Success! We all want to be successful, whether we are working toward finishing high school, working on a college degree, heading out to find a job, or building a career or business. The world has a lot to say about success, and there are many authors out there giving advice on how to find success.
Amaziah, King of Judah, was no different. He inherited the throne after Joash, his father (and former King), was killed by his own servants. I’m sure Amaziah did not want to make the same mistakes. In fact, scripture tells us in II Chronicles that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord – at least initially. But there is a pattern in Amaziah’s life that ultimately leads to a fall, time in prison, and eventually a dishonorable death.
In the 25th chapter of II Chronicles we read part of Amaziah’s life story. What pattern of disobedience led to this man’s fall? It was looking to men rather than God, for success. In the first case, Amaziah reaches out to Israel for help. At this time in history, Israel has turned to idol worship. They are not following after God’s ways. But Amaziah has his eye on their mighty army – he invests in 100,000 mighty warriors to add to his 300,000, to go against the people of Seir. But a prophet is sent by God to stop him.
Amaziah has already made the investment. He’s spent the 100 talents for these men, and apparently it’s nonrefundable. But the prophet wisely says – “God can replace the 100 talents, but send the men home.” Have you ever spent money on the wrong solution, and then rationalized, “I’ve already spent the money, so I will just go ahead this time”? Then the prophet says, “Go ahead if you want, but you will lose – but be brave and do your best.”
On this occasion, Amaziah listens to the prophet, forfeits his money, and goes to battle with his original 300,000. As foretold by the prophet, he is victorious. But then he does something really stupid. He looks to the gods of the defeated army! Why would he do that? Scripture doesn’t tell us what was so enticing, but Amaziah stops trusting God, and looks to the idols of Seir for help. This is human nature – to look to something physical rather than spiritual. To find a way other than God for success.
Again, the prophet of God warns him – but this time Amaziah threatens the prophet. We can see from his threats to Israel that he is now filled with pride. It is his own pride over his recent success that drives him to look to his own means, and to go up against Israel in battle. In fact, it is this same pride that cause him to look to idols in the first place. Now that he’s seen success, he has convinced himself that he doesn’t really need God. His whole life begins to crumble at this point. He loses the battle, is taken prisoner, and is eventually killed by his own men, just like his father.
Building a business is hard – success in business is hard. It is tempting to think that reaching out to man’s methods is necessary – but it’s not. Often, it is right after some small success, that we get it in our heads that bigger success lies ahead if we’ll begin following the world’s formulas for success. Partnering with seemingly successful, but corrupt people (like Israel was at this time in history), looking to bank loans or some other source of capital investment, or even seeking counsel from ungodly business coaches or professors – all of these things fall into the same category as Amaziah’s ways.
Later this week we will be holding the Christian Business Owners Planning & Strategy Workshop in Waxhaw. These lessons form the basis for building a successful business plan – join us for a time of exploring these principles in greater detail. There are still a couple of seats left.
© 2013, David Stelzl