And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. — 2 Kings 14:24
Recently, a man from our church was sleeping deeply in the middle of the night when a panicked scream jarred him. Before he was completely awake, he jumped out of bed and burst into the hallway. There stood his teenage son, whimpering in fear, and still half asleep. “What’s wrong?” he demanded anxiously of his son. “There’s a snake in my bed!” the boy exclaimed wildly.
By this point, the father was fully awake and his son was starting to wake up as well. With heart still racing, the father reassured his son that of course there was no snake in the bed, and then went back to his own bed. Yet, while he lay there, his heart was still thundering in his chest. As he slowly relaxed, he pondered the event and his own reaction to it. Eventually he thought of the reaction people have to sin. Why is it that there isn’t such a reaction of disgust and fear when people encounter sin? Why don’t people scream in horror, and run or cry for help?
Clearly, sin is not as obvious as a snake, and since sin sometimes looks appealing, often people do not consider its consequences. However, the Jewish people knew the dangers of sin and God’s attitude toward it. Because of their heritage, they knew that sin caused death and destruction. So, why weren’t they horrified of sin? Why did they turn to idols instead of to God?
How about us? Are we horrified by the sin that we see around us? Living in a society where sin flourishes could cause us to become careless or indifferent to it, but we do not want that to be our reaction. We want to have the wisdom to see how deadly sin is, and to run from it in abhorrence, crying out to God for His strength and deliverance. We can learn a lesson from the young man who thought he had a snake in his bed!
King Amaziah of Judah served God, but not as devotedly as David, his forefather, had done. He regained control of Edom, which had been lost by a revolt under Jehoram (see chapter 8).
In verse 7, the “valley of salt” refers to a depression just below the Dead Sea. Selah, meaning “the rock,” may be a reference to the Nabatean capital of Petra, a city carved out of rocky cliffs. Amaziah renamed the city Joktheel, which means “conquered by God.”
Amaziah was over-confident after his defeat of Edom. He foolishly challenged King Joash (also called Jehoash) of Israel to war, perhaps to show off his army. Joash warned Amaziah to simply stay home and said that he would surely be defeated — using the metaphor that Judah was a thistle and Israel a cedar tree. Amaziah refused to heed the warning and attacked on Judah’s own territory at Beth-shemesh, about fifteen miles west of Jerusalem. In the aftermath of being soundly defeated by Israel, Amaziah himself was temporarily taken captive, his palace and the Temple of God were spoiled, hostages were taken, and the city wall was broken down. This left the inhabitants of Jerusalem unprotected and disgraced.
Amaziah was the second king of Judah to die by conspiracy (verse 19). This conspiracy may have been caused by dissatisfaction with Amaziah after his senseless war with Israel. He fled to Lachish, a stronghold thirty-five miles southwest of Jerusalem, and was killed there. He was given a royal burial in Jerusalem. In contrast to the events in Israel, Judah always installed the son of the slain king as the new king. Amaziah’s son, Azariah, is also known as Uzziah.
In verse 23, the account moves from Amaziah’s reign in Judah to Jeroboam’s reign in Israel. Jeroboam was the last strong king of Israel. He did not follow God, yet he was a master war commander and skilled administrator, and caused Israel to flourish. During his reign, Israel enjoyed a prosperity and power that had not been since Solomon’s time. However, there was corruption within. The Prophets Amos and Hosea indicated that there was a lack of justice and fairness, causing those who were rich to get richer and those who were poor to become poorer. The nation became self-centered and self-dependent.
During this time of sin and moral decline in both Israel and Judah, several of the prophets, including Hosea, Amos, and Jonah, preached and wrote under God’s direction.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah
J. Amaziah of Judah (14:1-22)
1. The character of Amaziah’s reign (14:1-4)
2. The vengeance on his father’s slayers (14:5-6)
3. The military exploits of Amaziah (14:7-14)
a. His defeat of Edom (14:7)
b. His defeat by Jehoash of Israel (14:8-14)
(1) His challenge (14:8-10)
(2) His defeat (14:11-14)
4. The death of Amaziah (14:15-22)
a. The death of Jehoash (14:15-16)
b. The assassination of Amaziah (14:17-20)
c. The ascension of Uzziah (14:21-22)
K. Jeroboam II of Israel (14:23-29)
1. The character of Jeroboam’s reign (14:23-27)
2. The death of Jeroboam (14:28-29)
Today, each of us can pray for a sensitive spirit, so we will not become indifferent or tolerant toward sin.