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

The Day Peace Was Signed

It was 5:00 am in the cold November woods of northeast France where officials gathered in a rail car to sign the papers that ended WW1. Word immediately went out by telegram that all fighting would stop at 11:00 am. A final shot was fired from the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris at that exact moment, and peace finally reigned in Europe. The following year, after much negotiating, the more famous Treaty of Versailles was signed. The spot where the Nov.11th papers were signed has been preserved. The rail car was taken to Germany in WW2, but it was destroyed as the war came to a close. Pieces of it were kept, and a replacement placed back on that spot in the forest.

The war has often been called the bloodiest in history. About 23 million soldiers were killed and another 18 million were wounded. Canada lost 61,000 soldiers, and 172,000 came home wounded. These are mind-boggling figures. It’s no wonder that Armistice Day was proclaimed across the British Empire in 1919, originally observed on the first Monday of the Nov.11th week, combined with Thanksgiving in Canada. In 1928, the Canadian government declared Nov.11th at 11:00 am to be Remembrance Day, observed yearly. We remember all those who lost their lives, and what it took to bring peace.

God brought us peace at another cold, lonely spot in 33 ad. The sacrifice was so powerful, it never has to be offered again. “He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). It was the day peace was arranged between God and man. It has the potential to save every human being alive, if they would only turn to Him in obedient faith. Pens and treaties can be powerful, but the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is decisive. No one knows the actual spot where the cross stood. Some claim pieces of it exist, but there is no proof. Unlike the monuments that help us remember war’s casualties, we have only the Word of God to tell us what He did to save us. In a way, it is more fitting and powerful.

And today, as every Sunday, we remember.

– Tim Johnson

Vimy’s Lessons

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first world war battle of Vimy Ridge. We’re hearing a lot about it because it was won mostly by young Canadian men. There had been 150,000 French casualties from prior attempts to win control over the infamous ridge, but the Germans resisted. In three days 100,000 Canadians threw themselves into the battle and took the hill. Over 3600 of our men were killed and 7,000 wounded.

Historians have developed many theories to explain how we did it when others couldn’t. In his 2008 book Vimy, Pierre Berton explained that most of our young soldiers were farm boys used to horses and fixing machinery. Both skills were invaluable in WW1. Nervous horses were dealt with in the noise of battle, and there was plenty of help to keep the machines of war going. The result was a very patient army that slowly and firmly overcame the Germans. Patience and skill won the day.

James wrote about the need for patience when we encounter trials. He said, “And let patience have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (1:4) The writer of Hebrews also said, “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (12:1) And, “You have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promises.” (10:36)

Patience gives us the energy we need to endure, it helps us deal with obstacles in the way, and it guarantees victory. It won the battle at Vimy. How many battles will it win for you?

– Tim Johnson


This month one hundred years ago, Europe slid into war with Germany. On August 12 the British declared war and that brought Canada into the conflict. Suddenly every city and town in the country was busy drumming up men to go and fight. People stepped forward by the thousands. They thought the war would only last a few months and everybody would come home. Little did they know it would take four agonizing years, then six more in WW2. But they went willingly; they felt it was their duty. Continue reading