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.
2 Chronicles 25:8 NLT
New is challenging. The most challenging thing about it, for me, is how big of a moron I become during the learning process. With all my carefully calculated routines undone, I feel much more like the Wizard of Oz’s Scarecrow character than anything else. These are the times that I wish I could hang a sign around my neck to warn people:
“CAUTION! Messy while learning! Keep a safe distance!”
But I don’t wear a sign because… well, I’m not really sure why I don’t. Regardless, the messy part of it all comes about when it’s time to try my hand at the new skill. Very quickly into my first independent attempts, I make a choice that isn’t the right solution for the present challenge. In some cases, there is an understanding mentor nearby to walk me through why it was wrong and how to undo the choice. At that point, I have two choices for how to respond: 1) humbly accept correction OR 2) save face and forge ahead incorrectly and alone. From a safe distance, the obvious correct choice is #1 but unfortunately, I’m messy and not a safe distance away so I don’t always choose #1. However, after reading the account of King Amaziah, I’m pretty sure I will approach the learning process less like Hyde and more often, as Jekyll.
In 2 Chronicles chapter 25, Amaziah became king at age 25. He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight, but not wholeheartedly. In his learning process as new king, one of the tasks he took on was organizing the army. Afterwards, he took a census and found that his army population was 300,000 eligible men. In his messy learning process, he made the decision that 300,000 men wasn’t quite enough so he paid about 7,500 pounds of silver to hire 100,000 experienced fighting men from Israel. Luckily, a wise man of God caught his error and quickly warned him.
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 not matter how well you fight. God will overthrow you, for he has the power to help or 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!” So Amaziah discharged the hired troops and sent them back to Ephraim. This made them angry with Judah, and they returned home in a great rage. (2 Chronicles 25:7-10 NLT)
Amaziah made a decision in his learning process that seemed wise and strategic but was without God. When confronted on this critical error, he received the correction with an open mind and asked about how to deal with the lost resources. The coolest part about this lesson is that the man of God points out God’s perfect grace in his response – The LORD is able to give you much more than this. How AWESOME is that?! God’s grace extends beyond the messiness of my learning curve; he rewards much more than the gain of saving face.
Unfortunately, just four short verses later, Amaziah makes some more messy choices and this time responds in a much less mature way. He quickly forgot the forgiveness, generosity and grace he had just been extended. This reminded me that humbly accepting correction should be a life-long choice I make. How better to continue joyfully, messily WORSHIPPING?!
Challenge: Practice inviting, accepting and embracing Godly correction by reminding myself that THE LORD IS ABLE TO GIVE ME MUCH MORE THAN THIS!
Dear Lord, I praise you for your perfect, stable wisdom. In a world where change is the daily norm, you remain. Help me to joyfully call on you for correction in my learning process. Guard my heart and mind from valuing my own pride over your wisdom; let your Spirit consume me instead of my mess. Amen.
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/7815007@N07/6916661035/”>Ken Whytock</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>