Amaziah the Troublemaker

It is said of king Amaziah that he “did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father [ancestor]” (2 Kings 14:3). He was handed the throne of Judah at only 25 years old, an age when young men often set out with great optimism but little wisdom. It seems he intended to rule with faith in God and justice toward men, but he just didn’t go far enough.

He immediately brought the murderers of his father to justice and, respecting the Law, was careful not to go too far and harm their children. Then war with Edom loomed, as it often did, and God helped Amaziah win a solid victory. Enthused by his successes, he became proud and foolish.

His first of many mistakes came when he challenged king Jehoash of Israel to fight a battle and see who was strongest. Jehoash replied that this was unnecessary. “You have indeed defeated Edom, and your heart has become proud. Enjoy your glory and stay at home; for why should you provoke trouble so that you, even you, should fall and Judah with you?” (14:10). A smart warning. However, Amaziah insisted and the battle did not go in his favour. He was captured, Jerusalem invaded, the temple robbed of valuables, and hostages taken back to Samaria.

What a foolish disaster! Amaziah started out well but let his pride lead him to a fall. He didn’t consider the trouble he could inflict on his army, his capital city and its citizens. He died in shame.

There’s a warning for us in these verses. We, too, can provoke unnecessary trouble around us if we’re not careful. Like Amaziah, we may have faith in God and intend to follow good principles in life, but our own pride and lack of wisdom can lead us to anger people, annoy those who live close to us, and cause irreparable harm. It can easily come back on us.

God gave us good advice to avoid such mistakes. “He who would love life and enjoy good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile; let him shun wrong and do right, let him seek peace and make peace his aim. For the eyes of the Lord are on the upright, and his ears are open to their cry; but the face of the Lord is set against wrongdoers” (1 Peter 3:10-12).

– Tim Johnson

Wisdom From God

Real wisdom is misunderstood today. Many think it exists only in the realm of aged people, impossible to have while young. Wisdom is mocked by those who live impulsive lives. Some think it can be attained by education alone.

One is considered wise if he can offer sound financial advice, legal expertise, or even counsel the jobless. It’s as if wisdom is equated with skill alone. But a person skilled in one area is often foolish in another. A respected TV personality, known as a sage, made a mess of his marriage and saw his personal life collapse. As Jesus said, “Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds” (Mt.11:19). Wisdom is more than skill.

How can one really be wise and at the same time deny that God exists? The writer of Proverbs said in his very first chapter, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (v7). True wisdom involves dependence on God.

The Scriptures come down very hard on the wisdom of the world. Paul said, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor.1:20). Therefore, one must consult with God before he can enjoy real wisdom.

James declared, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (1:5). God is pleased to bless anyone with wisdom, and He doesn’t tire of our requests for it. Young king Solomon requested it when God offered to give him what he wished. Instead of asking for greatness, he knew he needed wisdom to rule the kingdom well. God gave it to him, and greatness too.

Develop skills and insights that will help you in life. But each of us needs to get down on our knees and ask God for real wisdom.