Series: Thru the Bible
Message – Power & Strength belong to God
***Video is HERE***
Power & Strength belong to God
Scriptures covered: 2Kings 14:1-21;15:1-7; 2Chron. 25:1-26:23
Last week we read about reign of Joash king of Judah, his uncle and high priest Jehoiada, Jehoahaz, king of Israel and the death of Elisha…leaving off
With a trail into this week’s lesson where we begin with Amaziah, son of Joash king of Judah in 2Kings 14:1.
Reign of Amaziah King of Judah
2Kings 14:1-10, “(1) In the second year of Israel’s King Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, Amaziah son of Joash became king of Judah.
(2) He was 25 years old when he became king; he reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan and was from Jerusalem. (3) He did what was right in the LORD’s sight, but not like his ancestor David. He did everything his father Joash had done. (4) Yet, the high places were not taken away, and the people continued sacrificing and burning incense on the high places.
(5) As soon as the kingdom was firmly in his grasp, Amaziah killed his servants who had murdered his father the king. (6) However, he did not put the children of the murderers to death, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses where the LORD commanded, “Fathers must not be put to death because of children, and children must not be put to death because of fathers; instead, each one will be put to death for his own sin.”
(7) Amaziah killed 10,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. He took Sela in battle and called it Joktheel [the blessedness of God], which is its name to this very day. (8) Amaziah then sent messengers to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us meet face to face.”
“(9) King Jehoash of Israel sent word to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, “The thistle that was in Lebanon once sent a message to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son as a wife.’ Then a wild animal that was in Lebanon passed by and trampled the thistle. (10) You have indeed defeated Edom, and you have become overconfident. Enjoy your glory and stay at home. Why should you stir up such trouble that you fall–you and Judah with you?”
Now two things are important here. First, this was not an unprovoked invitation to war. We will read about what precipitated this invitation when we get to the same account in 2 Chron. 25
Secondly, this response from Jehoash, King of Israel seems like an odd way of speaking to answer a simple invitation to war but it isn’t the first time we’ve seen answers given in story form. According to Jamison, Faucet & Brown commentary on this verse,
“People in the East very often express their sentiments in a parabolic form, especially when they intend to convey unwelcome truths or a contemptuous sneer.
This was the design of the admonitory fable related by Joash in his reply.”
I believe the context of the story tells all and we will address it when we get to the account of in in 2Chron. 25.
“(11) But Amaziah would not listen, so King Jehoash of Israel advanced. He and King Amaziah of Judah faced off at Beth-shemesh that belongs to Judah.
(12) Judah was routed before Israel, and Judah’s men fled, each to his own tent. (13) King Jehoash of Israel captured Judah’s King Amaziah son of Joash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh.
Then Jehoash went to Jerusalem and broke down 200 yards of Jerusalem’s wall from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate. (14) He took all the gold and silver and all the utensils found in the LORD’s temple and in the treasuries of the king’s palace, and the hostages. Then he returned to Samaria.
(15) The rest of the events of Jehoash’s reign, along with his accomplishments, his might, and how he waged war against Amaziah king of Judah, are written about in the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings.
(16) Jehoash rested with his fathers, and he was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. His son Jeroboam became king in his place.
(17) Judah’s King Amaziah son of Joash lived 15 years after the death of Israel’s King Jehoash son of Jehoahaz. (18) The rest of the events of Amaziah’s reign are written about in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings.
(19) A conspiracy was formed against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. However, men were sent after him to Lachish, and they put him to death there. (20) They carried him back on horses, and he was buried in Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David.”
2Chron. 25:1-19, “(1) Amaziah became king when he was 25 years old; he reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan; she was from Jerusalem. (2) He did what was right in the LORD’s sight but not completely.
(3) As soon as the kingdom was firmly in his grasp, he executed his servants who had murdered his father the king. (4) However, he did not put their children to death, because–as it is written in the Law, in the book of Moses, where the LORD commanded–“Fathers must not die because of children, and children must not die because of fathers, but each one will die for his own sin.”
(5) Then Amaziah gathered Judah and assembled them according to patriarchal family, according to commanders of thousands, and according to commanders of hundreds.
He numbered those 20 years old or more for all Judah and Benjamin. He found there to be 300,000 choice men who could serve in the army, bearing spear and shield.
(6) Then for 7,500 pounds of silver he hired 100,000 brave warriors from Israel.
(7) However, a man of God came to him and said, “King, do not let Israel’s army go with you, for the LORD is not with Israel–all the Ephraimites. (8) But if you go with them, do it! Be strong for battle! But God will make you stumble before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to make one stumble.
(9) Then Amaziah said to the man of God, “What should I do about the 7,500 pounds of silver I gave to Israel’s division?”
The man of God replied, “The LORD is able to give you much more than this.”
(10) So Amaziah released the division that came to him from Ephraim to go home. But they got very angry with Judah and returned home in a fierce rage.
(11) Amaziah strengthened his position and led his people to the Valley of Salt. He struck down 10,000 Seirites, (12) and the Judahites captured 10,000 alive. They took them to the top of a cliff where they threw them off, and all of them were dashed to pieces.
(13) As for the men of the division that Amaziah sent back so they would not go with him into battle, they raided the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth-horon, struck down 3,000 of their people, and took a great deal of plunder.
(14) After Amaziah came from the attack on the Edomites, he brought the gods of the Seirites and set them up as his gods. He worshiped before them and burned incense to them.
(15) So the LORD’s anger was against Amaziah, and He sent a prophet to him, who said,
“Why have you sought a people’s gods that could not deliver their own people from your hand?”
(16) While he was still speaking to him, the king asked,
“Have we made you the king’s counselor? Stop, why should you lose your life?”
So the prophet stopped, but he said, “I know that God intends to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my advice.”
(17) King Amaziah of Judah took counsel and sent word to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us meet face to face.”
(18) King Jehoash of Israel sent word to King Amaziah of Judah, saying, “The thistle that was in Lebanon sent a message to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son as a wife.’ Then a wild animal that was in Lebanon passed by and trampled the thistle. (19) You have said, ‘Look, I have defeated Edom,’ and you have become overconfident that you will get glory. Now stay at home. Why stir up such trouble so that you fall and Judah with you?”
Now that you have, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story…let’s consider the meaning of this king’s colorful response.
The thistle was a small shrub of a plant which Jehoash King of Israel, was using to represent Amaziah while referring to himself as the great, noble and powerful cedar. The “daughter” sought as wife was the Ephramites of Israel who King Amaziah had hired to go to war with his troops. However, when they sent these warriors home without going to war it enraged them and they became a wild beast which trampled Judah when they were fighting against Edom in the war they had forbidden Ephriam to fight in. So when King Amaziah returned victorious in battle against Edom, he found he had been defeated behind his back. This provoked him to seek a meeting with the King of Israel which he knew would likely result in war, in order to get revenge against Ephraim. Jehoash was encouraging Amaziah to let sleeping dogs lie. Leave it alone, because you are picking a fight you will not win.
As it turns out…this was not bad advice and Amaziah HAD BEEN told as much already by the prophet.
Herein is a very big lesson! Our emotions and ambitions often encourage us to turn a deaf ear to God’s warnings of judgment. We have it on the authority of scripture that God will often “repent” – meaning change His decree of judgment over a person or nation IF they repent – meaning change their minds and therefore their actions.
So what could have been done differently?
- Edom had revolted against Judah’s control years before during the reign of Jehoram. Before deciding to reestablish that control, King Amaziah SHOULD HAVE SOUGHT GOD. if he had God would have warned him NOT to involve Israel, for God was not with Israel and so to join with them in this case was to become unequally yoked.
- After being warned by the prophet he should have:
- Explained to the warriors of Ephraim his poor decision in eliciting their help, asked them to keep the money for their trouble and his misstep in requesting their help so as to send them home in honor rather than dishonor.
- He should have offered sacrifice to God before the battle and made a public conveyance that the spoils of war would be for God and the people, but that ANY pagan idol will be destroyed and NONE brought back with them from the battle. This would have protected his heart from temptation BEFORE he went to war.
As it was, he took the advice of the prophet and sent the warriors of Ephriam home, accepting the financial loss, but when he won the battle, the idols of Edom won him and were the instigation of his ultimate fall.
The prophet again came to him and told him God was against him since he had decided to worship foreign idols, but Amaziah’s heart was incensed against the prophet for even mentioning it.
Again, if Amaziah had “heard” the prophet and repented the rest of the events could have been avoided, but his sin blinded his eyes and deafened his ears so he would not see or hear…and so…just as the prophet had previously warned, God set Amaziah up to stumble and fall, because it IS in His power to do so!
“(20) But Amaziah would not listen, for this turn of events was from God in order to hand them over to their enemies because they went after the gods of Edom.
(21) So King Jehoash of Israel advanced. He and King Amaziah of Judah faced off at Beth-shemesh in Judah.
(22) Judah was routed before Israel, and each fled to his own tent. (23) King Jehoash of Israel captured Judah’s King Amaziah son of Joash, son of Jehoahaz, at Beth-shemesh. Then Jehoash took him to Jerusalem and broke down 200 yards of Jerusalem’s wall from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate.
(24) He took all the gold, silver, all the utensils that were found with Obed-edom in God’s temple, the treasures of the king’s palace, and the hostages. Then he returned to Samaria.
(25) Judah’s King Amaziah son of Joash lived 15 years after the death of Israel’s King Jehoash son of Jehoahaz. (26) The rest of the events of Amaziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are written about in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
(27) From the time Amaziah turned from following the LORD, a conspiracy was formed against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. However, men were sent after him to Lachish, and they put him to death there. (28) They carried him back on horses and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.”
Azariah begins to reign in Judah
2Kings 14:21-22; 15:1-7
“(21) Then all the people of Judah took Azariah, who was 16 years old, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah. (22) He rebuilt Elath and restored it to Judah after Amaziah the king rested with his fathers.”
Elath was a port city of the Red Sea that had belonged to Edom but had probably sustained much damage during the battle Judah had waged against them during Azariah’s father’s reign. So he rebuilt it, probably in order to make it a viable city of import and export and thus revenue for Judah.
2Kings 15:1-7, “(1) In the twenty-seventh year of Israel’s King Jeroboam, Azariah son of Amaziah became king of Judah. (2) He was 16 years old when he became king; he reigned 52 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem.”
“(3) Azariah did what was right in the LORD’s sight just as his father Amaziah had done. (4) Yet, the high places were not taken away; the people continued sacrificing and burning incense on the high places.”
“(5) The LORD afflicted the king, and he had a serious skin disease until the day of his death.”
“He lived in a separate house, while Jotham, the king’s son, was over the household governing the people of the land.
(6) The rest of the events of Azariah’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written about in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings.
(7) Azariah rested with his fathers, and he was buried with his fathers in the city of David. His son Jotham became king in his place.”
Now we are going to which over to 2 Chron. 26 to read about the reign of Azariah who will be called by the name of Uzziah king of Judah. For whatever reason 2Kings seems to toggle between the two names from this point forward.
- Azariah means – Jehovah has helped
- Uzziah means – my strength is Jehovah
Whenever we run into things like this we stand to learn something, and in this case possibly several things.
It has been suggested that when things like this happen with Kings – it “may be” proof of a Hebrew custom of sometimes employing the use of regal names in preference to one’s birth name.
Also, the Hebrew roots of these names are similar and they both mean “strong’ so it may also be a play on words.
Finally, and I believe this is probably at least one of the reasons for the case of this king, the account in Chronicles MAY have used the name Uzziah in order to distinguish this king from the high priest Azariah mentioned in chapter 26.
At any rate, it is abundantly clear that King Uzziah and King Azariah are the same person so this in no way is a difficulty in regard to the inerrancy of scripture.
The Reign of Uzziah King of Judah
2Chron. 26:1-8, “(1) All the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was 16 years old, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah.”
“ (2) He rebuilt Eloth and restored it to Judah after Amaziah the king rested with his fathers.”
“(3) Uzziah was 16 years old when he became king; he reigned 52 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem.”
“(4) He did what was right in the LORD’s sight as his father Amaziah had done.”
“(5) He sought God throughout the lifetime of Zechariah, the teacher of the fear of God. During the time that he sought the LORD, God gave him success.”
“(6) Uzziah went out to wage war against the Philistines, and he tore down the wall of Gath, the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod. Then he built cities in the vicinity of Ashdod and among the Philistines.”
“(7) God helped him against the Philistines, the Arabs that live in Gur-baal, and the Meunites.”
“(8) The Ammonites gave Uzziah tribute money, and his fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for God made him very powerful.”
You’ll have to excuse me, but I find it SO VERY important in today’s world where we, in our arrogance, believe everything to be attributed to self-help and self-effort and where everything can be explained through naturalistic concepts to point out that behind the veil of the flesh is a God Who retains the right at any moment to act according to His sovereign will. In fact, it can be argued very strongly from scripture that if one is brought to power – it was NOT by God’s allowance as much as by His direct command and involvement.
Let’s read David’s inspired conclusions about this in Psalm 62,
“(1) I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. (2) He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken. (3) How long will you threaten a man? Will all of you attack as if he were a leaning wall or a tottering stone fence? (4) They only plan to bring him down from his high position. They take pleasure in lying; they bless with their mouths, but they curse inwardly. Selah (5) Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. (6) He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. (7) My salvation and glory depend on God; my strong rock, my refuge, is in God. (8) Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge. Selah (9) Men are only a vapor; exalted men, an illusion. On a balance scale, they go up; together they weigh less than a vapor. (10) Place no trust in oppression, or false hope in robbery. If wealth increases, pay no attention to it. (11) God has spoken once; I have heard this twice: strength belongs to God, (12) and faithful love belongs to You, LORD. For You repay each according to his works.”
“(9) Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, the Valley Gate, and the corner buttress, and he fortified them.”
“(10) Since he had many cattle both in the lowlands and the plain, he built towers in the desert and dug many wells. And since he was a lover of the soil, he had farmers and vinedressers in the hills and in the fertile lands.”
“(11) Uzziah had an army equipped for combat that went out to war by division according to the their assignments, as recorded by Jeiel the court secretary and Maaseiah the officer under the authority of Hananiah, one of the king’s commanders.”
“(12) The total number of heads of families was 2,600 brave warriors. (13) Under their authority was an army of 307,500 equipped for combat, a powerful force to help the king against the enemy.”
“(14) Uzziah provided the entire army with shields, spears, helmets, armor, bows and slingstones. (15) He made skillfully designed devices in Jerusalem to shoot arrows and catapult large stones for use on the towers and on the corners. So his fame spread even to distant places, for he was marvelously helped until he became strong.”
“(16) But when he became strong, he grew arrogant and it led to his own destruction. He acted unfaithfully against the LORD his God by going into the LORD’s sanctuary to burn incense on the incense altar.”
“(17) Azariah the priest, along with 80 brave priests of the LORD, went in after him. (18) They took their stand against King Uzziah and said, “Uzziah, you have no right to offer incense to the LORD–only the consecrated priests, the descendants of Aaron, have the right to offer incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have acted unfaithfully! You will not receive honor from the LORD God.”
(19) Uzziah, with a censer in his hand to offer incense, was enraged. But when he became enraged with the priests, in the presence of the priests in the LORD’s temple beside the altar of incense, a skin disease broke out on his forehead.
(20) Then Azariah the chief priest and all the priests turned to him and saw that he was diseased on his forehead. They rushed him out of there. He himself also hurried to get out because the LORD had afflicted him.
(21) So King Uzziah was diseased to the time of his death.
He lived in quarantine with a serious skin disease and was excluded from access to the LORD’s temple, while his son Jotham was over the king’s household governing the people of the land.
(22) Now the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz wrote about the rest of the events of Uzziah’s reign, from beginning to end.
(23) Uzziah rested with his fathers, and he was buried with his fathers in the burial ground of the kings’ cemetery, for they said, “He has a skin disease.” His son Jotham became king in his place.”
I did not mention it at the time on purpose to teach you something by way of experience. I don’t know how deeply you were paying attention as we read the account of Uzziah in 2 Kings but all it said was,
It would be easy to make a pre-mature decision about this passage and conclude that God acts upon whim and not justice. This passage however gives us the rest of the story and shows how it is imperative that we study in order to rightly discern the scriptures…and to not answer a matter before we’ve heard all of it.
Prov. 18:13, “The one who gives an answer before he listens–this is foolishness and disgrace for him.”
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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