Not With a Loyal Heart
by Jacob Hudgins
“And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart”(2 Chr 25:2)
What a legacy! Amaziah was the king of semi-faithfulness. The divine verdict on his life is that “he did what was right in the sight of the Lord”—God gives him credit for the faith he had and good works he did. “But not with a loyal heart” adds an entirely new dimension—that despite some righteousness, his lack of continued faithfulness tarnishes his legacy and jeopardizes his soul.
Amaziah listened to God—then refused to listen. When he hired Israelites to fight with his army against Edom, a prophet warned him, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel—not with any of the children of Ephraim”(2 Chr 25:7). Impressively, Amaziah dismissed the hired soldiers and won a great victory with his own men through the power of God. Yet when a prophet rebuked his acceptance of foreign idols, Amaziah responded, “Have we made you the king’s counselor? Cease! Why should you be killed?”(2 Chr 25:16). The same Amaziah who acted out of faith in God now threatens the man sent from God. Amaziah listened to God—but “not with a loyal heart”.
Amaziah obeyed God—then refused to obey. Amaziah became king after his father, Joash, was murdered, and he had the murderers killed. But note, “however he did not execute their children, but did as it is written in the Law in the Book of Moses”(2 Chr 25:4). Amaziah knew and obeyed the book of the Law. Yet he refused to obey that same book when “he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them”(2 Chr 25:14). God’s law warned against idolatry, yet Amaziah refused to obey one part of the book even after obeying another. Amaziah obeyed God—but “not with a loyal heart”.
Our lesson is that we cannot rest on past righteousness and reputation. Amaziah had early success due to his obedience to God—and he was rightfully praised for it, even by God. Yet this did not ensure obedience later in his life. For us, we cannot base our perception of our spiritual state on past righteousness. There will be new decisions, and new trials, and new opportunities that will continually test our heart. Is it loyal? Our choices this week are not yet made. What will they show about our heart? Is it loyal?
Someday our legacy will be written, the divine verdict etched in stone. Will it say “he did what was right in the sight of the Lord”? Or will it add that tragic caveat: “but not with a loyal heart”?