August 16

2 Chronicles 25:7-9 7But a man of God came to him and said, "O king, these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the LORD is not with Israel–not with any of the people of Ephraim. 8Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow." 9Amaziah asked the man of God, "But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?" The man of God replied, "The LORD can give you much more than that."

Amaziah, son of Joash, began to reign at the age of 25. At first he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not with all his heart. He mustered the troops to battle against Edom. The forces were only a third of what they once were when godly kings reigned. He hired another 100,000 soldiers from Israel as mercenaries. Then a prophet of God came with the warning that is the text for today. "If you use these soldiers, God will cause you to be defeated, because it is God who decides the outcome of wars."

Amaziah asked a question that is so much like what we would ask, "But what about all the money I paid already?" The prophet told him the obvious answer, "God can give you much more than that."

He sent the troops back knowing that he was throwing away the money and infuriating them. The mercenaries did retaliate and raided some of the cities of Judah. It cost Amaziah to be obedient to God. God gave Amaziah the victory without them. The plunder would have been much more than the price he paid for the mercenaries. Don't be tempted to use people and ways that God has not blessed. This is another illustration of the danger of yoking up with unbelievers.

Then he did one of the most foolish things recorded in Scripture. He took the idols of the people he defeated and began to worship them. They certainly hadn't benefited their former owners. He forsook the God who gave victory for ones that couldn't help. From that time on it was downhill for Amaziah. In our day the enemy's gods are subtler than idols. They come in the form of man's wisdom and pleasures of this life.

Warning: Be careful to follow the LORD with all your heart so that when He gives you success, you do not turn to the powerless and vain things of this world but stay wholeheartedly dedicated to the LORD.