2Kings 14:1-14

Sunday Morning Bible Study

August 18, 2002

The Folly of Meddling

The Gossiper

A woman repeated a bit of gossip about a neighbor. Within a few days the whole community knew the story. The person it concerned was deeply hurt and offended. Later the woman responsible for spreading the rumor learned that it was completely untrue. She was very sorry and went to a wise old sage to find out what she could do to repair the damage. “Go to the marketplace,” he said, “and purchase a chicken, and have it killed. Then on your way home, pluck its feathers and drop them one by one along the road.” Although surprised by this advice, the woman did what she was told. The next day the wise man said, “Now go and collect all those feathers you dropped yesterday and bring them back to me.” The woman followed the same road, but to her dismay, the wind had blown the feathers all away. After searching for hours, she returned with only three in her hand. “You see,” said the old sage, “it’s easy to drop them, but it’s impossible to get them back. So it is with gossip. It doesn’t take much to spread a rumor, but once you do, you can never completely undo the wrong.”

Author Unknown, Submitted by Helen Hazinski from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul; Copyright 1997 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger

This morning, I want to talk about the trouble we get ourselves into when we meddle with things we don’t belong in.

:1-6 Amaziah reigns in Judah

:1 reigned Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah

Amaziah = “Yahweh is mighty”. Amaziah was the son of Joash. 

His father was the king who had been rescued as a baby from wicked queen Athaliah, raised by his uncle Jehoiada the high priest, and then became king at age 7. As long as Jehoiada was alive, Joash followed the Lord. But when Jehoiada died, Joash fell away from the Lord, brought idolatry into Judah, and even killed a prophet, Jehoiada’s son Zechariah (2Chr.24). Joash’s life ended when two of his own servants conspired against him and assassinated him (2Ki.13:20-21). Amaziah was then made king in the place of his father.

:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD

Amaziah is considered one of the “good kings”. He is a believer. He is a follower of Yahweh. The writer of Chronicles says:

(2 Chr 25:2 KJV) And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.

:5 as soon as the kingdom was confirmed …he slew his servants

Amaziah waited until he was firmly in control, then he met out justice to the men who assassinated his father.

:6 the children of the murderers he slew not

He might have had reason to believe that these children would one day rise up and kill him, but instead he chose to follow the Law:

Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

:7-14 Amaziah’s wars

:7 He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand

the valley of salt - the marshy plain at the south end of the Dead Sea.

(2Chronicles 25:5-11) As Amaziah was growing strong in his kingdom, he began to build an army. He had 300,000 “choice” men who were able to handle a spear and a shield. He also hired an additional 100,000 men from the northern kingdom of Israel with 7,500 pounds of silver.

But when a prophet warned him that he shouldn’t let the army of the northern kingdom go with him, he sent them home and prepared to go to battle against the Edomites.

It’s what happened after the battle that will cause Amaziah great trouble.

(2 Chr 25:14-16 KJV) Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them. {15} Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand? {16} And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king's counsel (“who made you king”)? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? (“shut up or I’ll hit you!”) Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel.

Perhaps it started simply by thinking that he was going to take home some prizes for his victory. But the more he toyed around with these Edomite gods, the more intrigued he became with them. And then he found that he kind of liked these Edomite gods. And Amaziah went into idolatry.


Weakness in victory

I think that one of the times that we are most vulnerable is after our greatest victories.  We let our guard down.
Amaziah has just won an incredible battle, and now he does something stupid like start to worship the gods of the very people he’s just conquered.

:7 took Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel

Sela = “the rock”. Selah is also known as the city of Petra. You’ve seen it in the last Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade. Petra was that place they rode to on the horses, through the narrow gorge, and then found the ancient temple carved into the stone.

Joktheel = “the blessedness of God”

:8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash …Come, let us look one another in the face.

When Amaziah had first faced the Edomites and ended up sending the hired Israelite troops home, they had done some damage. They were upset that they weren’t going to get to kill some Edomites, so they ravaged the nation of Judah instead, killing 3,000 people and looting some of the cities of Judah.

It would seem that Amaziah is looking for some kind of payback for the damage the Israelite troops caused.

Note: Though Jehoash’s father and grandfather (Jehoahaz and Jehu) had been suffering defeats by the Syrian king Hazael, Jehoash was starting back on the victory trail. Jehoash during his reign beat Benhadad (Hazael’s son) three times, and so must have been a pretty tough cookie.

:9 The thistle ... the cedar

Jehoash sends a reply back to Amaziah in the form of a parable.

A little, prickly thorn bush decides it’s going to make the big time and arrange a treaty by marriage with the huge, majestic cedar tree. But before anything else happens, a wild animal comes by and tramples the little thorn bush.

The point?

Amaziah is no bigger than a little thorn bush compared to large, majestic Jehoash.

If Amaziah doesn’t watch out, he might get trampled to death.  Anybody could beat Amaziah blindfolded, with their hands tied behind their back.

Get away from me kid, you’re bothering me!

:10 thou hast indeed smitten Edom

Jehoash has to give Amaziah that much credit.

:10 thine heart hath lifted thee up

It might sound like a bully, but I think that Jehoash has actually hit the nail on the head!


Watch out for pride and self-confidence

I think that sometimes a little too much confidence is a bad thing and can get us into trouble.
A Burst Of Confidence
When the employees of a restaurant attended a fire safety seminar, they watched a fire official demonstrate the proper way to operate an extinguisher. “Pull the pin like a hand grenade,” he explained, “then depress the trigger to release the foam.” Later an employee was selected to extinguish a controlled fire in the parking lot. In her nervousness, she forgot to pull the pin. The instructor hinted, “Like a hand grenade, remember?” In a burst of confidence she pulled the pin .... and hurled the extinguisher at the blaze.
I always cringe a little when I hear a new believer say something like, “I’m never going to do that again”, or, “I got the victory over this area of my life and I’ll never have this problem again”.
Our confidence is to be Jesus and what He has done and will do in our life.
(Prov 16:18 KJV) Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

:10 glory of this, and tarry at home

Or, “Just enjoy your victory over Edom, and stay at home!”

:10 why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt

meddle - garah - to cause strife, stir up, contend, meddle, strive, be stirred up

Webster: med•dle: to interest oneself in what is not one’s concern : interfere without right or propriety


Be careful where you stick your nose

Amaziah has meddled in two ways:
He’s gotten involved with ungodly things, the Edomite gods.
He’s gotten involved in a battle with Israel he shouldn’t have.
There are places that we as believers don’t belong:
We too get involved in ungodly things

Perhaps it’s allowing your heart to be drawn away as you are becoming to feel attached to someone you shouldn’t be attached to.

Perhaps it’s getting too involved in worldly stuff that takes you away from the Lord.

Pr 6:27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

Sometimes we get involved in battles that aren’t ours.

We can jump into problems between people, thinking we’re going to try and fix the situation, but in reality we only make things worse.

For a long time I’ve seen myself as a “peacemaker”. But a problem I’ve had in the past is that I haven’t done things correctly.

Often times I’ll listen to only one side of things and without realizing it I make a decision as to who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy”.  Then I’ll listen to the other side, and truly get confused.

To be a true peacemaker, you can’t take sides.

To be a true peacemaker, you need to get both individuals together and talk.  Hold their hands.  Pray with them.  But be careful about taking sides and taking on battles that aren’t yours.

(Prov 26:17 KJV) He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. (like a really BIG dog)


Get involved in the right things.

There is a place to get involved in the lives of others. It’s in helping the hurting, in reaching out to others. It’s in “loving your neighbor”.
Yet even this can be turned into “meddling” if we’re not careful.
Job and his “friends”
Job’s friends showed up because they knew that Job was going through a difficult time.
They sat in silence for seven days.
When Job finally speaks and begins to complain about his situation, they felt they needed to respond.
They actually say some pretty profound things. Many of the things they say contain truth.  The problem was they weren’t true for Job.

They kept trying to tell Job that he needed to repent. They felt that Job’s problems were all due to some sort of secret sin.

Sometimes sin does bring difficult times.  But this wasn’t the truth in Job’s case.

After one particular scathing speech from one of his friends where he was called a “windbag”, a “fool”, and a “wicked” person, Job replied:

(Job 16:2-5 NLT) "I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! {3} Won't you ever stop your flow of foolish words? What have I said that makes you speak so endlessly? {4} I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off my criticisms against you and shake my head at you. {5} But that's not what I would do. I would speak in a way that helps you. I would try to take away your grief.

Job knew what he needed, and he wasn’t getting it. Sometimes the person you’ll find the most comfort from is the person who has gone through the most.  They know exactly what you need.

The Good Samaritan
Jesus was explaining what it meant to love your neighbor.
(Luke 10:30-37 KJV) And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. {31} And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. {32} And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

Note that the “religious” people didn’t want to get involved.

{33} But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, {34} And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. {35} And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. {36} Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? {37} And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

The “Good Samaritan” saw a person in need and responded. He didn’t say, “I’ll bet you did something bad to deserve this!” He didn’t ask questions.  He didn’t go hunt down the thieves and beat them up.  He just showed mercy.

This is what Jesus has done for us.  He showed mercy.  He died on a cross.

:10 and Judah with thee?

When we meddle, we don’t just hurt ourselves, but we hurt others around us.

:11 But Amaziah would not hear.

God was going to use Amaziah’s pride against him, to teach him a lesson:

2Ch 25:20 But Amaziah would not hear; for it [came] of God, that he might deliver them into the hand [of their enemies], because they sought after the gods of Edom. (AV)


Pay attention

It seems that Amaziah had a problem with his hearing.  He didn’t pay attention to what others said.
When the prophet warned him after the Edomite victory, he didn’t pay attention. He didn’t want to hear it.
Now when he’s facing Jehoash, he again doesn’t pay attention.
God wants you to pay attention.
Eight times in the Gospels, Jesus says,

(Mat 11:15 KJV) He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Eight more times in the book of Revelation, Jesus says,

(Rev 2:7 KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear …

God wants you to take it a step further. He doesn’t just want you to hear what He says, He wants you to do it.
(James 1:19-25 NLT) Dear friends, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. {20} Your anger can never make things right in God's sight. {21} So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls. {22} And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don't obey, you are only fooling yourself. {23} For if you just listen and don't obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. {24} You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. {25} But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect law--the law that sets you free--and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
This elderly couple was having trouble with forgetfulness, so they went to their doctor. He said, “Why don’t you try writing down everything so you’ll remember.” So one evening, Grandma asked Grandpa if he’d like some ice cream. “Sure, that’s sounds good, but you’d better write it down.” “No,” Grandma said. “I can remember that. Would you like chocolate syrup on top?” “Yes, but you’d better write it down.” “I can remember that. How about some nuts on top, too?” “OK, but I think you’d really better write it all down.” “No, I can remember.” So she went into the kitchen and she was in there a long time. Finally, Grandpa went in and asked her what was taking so long. “I made you bacon and eggs,” Grandma said. “I told you to write it down!” Grandpa said. “I wanted toast, too!”
Perhaps if God has been speaking to you this morning, you had better write it down as well!

:11 Beth Shemesh

A city about 15 miles west of Jerusalem. See map

:13 brake down the wall of Jerusalem

This was a practice of the victor, as a way of keeping the city defenseless.

The wall was a protection around the city from attack, but now there’s this 600 foot gap in the protection, making them easier to attack the next time.

When Nehemiah came to rebuilt Jerusalem, the first thing he did was rebuilt the wall, to again provide protection for the city.


The result of meddling

When we give in to things like pride, or meddle in areas where we don’t belong, we become weaker.
The person who has trouble with alcohol and who gives in to that one little drink is going to have a lot harder time refusing the next one.
Once you start across the emotional boundaries with a person you shouldn’t be attached with, it’s easier and easier to get closer and closer.
Instead, rebuild the walls in your life!