Why do you serve God? Perhaps you serve God because that is what your parents did. Perhaps you serve God because that is what your spouse desires. Perhaps you serve God for the sake of your children. Perhaps your reasons are less noble.
The Chronicles are often neglected books. But we do ourselves a disservice to neglect any of the sacred writings. There are a number of extraordinarily deep statements in the Chronicles. One that bears upon our thoughts today is a statement made in 2 Chronicles 25:2. In a description of king Amaziah, the inspired text reads, “he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart” (ESV).
The depiction of the reign of this king shows him to be a man who was not completely devoted to God. Perhaps he served God because his father did. We are told that he “did in all things as Joash his father had done” (2 Kings 14:3). He did not serve God with a whole heart, and his errors are those which indicate a lack of faith.
Amaziah doubted the power of God to conquer his enemies. Instead of being content with warriors from Judah, he hired soldiers of fortune from Israel. When a prophet of God chided him for it, Amaziah was more concerned about the money he paid the soldiers than the disregard he paid to God. These mercenaries showed their character when they raided the cities of Judah while they were left undefended (2 Chronicles 25:13).
Amaziah doubted the sovereignty and Lordship of God to control his life. After a victorious campaign against the Edomites, Amaziah returned with idols, set them up, and worshiped them (2 Chronicles 25:14). He rebuked the prophet sent to him and threatened the prophet’s life. This resulted in an ignoble end to Amaziah’s reign and life. He was defeated by Israel, captured by Joash, and eventually killed by his own people.
The story of Amaziah’s half-hearted service to God should be a wake-up call to all. It should prompt self-examination (2 Corinthians 13:5). Specifically, we should ask the question of ourselves which was posed at the outset of this article: “Why do I serve God?”
If our service is not from a wholehearted devotion toward our Maker, then we will not succeed in that service. When opposition arises, we will put our trust in something or someone other than God. When opportunity arises, we will fulfill our heart’s desires instead fulfilling God’s. And when we are opposed, we will disregard the message instead of heeding the correction, repenting, and being healed.
God has always been concerned about the heart. We can feign service to God, but we cannot fool the Almighty. We would do well to meditate upon the wisdom David left with Solomon, “know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought” (1 Chronicles 28:9).