But a man of God came to the king and said, "O king, do
not hire troops from Israel, for the Lord is not with Israel. He will not
help those people of Ephraim! If you let them go with your troops into
battle, you will be defeated no matter how well you fight. God will
overthrow you, for he has the power to help or to frustrate."
Amaziah asked the man of God, "But what should I do about the silver I paid
to hire the army of Israel?"
The man of God replied, "The Lord is able to give you much more than this!"
2 Chron. 25:7-9
Amaziah, King of Judah, had sinfully leagued himself with
idolaters. From principles of worldly policy, he had formed an alliance with
the kingdom of Israel, then at enmity with God. The prophet of the Lord was
thereupon commissioned to warn him of the consequences, in these words--"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." Still, he was left
free to act as he pleased. "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." The king hesitated. He had given, out of his treasury, a hundred
talents of silver for the promised help; and now, he would receive no
equivalent. No assurance even is granted by the prophet that the loss should
be repaired. He is simply told, that the silver and the gold are God's, to
give or to withhold--"The Lord is able to give you much more than this."
Amaziah at length yields to the voice of warning. He separates himself from
the army that came out of Ephraim, and obtains a remarkable victory in the
Valley of Salt.
Reader, this narrative is most instructive. We have only
given the outline. Read it in your Bible, prayerfully. You may discover
points of striking resemblance between the case of Amaziah and your own;
and, at some period, you may remember having asked the same question, "What
shall I get for the hundred talents?" The claims of the world often conflict
with those of religion, and a struggle ensues. Duty says, "Do this;"
inclination, self-interest, worldly policy demand, "But what shall I have in
return for the sacrifice?" See, the man who has been induced by the Spirit
of God to yield himself to the service of Christ, has he no sacrifices? Must
he not surrender old habits, desires, and companions--habits, which had
become ingrained in his nature, and friends in whose society he once took
delight. Yes; there are sacrifices. He must exchange the smile of the world
for its withering frown; he must abstain from pleasures, once congenial to
his taste--pursuits, which promised high advancement, and objects, on which
his every desire was fixed. And this he must do, trusting simply to the
assurance--"The Lord is able to give you more than this."
Unbelief may whisper, "But is He also willing?"
Experience might afford convincing proof that He is; but such doubts are
unworthy of being entertained for a moment. God must be trusted. He asks for
a childlike confidence. He says, as of old to Amaziah, "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." If you are resolved to continue
the unholy alliance with the enemies of God, then, hold to these pleasures
of the world, retain your love for old habits and pursuits; but remember the
fatal consequences. Reader, do you know anything of this feeling--this
conflict between duty and self-interest? You listen to the Sabbath bell, as
it rings out a loving invitation to the house of God. Do you ever feel the
risings of a wish to absent yourself on some trivial pretext?--the state of
the weather, the visit of a neighbor, or the few miles of distance. Ah! it
is the old Amaziah doubt, "What shall I get for my sacrifice?" You have a
family altar. The sacred hour of devotion comes round; business, pleasure,
urge their demands--there is a hesitation, a struggle between duty and
worldly interest, and the question returns, "What shall I get for my
sacrifice of time?"
A poor sufferer lives in your neighborhood; he has few to
speak the word of comfort--few to read to him the promises of God--duty bids
you visit his solitary chamber, and bear glad tidings to the tried,
afflicted one; but your worldly affairs press hard upon you, and again you
ask, "What shall I get for the loss I may sustain?"
Christian! trust God; and be assured, that whatever labor
you may undergo--whatever sacrifices you may make--"the Lord is able to give
you much more than this." Does God require the performance of any duty?
Then, let it be done at whatever cost, for there your true interest lies.
Duty called Moses to relinquish his high position in Pharaoh's
household--his apparent interest lay in keeping it; but he looked onward to
the future--he took the balances in his hand, and fairly weighed, what he
must now forego, against what he should hereafter receive--what he must now
endure, against what he should hereafter enjoy--and, eventually he secured
his true and best interest.
Reader! follow his example, and his reward shall be
yours. Be assured, you cannot be a loser, by resolving, at all hazards, not
to lose the favor and the friendship of God. He can give you all you need,
for "all things are His." Yes, and if you act thus, He will give you peace
and comfort, hope and joy here--and glory, honor, and immortality hereafter.
"Grant, O Lord, unto Your servant, the spirit to think
and to do always such things as be rightful. Give me grace to trust You, and
to feel assured, that the path of duty is the path of true and lasting
happiness. Teach me Your will, and incline my heart unto Your testimonies,
that in all my works begun, continued, or ended in You, I may glorify Your
name, and, finally, by your mercy, obtain everlasting life through Jesus
Christ my Lord."
"Is this the way, my Father?" "Yes, my child.
You must pass through the tangled, dreary wild,
If you would reach the City undefiled–
Your peaceful home above."
"But enemies are round!" "Yes, child, I know
That where you least expect you will find a foe,
But victor you shall prove o'er all below–
Only, seek strength above."
"My Father, it is dark!" "Child, take my hand;
Cling close to Me--I'll lead you through the land;
Trust My all-seeing care--so shall you stand
Midst glory bright above."
"My footsteps seem to slide!" "Child, only raise
Your eye to Me, then in these slippery ways
I will hold up your goings; you shall praise
Me for each step above."
"O Father, I'm weary!" "Child, lean your head
Upon My breast; it was My love that spread
Your rugged path; hope on still, until I have said,
Rest--rest forever above." –Monsell