“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly.” (2Chron.25:2)
Ouch, that’s a terrible description of King Amaziah (son of King Joash) isn’t it? Many of us Christians today are kind of like that too!
Joash did was right in the eyes of God when he first became king. His famous work was the restoration of the temple of the Lord. But he ended poorly and committed wickedness in the eyes of the Lord. He killed the priest Zechariah, his own cousin whom he likely grew up with under the same roof (Zechariah: son of Jehoiada – Joash’s uncle, a priest, who raised him and who had rescued him when he was a baby from his evil grandmother Athaliah daughter of Jezebel, who wanted to kill him) because Zechariah pronounced God’s judgment on Joash. As a result the Lord punished Joash and he was killed by his own officials.
Amaziah did not do much better. He started well too but ended poorly, like his father Joash. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly!
While Amaziah listened to the man of God and obeyed the Lord. But after the Lord enabled him to slaughter the Edomites, he brought back the gods of the Edomites and worshipped them! That’s not just disloyal, it’s stupidity. Amaziah was eventually killed by his own people of Judah, a sad ending.
Few Christians today like to hear or read anything about God’s holiness and judgment. We prefer to hear and read about His love, grace, mercy and kindness. The truth is, God hasn’t changed one bit. He is both gracious and holy. Yes, He will reward the faithful (those who obey Him) but He will also punish those who are not faithful and who will not obey Him.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever – not only with regard to His love (which is what we are often told whenever people say God is unchanging) but He is also the same unchanging God when it comes to His holiness and judgment. A preacher of God’s Word MUST preach both these attributes of God.
And aren’t many of us alot like Amaziah? We do what is right in the eyes of the Lord but not wholeheartedly.
We worship God, we attend church services (in-person or online), we are part of a CG, we study the Bible with others, we have great fellowship, we pray for one another, we try to be nice people, live a holy life (and these are all good) ……
……. but we are often also unwilling to do what the Lord really wants us to do when it comes to getting our hands dirty in ministry, giving time sacrificially to serve the Lord instead of just giving God our spare time and serve only when it is convenient to us.
We often follow God but not wholeheartedly. We continue to indulge in things we are not supposed to, we continue to sin against God in a variety of ways – from what we think to what we do to what we say, we do not forgive easily, we gossip, and the list goes on.
We love Him but not wholeheartedly. I am no exception. My love for God is not always wholehearted too and I am not pleased with that. What about you?
This is why we need to not only talk about the love of God but also the holiness of God. Not only talk about eternal rewards but also the terrifying day when our works will be tested and judged. Not only talk about the friendship of God but also the fear of the Lord – to fear Him who after destroying the body, can also destroy the soul in hell (Mt.10:28 – another verse we don’t hear much about).
Beloved, let us not only love one another but warn one another. Let us not only encourage one another but correct one another so that we may stay on the path of righteousness for His name sake.
Following Christ wholeheartedly is a life-long journey and constant pursuit. To be faithful to the end, it would require much determination and discipline. Thankfully, the Lord has given us the Holy Spirit, who lives in each of us, to help us. But we must cooperate with Him, listen to and obey His prompting in our hearts. At the end of the road, may the Lord find us faithful.