Unified we stand! Divided we fall! Even with the right motive and intentions, if we don’t have unity then we run the risk of division and the fall. God calls us through His Word to walk in unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. He also tells us to make him truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose..
Whose plan are you trying to fulfill? Is it of man or of God? Are the man made plans for unity causing division? Are they creating more things that pull people apart? Are we grabbing onto God’s plan and inviting Him into our heart so that we are giving up trying to do everything our way but submitting our plans to Jesus to work it out in and through us His way?
Don’t be trying to divide! Don’t be trying to mess up!
We need to realize that by trying to bring unity into a situation it will automatically create division. Jesus faced it when there were those who believed in Him and those who did not.
Today’s reading begins in a situation where the king’s heart was towards God but the cultural competing forces remained in place…
1In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel, Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah became king. 2He was 25 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. 3Now he did what was right in the eyes of Adonai, yet not like his father David—he did like all his father Joash had done. 4Still, the high places were not taken away. The people were still sacrificing and burning incense in the high places. 5Once the kingdom was established in his hand, he killed his courtiers who had assassinated his father the king. 6However, he did not execute the children of the assassins, keeping what is written in the Torah of Moses, where Adonai commanded saying, “The fathers will not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but each one will be put to death for his own sin.” 7He struck down 10,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt, captured Sela in the battle, and renamed it Joktheel, as it is to this day. 8Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come! Let’s meet face to face.” 9But King Jehoash of Israel sent word to King Amaziah of Judah, saying, “The briar in Lebanon sent word to the cedar in Lebanon saying: ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ But a wild beast in Lebanon passed by and trampled down the briar. 10You have indeed defeated Edom, and your heart has become arrogant. Glory and stay at home! Why should you provoke trouble and cause your own downfall—you and Judah with you?” 11But Amaziah would not listen. So King Jehoash of Israel advanced, and he and Amaziah king of Judah confronted each other at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 12Judah was routed before Israel—they fled every man to his home. 13King Jehoash of Israel captured King Amaziah of Judah, son of Jehoash son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh. Then Jehoash advanced to Jerusalem and breached the wall of Jerusalem from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate—400 cubits. 14He also took all the gold and silver and all the articles that were found in the House of Adonai and in the treasuries of the royal palace, as well as hostages, and returned to Samaria. 15Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 16Then Jehoash slept with his fathers and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. Then his son Jeroboam became king in his place. 17And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived fifteen years after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel. 18Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 19They conspired against him in Jerusalem, so he fled to Lachish, but they sent men after him to Lachish and assassinated him there. 20Then they brought his body back on horses, and he was buried in Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David. 21And all the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and proclaimed him king in place of his father Amaziah. 22It was he who rebuilt Elath and restored it to Judah after the previous king slept with his fathers. 23In the fifteenth year of Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned 41 years. 24But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. He did not turn away from all the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 25It was he who restored Israel’s border from the entrance of Hamath to the sea of the Arabah, as was the word of Adonai, God of Israel, which He spoke by the hand of His servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher. 26For Adonai saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter and spared no one—whether bond or free—nor was there a helper for Israel. 27But Adonai did not say He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so He delivered them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Joash. 28Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam and all that he did, and his might, including how he fought and recovered Damascus and Hamath for Judah in Israel, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 29Then Jeroboam slept with his fathers with the kings of Israel. His son Zechariah became king in his place.
–from 2 Kings 14
Will you start strong and finish weak? We need to finish strong! If we don’t run the race to win then we can lose it in the end. Consider runners of marathons…if they sprint out of the gate and are leading for half of the race but then run out of energy…if they run at a pace to stay near the front and leave enough in the tank to sprint out the finish…if they run at a pace to stay near the front but then in the middle get tripped up they may end up not even being able to complete the race…
God wants us to finish strong for the glory of His kingdom. Today’s reading speaks to this with the same story but in a different book…
Amaziah Begins Well
1Amaziah was 25 years old when he became king and reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan from Jerusalem. 2Now he did what was right in the eyes of Adonai, but not wholeheartedly. 3Once he had the kingdom firmly secured under him, he executed his courtiers who had assassinated his father the king. 4He did not put their children to death, but acted according to what is written in the Torah, in the book of Moses, which Adonai commanded saying, “Parents should not die for the children, neither should the children die for the parents, but every person should die for his own sin.” 5Amaziah gathered together the people of Judah and assigned them according to their clans to officers of thousands and officers of hundreds for all Judah and Benjamin. He mustered those from 20 years old and upward, and found 300,000 chosen men, able to go to war, able to handle spear and shield. 6He also hired 100,000 valiant warriors from Israel for a hundred talents of silver. 7But a man of God came to him saying, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for Adonai is not with Israel—not with any of the children of Ephraim. 8For if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has power to help and to bring down.” 9But Amaziah said to the man of God, “And what is to be done about the 100 talents that I have given to the Israelite troops?” The man of God answered, “Adonai is able to give you much more than that.” 10So, Amaziah dismissed the troops who had come to him from Ephraim to go back to their homes. Their anger burned greatly against Judah and they returned home in a rage. 11Amaziah then took courage and leading his army, marched to the Valley of Salt. He struck down 10,000 men of Seir. 12The army of Judah also captured 10,000 alive, and brought them to the top of the cliff. They threw them down from the top of the cliff and everyone fell to their death. 13Meanwhile the troops that Amaziah had sent back and not allowed to go with him to battle raided the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth-Horon. They struck down 3,ooo of them and took considerable spoils.
Idolatry and Defiance
14Now after Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he had the gods of the men of Seir brought and installed as his gods. He prostrated himself before them and burned incense to them.15The anger of Adonai burned against Amaziah, and He sent a prophet to him, who said to him, “Why have you sought after the gods of the people who could not deliver their own people from your hand?”16But while he was still speaking to him, the king said to him, “Have we appointed you a counselor to the king? Stop! Why should you be struck down?” So the prophet stopped after he said, “Now I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have acted this way and have not listened to my counsel.” 17Then Amaziah king of Judah took counsel and sent this message to Joash son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel saying, “Come, let us meet face to face.” 18Joash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah saying: “The thorn bush in Lebanon sent a message to the cedar in Lebanon saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ Then a wild beast of Lebanon passed by and trambled the thorn bush. 19You say, ‘Behold, I have defeated Edom.’ So now your heart has become arrogant and proud. Stay home! Why ask for trouble and cause your own downfall and that of Judah with you?” 20However, Amaziah would not listen, for it was from God in order that He might deliver them into the hand of Joash because they had sought the gods of Edom. 21So King Joash of Israel attacked. He and King Amaziah of Judah confronted one another at Beth-shemesh, which belonged to Judah. 22Then Judah was routed before Israel, and every man fled to his tent. 23King Joash of Israel captured King Amaziah of Judah—son of Joash, son of Jehoahaz—in Beth-shemesh. Then Joash brought him to Jerusalem and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Ephraim gate to the Corner Gate, 400 cubits. 24He took all the gold and silver and all the vessels that were found in the House of God with Obed-edom, together with the treasuries of the king’s palace and the hostages, and returned to Samaria. 25Amaziah the son of King Joash of Judah lived 15 years after the death of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel. 26Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, the first and the last, behold, are they not written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel? 27From the time that Amaziah turned away from following Adonai, they conspired against him in Jerusalem, so he fled to Lachish. But they sent men after him to Lachish and put him to death there. 28Then they brought him back on horses and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.
–from 2 Chronicles 25
We need to stand strong! We need to stand firm on the rock of Jesus Christ and the Word of God! We need to do what is right! We need to live a biblical worldview in order that people hear hope, see hope, and feel hope! We need to be ethical leaders who do what is right even when people aren’t looking! Businesses were designed to bless people! Bless employees! Bless investors! Bless customers! All businesses have the purpose to meet the need of people!
As the CEO of your piece of the world, Chief Ethics Officer, how are you living and leading others? Are you filling others? Are you leading them?
A Mitzvah on Shabbat
1Yeshua entered the synagogue again, and a man with a withered hand was there. 2Now some were carefully watching Him, to see if He would heal him on Shabbat, so that they might accuse Him. 3He said to the man with the withered hand, “Stand up here in the center.” 4Then He said to them, “Is it permitted on Shabbat to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5After looking around at them with anger, grieved by their hardness of heart, He says to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6The Pharisees went out right away with the Herodians and began plotting against Him, how they might destroy Him.
Crowds Clamor for Yeshua
7Yeshua withdrew to the sea with His disciples, and a large crowd from the Galilee followed. From Judea, 8and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon, a great number, hearing all He was doing, came to Him. 9He told His disciples to have a small boat ready for Him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn’t mob Him. 10For He had healed many, so that all those afflicted fell down before Him in order to touch Him. 11And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, would fall down before Him and cry out, “You are Ben-Elohim!” 12But Yeshua strictly ordered them not to make Him known.
Appointing the Twelve
13Now He climbs up on the mountain and calls those He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. 14He appointed twelve (whom He also named emissaries), so that they might be with Him and He might send them to proclaim the Good News, 15and to have power to drive out demons. 16And He appointed the Twelve: to Simon He gave the name Peter; 17to Jacob and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee, He gave the name Boanerges, which is Sons of Thunder; 18and Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Jacob the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot; 19and Judah from Kriot, who also betrayed Him.
Binding the Strong Man
20Then He comes into a house, and again a crowd gathers so they couldn’t even eat. 21When His family heard about this, they went out to take hold of Him; for they were saying, “He’s out of His mind!” 22The Torah scholars who came down from Jerusalem said, “He’s possessed by beelzebul,” and, “By the ruler of demons He drives out demons.” 23He called them and began speaking to them in parables: “How can satan drive out satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but his end has come. 27“But no one can enter a strong man’s house to ransack his property, unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he will thoroughly plunder his house. 28Amen, I tell you, all things will be forgiven the sons of men, the sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever slanders the Ruach ha-Kodesh never has release, but is guilty of an eternal sin!” 30For they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
A Spiritual Family Begins
31Then His mother and brothers come. Standing outside, they sent word to Him, summoning Him. 32A crowd was sitting around Him, and they tell Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” 33Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34Looking at those sitting in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
–from Mark 3