■■■■■† 화란한인교회에 오신 것을 환영합니다. 암스테르담, 암스텔담, 암스텔빈, 암스텔펜 한인교회 †■■■■■
English Sermon (`19.07.07) Amaziah King of Judah
2019-07-10 03:32:12, view [
Amaziah King of Judah (2 Chronicles 25:1-13) 7.7.2019 KRCN
Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. 2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart. 3 And as soon as the royal power was firmly his, he killed his servants who had struck down the king his father. 4 But he did not put their children to death, according to what is written in the Law, in the Book of Moses, where the Lord commanded, “Fathers shall not die because of their children, nor children die because of their fathers, but each one shall die for his own sin.”
5 Then Amaziah assembled the men of Judah and set them by fathers' houses under commanders of thousands and of hundreds for all Judah and Benjamin. He mustered those twenty years old and upward, and found that they were 300,000 choice men, fit for war, able to handle spear and shield. 6 He hired also 100,000 mighty men of valor from Israel for 100 talents of silver. 7 But a man of God came to him and said, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel, with all these Ephraimites. 8 But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down.” 9 And Amaziah said to the man of God, “But what shall we do about the hundred talents that I have given to the army of Israel?” The man of God answered, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this.”10 Then Amaziah discharged the army that had come to him from Ephraim to go home again. And they became very angry with Judah and returned home in fierce anger. 11 But Amaziah took courage and led out his people and went to the Valley of Salt and struck down 10,000 men of Seir. 12 The men of Judah captured another 10,000 alive and took them to the top of a rock and threw them down from the top of the rock, and they were all dashed to pieces. 13 But the men of the army whom Amaziah sent back, not letting them go with him to battle, raided the cities of Judah, from Samaria to Beth-horon, and struck down 3,000 people in them and took much spoil.
14 After Amaziah came from striking down the Edomites, he brought the gods of the men of Seir and set them up as his gods and worshiped them, making offerings to them. 15 Therefore the Lord was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?” 16 But as he was speaking, the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be struck down?” 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.”
Facing a war with Edom, King Amaziah of the southern kingdom Judah hired an army from the northern kingdom Israel. Compared to modern history, it is like hiring an army of soldiers from North Korea to strike Japan. As many as a hundred thousand men! But when they were about engage in war, a man of God came and told Amaziah not to involve the mercenary in the war. ‘For God has power to help or to cast down (2Chr. 25:8),’ the man of God said.
Amaziah king of Judah heard it but was worried, ‘Good, but what about the mercenary money I have paid already?’ He had paid up the balance and if he cancelled now, he would lose the 100 talents of silver. At this, the man of God said to King Amaziah, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this (2Chr. 25:9)’.
It looks like what people used to do for a time in Korea, putting up their apartments on the market but cancelling it just overnight. They suddenly want to keep their flats even if it means compensating the deposit, because the value of their flats skyrocketed overnight. Just as, if you cancelled mercenaries from the northern kingdom Israel, you would get a greater number of mercenaries.
In the conversation that took place between King Amaziah and the man of God, we get to learn that something similar goes on in our religious life too. Having faith is like fighting a war. Therefore, like King Amaziah, you desire to win the fight even by hiring the strength of others. For that reason, we do not only pour into it the whole strength but also hire mercenaries. You are so careful lest you suffer any loss.
In the course of such, faith is about seeking “God”, that is, “the LORD of Hosts”, rather than the tangible mercenaries from the northern kingdom Israel. Faith is about persevering it, even when you lose 100 talents so you earn even greater premium. So often it is said that faith is about obeying the word of God telling you that you should send the mercenaries back.
In fact, what the man of God is constantly telling King Amaziah is that he should hold on to “the LORD God”, not the strength of mercenaries. He is telling the king all the right reasons he should take the God as his God: when the value of the apartment rises multiple times overnight, you should be prepared to compensate the deposit but instead trust the God who does the work as his God.
With such reasoning King Amaziah actually obeyed God's words. He sent the 100,000 mercenaries he had hired from the northern kingdom Israel. Then, he still won the war: meaning he won religiously too. But is it not strange? The Scripture gives evaluation that he did not do it with a whole heart. That he might have won the war, but not in faith.
The army of Judah Amaziah mobilised was of 300,000 men. In addition the mercenaries hired from the northern kingdom Israel were 100,000. In number it is as many as US soldiers today. 460,000 US soldiers fought in the Korean War. But by mobilising such a vast army and attacking the descendants of Seir in the valley of salt, how may did he mange to kill? Only 20,000 including those captured.
The result of obeying the words of God and bringing the God greater than 100,000 mercenaries on his side was only as much as that. The fruit or the result of leading a religious life was only as much as that.
The Scripture gives the name of his mother when Amaziah became King of Judah. Jehoaddan! His mother was from Jerusalem. Amaziah's father is the king Joash. He is a king famous for repairing the temple.
Not so sure it was because of that or not, but the Scripture evaluated ‘he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord’. I could be that because he obeyed God and sent the mercenaries back. We might too get such an evaluation if we show how we hear and obey God’s words. ‘…did what was right in the eyes of the LORD!’
The Scripture, however, points out that such leading of a religious life ‘yet not with a whole heart.’ It may be an upright life by appearance, but whether it is so in the heart too is doubtful, it means. He sent the mercenaries back. So it seemed that he obeyed the Word. But his heart did not. Looking at his parents, he seems faithful. However, he cannot be judged by that factor only whether he is truly a holistic Christian. God is a God who looks into the heart.
Today the Scripture points out two examples of where Amaziah might have done what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but in fact he did not really. He is a man ‘having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power (2Tim 3:5)’ like the ones Paul warned Timothy of. With regards to such people, it is either we must turn ourselves from them or they should leave us.
First, the Scripture points out how Amaziah killed the ones who were involved in the coup against his father, as he became king. Normally when a coup d’état fails, the leaders of the coup were destroyed till their third generations. But king Amaziah killed only the ones who were directly involved. He did not even kill his immediate children. He did not apply ‘guilt-by-association’.
At least for the fact he did that, we can guess what a generous man he is. In addition, Amaziah said that the reason he did so was because of the Law of Moses. God enforced a law so that people could not kill the children because of the sin of their fathers by applying guilt-by-association; and Amaziah obeyed the law. At least the fact he said and did so shows that he is a man of faith on the surface at least.
But just because he is seen that way, it does not necessarily mean that he is holistic before God. In Romans 3:20, Paul said, "by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight." It means that just the fact you have heard and obeyed the words does not complete the life of faith. The strictness to the law and faith are different from each other. The law is not intended to esteem the honour of those who keep it thoroughly. Instead, it is intended to make those who cannot keep it realize their lack and sinfulness.
Second, his reality is uncovered in the war with Edom we are talking about today. At first King Amaziah heard the words the man of God told him. He was told to send the mercenaries back, so he did. He regretted losing 100 talents silver he had paid for them and was comforted by the words from the man of God that God would give him even greater things.
But when the war was over, the godliness of Amaziah showed its end. He took the idols worshiped by the Edomites he conquered and set them up as his gods. Even though it was clearly the LORD God who made him win the battle without mercenaries, he took and set up the wrong gods as is his God.
Then, a prophet came and criticised him. But listen to Amaziah's answer to him. “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be struck down?” Only then is he not fully known! That He clearly obeyed God's Word, went to war without mercenaries, and had a victory in that war, but he did not do so with a whole heart! That he might have listened to the words from the man of God and done what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but he did not do so out of sanity!
What is the wholeheartedness before God? What is the power of true godliness? First of all, it is to escape from the stubbornness and rigidity of the Law. One has to take off the false image of himself that he is the one who keeps the law of Moses perfectly. One has to put down the self-pride and dignity saying I am the one who keeps the words of God.
In other words, godliness does not literally observe the law, nor does it force you to accomplish what God has said no matter what it might cost. On the other hand, it is to find oneself incapable of doing so. It is to be ashamed of oneself for not being able to attend Wednesday prayer meetings rather than attending it no matter what without exception.
Secondly, speaking of godliness, wholeheartedness before God does not come from desiring the positive consequences for obeying God. The sons of Seil who dwelled in the salt valley should not be the purpose, what Amaziah really wanted to gain even by obeying God’s word to return the mercenaries. Instead, wholeheartedness comes from having God Himself as the purpose, not the victory He gives.
What did Amaziah obtain from mobilizing 300,000 men? 20,000 men of Edom. In other words, what he gained by obeying the words of God is only the fact that he waged war with Edom. And the idols those dead 20,000 had left behind. Amaziah hired 100,000 soldiers of the north kingdom Israel and mobilized 300,000 of his own people just to earn that. This is exactly what Amaziah wanted to achieve even at the cost of obeying the words of God.
Today, we are the same as Amaziah. ‘God, please let my child be well! Let him enter university, let him get a job, grant us grandchildren!’ How hard we pray! Praying so, we may say that we are serving God, but it is merely trying to make good use of Christian faith so that we may have some luck while living in this world.
Christians are not the people who desire to achieve what they want by obeying even troublesome instructions of God, such as ‘send back the mercenaries’. Instead they are the people who love and trust God who instructs them.
Finally, let me read you Philippians 3:7-9. “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”
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