed in order to silence his convicting message.
When Amaziah became king, he continued in his father’s pattern. He executed those who had assassinated his father. He kept alive an appearance of attentiveness to God, but his heart wasn’t in it. His early successes, which could have inspired humility, instead gave rise to arrogance. He received but rejected God’s warnings. He challenged a reluctant Israel to a military confrontation. God ensured a humiliating defeat for Amaziah and Judah. The remainder of Amaziah’s reign was desolate. Like they did to his father before him, Amaziah’s own people plotted and killed their king.
Amaziah suffered from a problem we might call model-conflict. His own desires got tangled with the memory of Jehoida’s and Joash’s examples. He didn’t seem to give much thought about his direction. The models we follow will only help us as far as they are consistent with God’s direction for us. Have you done a model-check lately? To what degree are those you follow influenced by Christ and his Word? Who inspires your attitudes? Integrity is obedience from the heart.
Adapted from 365 Life Lessons from Bible People (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 1996).