Grace and Wrath Podcast
Ep. 146: The Thistle and the Cedar
After Joash died, Amaziah became king of Judah. He started off as a good king, and followed the Lord for many years.
Eventually, he decided to attack Edom and bring them under his control. He organized an army of 300,000 soldiers. He then hired another 100,000 soldiers from Israel and paid them four tons of silver.
A man of God came with a message. “Don’t use soldiers from Israel. If you do, God will make sure you lose the battle.”
The king said, “But what about the money I already paid them?”
The prophet said, “Don’t worry about that money. God is able to give you much more than that.”
So the king told the soldiers of Israel to go home. They became angry. Along the way they raided several cities of Judah and killed over 3,000 people.
While this was going on, the army of Judah marched south toward Edom. They won the battle and regained control over them. Unfortunately, Amaziah brought the gods of Edom back to Judah. He set them up and started worshiping them.
The Lord became angry and sent a prophet to speak to the king. “Why would you worship gods that weren’t able to protect their own people from your army?”
Before he could say any more, Amaziah said, “Stop talking! You’re not one of my counselors. Leave or I’ll have you killed.”
The prophet said, “Because you won’t listen to God’s message, he is going to punish you.”
So the Lord put in Amaziah’s heart the desire to go to war against Israel. The king sent a message to king Jehoash saying, “Come out and face me in battle.”
Jehoash sent a story back to Amaziah. He said, “A thistle sent a message to the cedar tree. He said, ‘I want to arrange a marriage between my son and your daughter.’ Suddenly an animal accidentally stepped on the thistle and crushed it.”
“Don’t be like the thistle. You had a good victory with Edom. Enjoy it, but don’t let pride lift you up. Stay home, because if you come after me, Judah will fall.”
God made sure Amaziah didn’t listen to this. The two armies went into battle and Judah was totally defeated. Their army ran from the battlefield.
Jehoash captured Amaziah and then took Jerusalem. Israel broke down 600 feet of the wall of Jerusalem. They took all the gold and silver from the Temple and the king’s palace.
Jehoash left Amaziah in Jerusalem and went back to Samaria. A group of men tried to kill Amaziah, but he escaped to another city. They hunted him down, and killed him there.