2 Kings 14:1-14 – Remembering That We Are Not “All That & A Bag of Chips!”

Posted: July 31, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 14:1-14

Amaziah Rules in Judah

One of the dangers early in an appointment in a Methodist church is the “honeymoon period” of being the new pastor. Usually, from what I understand from other pastors, those first few months are often a time when things happen fast, when anything you try is received positively, and there is often growth because of the breath of fresh air that a new pastor inevitably brings – new perspectives, new ways of thinking, just being different from the previous pastor. It is easy to think, as the new pastor, that this is the way it’s always going to be and that anything you touch is gold. That’s the place, the phase of the ministry here at Lamar that I find myself in right now. I am the new pastor. I am the breath of fresh air. Everyone is excited and energized.

The thing that I must remember as I pass through this honeymoon period is that it really is not about me. The growth that we are experiencing in attendance, the energy that is now present among the faithful of our church is not because of me. I am a rookie pastor. I am no expert at this. Yes, I have plenty of experience from my business career that can help me. Yes, I have plenty of background with large churches that can help provide a different view that is helpful to this church. But, it’s not about me. The danger is that it can be easy in the flesh that you can think that it is – about me.

One of the things that I said to the leadership of this church at our first “meet and greet” back in May was that “if we keep our eyes on Jesus, I think we will be OK.” That’s the thing. Anything that I accomplish here, any growth that comes, any energy that comes, any success for the kingdom that comes is because God ordained it to happen. Any success that comes will be because it is pleasing to Him. Any success not based on what is pleasing to God is simply not sustainable. Any success based on bringing glory to ourselves is simply not sustainable. Any success that is personal kingdom building is not sustainable.

We as a church and I as its pastor must always keep our eye on Jesus. When we take our eyes off Jesus we will be like Peter who could walk on water when he kept his eyes on Jesus but sank when he did not. Thus, everything we do, everything that I do as pastor, must be measured by whether it brings glory to Jesus or not. When it brings glory to ourselves, rather than Jesus, then we will fail like Peter did.

That’s what I thought of this morning when I read through this passage, 2 Kings 14:1-14. In it, King Amaziah became proud of his own accomplishment. He thought he “was all that and a bag of chips”, as the old saying goes. He thought he was more powerful than he really was. Because of the wars that the southern kingdom had been fighting, the strength of their army was reduced. Further, the northern kingdom was simply bigger, had more people to raise an army from, so Judah picking a fight with their cousins to the north was simply not wise. Add to that, the depleted nature of the Judean army made this easy pickings for the northern kingdom. With all that in mind, let’s read the passage now:

14 In the second year of King Joash son of Joahaz of Israel, King Amaziah son of Joash of Judah, began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem. 3 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like his ancestor David; in all things he did as his father Joash had done. 4 But the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. 5 As soon as the royal power was firmly in his hand he killed his servants who had murdered his father the king. 6 But he did not put to death the children of the murderers; according to what is written in the book of the law of Moses, where the Lord commanded, “The parents shall not be put to death for the children, or the children be put to death for the parents; but all shall be put to death for their own sins.”

7 He killed ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt and took Sela by storm; he called it Jokthe-el, which is its name to this day.

8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to King Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, of Israel, saying, “Come, let us look one another in the face.” 9 King Jehoash of Israel sent word to King Amaziah of Judah, “A thornbush on Lebanon sent to a cedar on Lebanon, saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son for a wife’; but a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thornbush. 10 You have indeed defeated Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Be content with your glory, and stay at home; for why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you?”

11 But Amaziah would not listen. So King Jehoash of Israel went up; he and King Amaziah of Judah faced one another in battle at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 12 Judah was defeated by Israel; everyone fled home. 13 King Jehoash of Israel captured King Amaziah of Judah son of Jehoash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh; he came to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate, a distance of four hundred cubits. 14 He seized all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house, as well as hostages; then he returned to Samaria.

In this passage, we see that this parable compares Judah to a small thistle. King Amaziah had become proud after defeating the Edomites. Here, in this passage, he was trying to pick a fight with the northern kingdom because he was sure that his army was stronger. Jehoash tried to warn Amaziah not to attack by comparing his army to a cedar tree and Judah’s army to a small thistle. Amaziah had overrated his strength. His ambition was greater than his ability. He didn’t listen to Jehoash and was soundly defeated.

Pride in his capabilities blinded the Judean king. Pride made him think that everything he touched was golden and that he would have victory over a larger force. There is a lesson for me in this passage when it comes to ministry. We must always measure our steps by whether what we are doing gives glory to God or to ourselves. We must give God the glory for any success He allows us to have. We must not measure our success in human terms lest we become proud and it becomes all about us. When it becomes all about us, we will fail. Anything that we do in ministry must be viewed from the lens of (1) whether it draws people unto Jesus Christ or (2) once drawn to Him, whether it deepens their relationship with Jesus or not. Otherwise, church becomes about us and what makes us happy and makes us look good. Otherwise, we begin to like pride seep in and think that it’s because we “are all that and a bag of chips!”

Father, help me to remember that you are the one that orchestrated me coming to this place. Help me to remember that you are the one that has specific things to be accomplished here during my ministry here. Help me to remember that together, me and my congregation, can do great things for the kingdom in this community but it will not be because of us but rather because God ordained it to be so. The only way that I, as a pastor, and we, as a congregation, will be successful, by God’s standards, is to keep our eyes on Him. We must measure everything we do by whether it brings expansion in width or in depth to His kingdom. We cannot see any growth as because of us and how cool we are or how attractive our church is. We must always be submitted to the Lord enough to see that it is because God ordained it to happen – we are just doing His bidding and the He is allowing us to do so. Let it not be about me or about us. Let us always keep our eyes on Jesus.

Amen and Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s