Is God For You Or Against You?
“God will overthrow you, for he has the power to help you or to trip you up.” – 2 Chronicles 25:8b NLT
Chapter 25 of 2 Chronicles gives us some further insight into the story of King Amaziah of Judah and the events surrounding his defeat at the hands of Israel. It seems that Amaziah started off well. We’re told that he “did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight,” but then we’re given the additional little caveat, “but not wholeheartedly.” He was half-hearted in his obedience, devotion, and submission to God. Sometimes he did what he was supposed to do. Other times, he did what he wanted to do. His real god seemed to be military conquest and power. He formed an army comprised of 300,000 trained men, then added to that number 100,000 more paid mercenaries from the northern kingdom of Israel. But a prophet of God warns Amaziah against going into battle with these Israeli soldiers on his payroll. The prophet warns him, “Your majesty, do not hire troops from Israel, for the Lord is not with Israel. He will not help those people of Ephraim!” (2 Chronicles 25:7 NLT). If he chooses to disobey God’s warning, he will be defeated, no matter how well armed, trained, and numerous his troops are. If he disobeys God, he will be fighting against God – and that is a no-win situation.
But it is amazing how easy it is to inadvertently do battle with God when we choose to ignore His counsel or refuse to seek His advice. He has given us His written Word, but we too often leave it out of our decision-making processes. And yet, He “has the power to help you or to trip you up.” It’s interesting that Amaziah’s first concern when given the warning by the prophet is about the money he stood to lose if he sent the Israelite troops packing. He said, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?” (2 Chronicles 25:9a NLT). Wait a minute God! I stand to lose a lot of money if I listen to You! We’re talking 7,500 pounds of silver – down the drain, wasted, squandered – if I listen to God. This can’t be God’s will. It doesn’t make good financial sense. It’s fiscal suicide! But the prophet simply replies, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this!” (2 Chronicles 25:9b NLT). Just do it! Don’t try and rationalize your decision or justify your desire to obey God’s clear command. Remember, He has the power to help you or to trip you up. Amaziah could have used a little bit of Micah 6:8 about this time. “He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord really wants from you:He wants you topromote justice, to be faithful,and to live obediently before your God.” God wanted Amaziah to do the just thing, not the expedient thing. God wanted Amaziah to put his faith in Him, not an army. God wanted Amaziah to make his faith into practice by obeying instead of justifying his own actions.
And God wants the same things from you and me. It doesn’t pay to fight against God. That’s a battle you will always win. God’s ways don’t always make sense. His will is not always palatable or even enjoyable. Obeying is not always easy. But it always pays. It always brings blessing. God has the power to help us or trip us up. His will always wins out. We will never lose if we always obey. Our obedience may cost us, but He will make up any loss we suffer in ways we could never even imagine. Jesus put it this way, “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” (Matthew 16:25 NLT). We never lose with God on our side.
Father, why would I ever willfully choose to leave You off my team? It just makes no sense. But I do it every single day in a variety of ways. I rationalize, justify, ignore, and avoid Your divine will in order that I can do my own. I decide that Your way is too costly and then learn the hard way that disobedience carries a much higher price in the long run. Father, You have the power to help me or trip me up. Why would I ever choose the latter over the former? I know. Pride. Continue to deliver me from myself. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men