OVERCONFIDENCE will ‘LEAD’ us to our DEFEAT: Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, "Come, let us face one another in battle." And Jehoash king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, "The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, 'Give your daughter to my son as wife'; and a wild beast that was in Lebanon passed by and trampled the thistle. You have indeed defeated Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Glory in that, and stay at home; for why should you meddle with trouble so that you fall--you and Judah with you?" But Amaziah would not heed. (2 Kings 14:8-11)
King Amaziah started very well (14:3) by establishing justice in the land and obeying the Word of God (Deut. 24:16). However, after he won a great victory over Edom, he became proud and overconfident. Being advised foolishly (2 Chronicles 25:17), Amaziah arrogantly challenged the Israelite king Jehoash to face him in battle (v. 8).
Jehoash replied to Amaziah in the form of a fable—a kind of story designed to teach a moral. By speaking of Amaziah as a thistle in comparison with the cedar of Lebanon, Jehoash tried to help Amaziah put a more realistic construction on his recent victory. In the “thistle fable” (Judges 9:8–15), the thistle said to the cedar, “Give your daughter to my son as wife” (a bush was making an impertinent request to a mighty tree). In this fable, the thistle (Amaziah) thought it was equal to a cedar of Lebanon (Jehoash) only to be trampled underfoot!
Actually, the northern kingdom of Israel was larger and more powerful than the southern kingdom of Judah (1 Kings 14:30; 15:16, 17). However, Amaziah was so confident of victory that he attacked Jehoash on his own territory at Beth-Shemesh, about 15 miles west of Jerusalem (2 Kings 14:11–12). What we see was that Judah was soundly defeated by Israel, the wall of Jerusalem was breached, the palace and the temple were spoiled, and Amaziah himself was taken captive and was probably consigned to serving Jehoash (2 Chr. 25:23–25).
This story teaches us a very important lesson: overconfidence will certainly lead to our defeat. We should be content with our sphere of victory as God gives us faith (Rom. 12:3). When we keep our eyes on God, our victories will humble us and God will get all the glory. But when we forget God, our victories in themselves will make us overconfident, which will eventually lead us to our spiritual defeat!
"Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; though they join forces, none will go unpunished" (Proverbs 16:5)