I really doubt many people remember Amaziah. In fact, I have been reading scripture daily for over 25 years and I didn’t recall his name at all. However, this morning Amaziah caught my attention as I was reading through 2 Chronicles. Let’s get real. 2 Chronicles is one of those books where it is easy to glaze over as you read the litany of kings with unpronounceable names. It becomes almost sing-song, alternating between kings who “did right in the sight of the Lord all the days of…” and kings “who did not do right in the sight of the Lord but walked the ways of the kings of Israel.”
Today though, a phrase arrested my attention because it was just slightly different than the norm. 2 Chronicles 25:2 says of Amaziah, “He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.” (emphasis is mine)
Something in me went, “Ugh, God you didn’t have to go and point that out, did you? Now you’re meddling.” You see the other kings didn’t seem to have any experiential hold on me. They seemed either to be goodie two shoes, picture perfect kings that did everything right and delighted the Lord or hideous monster kings who tore down the house of God and threw altars up to false Gods on every corner faster than red boxes appear at gas stations.
Those kings I cannot relate to, but Amaziah is another matter. “Walking right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart”–That hits too close to home. I am basically a good guy. I read my bible daily, pray daily, go to church every Sunday, volunteer where needs are, etc., but do I follow God with my whole heart? May be in my absolute best moments.
The thing about heart that gets me every time is that the heart is an internal thing. It’s relatively easy to get the outward stuff of faith down. I can hold back and not say something ugly to my neighbor, while still on the inside hating or resenting him. I can physically be in worship, and yet my mind and heart wander off some place else. I can volunteer at a soup kitchen, smile and greet people like they are my best buddy, but would I actually become their friend? So, am I following God with my whole heart. If I am really honest with myself, again I come to the same conclusion… only in my best moments on my best days.
I think Amaziah has just become the most challenging figure in scripture. Usually I feel challenged by people who are exceptional. People who are extraordinary and unreachable seem to inherently present a a gauntlet of challenge to be better than what I am. Amaziah though is most challenging because he mirrors back to me myself and I don’t like what I see.
I would have never thought as I plodded my way through 2 Chronicles that the Spirit of God would have landed a direct hit on my heart. It just goes to show you that you never know when and where the Spirit of God is going to speak.