We should FOLLOW after God ‘WHOLEHEARTEDLY’: "Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart." (2 Chron. 25:1-2)
King Amaziah became the 9th king of Judah at the age of 25 after the tragic demise of his father Joash, who died in ignominy and in much pain. Amaziah was a moderately good king who reigned for twenty-nine years from 796–767 B.C. The records are clear that he served God, but not with the same fervor as his great ancestor David. One of his first actions was to execute the servants who assassinated his father, and he obeyed God’s commandments by sparing their children (see 2 Kings 14:6). However, his obedience was only partial, and in his later years he succumbed to pride and picked a fight with the northern kingdom of Israel, which led to his eventual demise.
What is striking about Amaziah is that even though he did some things that were pleasing to God and in conformity to God’s laws, he did not follow after God wholeheartedly (25:2). Apparently, he kept some of the stipulations of God’s Law, but he may have done it more out of tradition than out of his heartfelt commitment to God. In fact, it is possible that Amaziah commitment to God was purely based out of convenience. While he spared the lives of Israelite children of murderers in accordance with the Law (25:3–4), he killed 10,000 innocent Edomites that was totally against God’s stipulations (25:11–12; 2 Kings 14:7–10). During other times as well, Amaziah was half-hearted in his trust and loyalty to God. Instead of trusting God for victory, he hired men from Israel; then he worried about the money he would lose if he obeyed God. Thus, he lived for the wrong values, following the wrong counsel, and eventually he died as an utter failure!
The legacy that Amaziah left for his future generations is a sobering reminder for us that having a nominal faith in God is almost as bad as having no faith in God at all. We can live as followers of Christ in name only, by having little or no relationship with God. We may attend church and show little (if any) spiritual commitment for the things that God desires from us. This is what Apostle James has to tell us in this regard: "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:19-20) Our outward works displayed through our talk and action has to underline our total commitment to God as His children!
God expects us to give Him the first place in our lives (Matt. 6:33), and to love Him and other people as much as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:37-40). The evidence that we love God is that we will obey Him wholeheartedly, as our Lord Jesus has instructed: "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Today, God is seeking disciples who are wholehearted in their commitment to Him (see Matt. 6:19–24). Instead of merely following a religious tradition that is of little value and dangerously self-deceiving, we should be totally committed in obeying, loving, and serving God every day of our lives.