In the books of Kings and Chronicles, the kings of Israel and Judah are often described in one of two ways: those who “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord” and those who “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.”
A few kings started out with good intentions, but later fell into sin.
But one king, Amaziah, is uniquely described in this way:
And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart. – 2 Chronicles 25:2
Amaziah is recorded as performing many good and godly acts. He was merciful, wise, and obedient to the words of the prophets of God.
But one day, he began to worship the gods of his defeated enemies.
Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them. Wherefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand? – 2 Chronicles 25:14-15
God had just helped Amaziah defeat the Edomites, yet Amaziah brought their man-made gods home and worshiped them.
To those reading the account, Amaziah’s decision makes no sense. God had proven himself abundantly good to Amaziah, and yet Amaziah suddenly shifted his loyalties to the losing team.
But don’t we do the same thing at times?
We know we are on the winning team, so to speak. We belong to a God who has freely given us new life, grace, strength, victory, hope, and so much more.
It’s clear where our unwavering loyalties should lie.
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. – Psalm 95:6-7a
But we can be so easily, though illogically, drawn away from God, putting other things ahead of him, or in place of him.
I sometimes bow to the fear of what others think of me. Even being busy with good activities can become an idol to me, if that busyness excludes him, or becomes all about me and my pride.
After considering all that, I understand Amaziah’s actions a bit better. Though it makes no sense, it can be just as easy to set up idols in our own lives as it was for him.
Have you ever struggled with putting an idol in place of God? I welcome your thoughts.