The King’s Dilemma

huge pile of cashAmaziah, king of Judah, was preparing his people to go into battle. He had mustered 300,000 soldiers, and Scripture tells us that “He also hired a hundred thousand fighting men from Israel for a hundred talents of silver.” (2 Chronicles 25:6)

There was a problem, though. God was not pleased with Amaziah’s decision. “But 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…. Even 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.’” (2 Chronicles 25:7-8)

What a dilemma! Amaziah had already plunked down what would today be the equivalent of more than $20,000,000. So what was he to do? “Amaziah asked the man of God, ‘But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?’” (2 Chronicles 25:9a). That was a fair question. He didn’t want to just throw the money away. However, he had already made a commitment. What should he do?

“The man of God replied, ‘The LORD can give you much more than that.’” (2 Chronicles 25:9b) Notice that there is no mention of the possibility of a refund from Israel. The prophet of God did not suggest that Israel would act like Walmart and cheerfully give back the money for any reason. He also did not tell Amaziah to have his 300,000 men go and take the money back. In essence what the man of God was saying was, “Don’t worry about it. God can more than make up the loss. Trust Him and stand by your word.”

“So Amaziah dismissed the troops who had come to him from Ephraim and sent them home….” (2 Chronicles 25:10) That was undoubtedly a difficult decision for Amaziah. He just sent 25% of his troops home with more than twenty million dollars in pay for doing nothing. He honored his commitment, however, and he knew that God could return, as the prophet had said, “much more than that.”

There may be times when you and I make commitments that might not be the best. Rather than seeing us go back on our word, though, God would have us follow through—even if it means our getting hurt in the process—being as David said, one “who keeps an oath even when it hurts.” (Psalm 15:4b) From God’s perspective being true to our word is an important commodity.


[adapted from Tom’s book, “Oh, Grow Up!“]

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