King Amaziah Turns from the Lord
Open Your Bible
2 Chronicles 25:1-28, 2 Chronicles 26:1-23, Proverbs 16:18
Today’s reading reminded me of a children’s ministry training I once attended. In this training, we were encouraged not to reduce Old Testament narratives to mere moral lessons. Each recorded story is part of the whole story of the Bible. And that story is about God’s great redemption of an unworthy and forgetful people. It blew my mind. David’s slaying of Goliath wasn’t about defeating giants in my life. Gideon laying out fleece wasn’t about my decision-making.
When we mistakenly confuse ourselves with the story’s main character, we miss a passage’s whole point and purpose. The narratives in 2 Chronicles exist to show us how human nature’s tendency to pridefully do the wrong thing again and again, even when shown that it results in destruction. It begs the question, “Who will spare us from such endless cycles of pride and destruction?”
Like many kings before them, Amaziah and Uzziah began following the Lord. But their obedience wasn’t wholehearted (2Chronicles 25:2). So they refused to heed their forefather Solomon’s warning about pride coming before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). By following the poor examples of half-hearted kings who came before them, their names were eventually added to the list.
When I read of Amaziah’s and Uzziah’s fateful endings, I find myself wondering about God’s justice and punishment for sin—it can feel harsh. But then I realize that I am downplaying both God’s holiness and my sinfulness. All sin separates us from God. And anything less than wholehearted devotion is coming from a place of sin.
These passages guide us to think long and hard about God’s righteousness. It should rock our world that God doesn’t leave the guilty, half-hearted, and hard-hearted unpunished. It should also lead us to long deeply for a merciful Savior when we realize we’re just like these kings.
The good news is that there was One who was truly wholehearted in His obedience to God. He’s a king too. He succeeded where all others failed. Those united by faith to this Eternal King will inherit His righteousness and good standing before the Father. He came to give us the heart transplant we needed. He gave us the Holy Spirit who has given us new hearts set toward God. And by grace, we are freed to love and approach Him without destruction.
The just and righteous God of 2 Chronicles is also compassionate, gracious, forgiving, and abounding in love to a thousand generations (Exodus 34:6–7). Yes, He is the God of Amaziah and Uzziah, but He’s also the God of Peter, Paul, Zaccheus, the thief on the neighboring cross, and us. Pride keeps us from wholehearted devotion, but King Jesus’s redemption frees us from its power, making Him the real hero of the Bible’s story.