2 This verse gets to the heart of the inconsistencies seen in Amaziah’s reign. On the one hand, he makes decisions based on the law of God (cf. v. 2) and responds to the admonishment of a “man of God” by reversing course and stepping out in faith and reliance on God’s strength (cf. vv. 7–10). On the other hand, Amaziah adopts the gods of the Edomites as his own (cf. v. 14), rejects the later admonishment of a prophet (cf. vv. 15–16), and acts with pride and arrogance (cf. vv. 17–19). God’s ultimate decision to “destroy” and hand Judah over (vv. 16, 20) shows the futility and destructive outcome of a spiritually compromised life.
Ver. 2.—Not with a perfect heart. This is illustrated by his coming “to set up the gods of Edom” (vers. 14–16, 20); also by what the parallel supplies, that he resembled Joash rather than David, and did not suppress “the high places, sacrifices, and incense-burning” (2 Kings 14:3, 4). In almost all cases, the not-perfect heart speaks of that which began well, but did not “endure unto the end.”
Vers. 2. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.—Half-hearted, and therefore a failure:—
It was not because Amaziah was not sinless that his life proved such a failure, but because he was not thorough-going in his principle and piety. English life at present seems to be afflicted with a plague of levity. There is so much hollowness and unreality, so much veneer in character and work, that it behoves us to preach aloud the gospel of thoroughness. A short time ago some workmen were engaged in trying to remove a piece of old London wall. They tried with hammers, then with pick-axes, but to no purpose, the wall seemed to smile at all their efforts; at last they were obliged to have recourse to boring, and blowing it up like a piece of solid rock. That is hardly the way they build nowadays, for a man might almost push over some of our brick walls with his hand. Now, this is just an illustration of what I mean, the want of thoroughness in every branch of industry and in every walk of life. When a man’s own character is not solid, permeated through and through with Christian principle, you cannot have any guarantee of the genuineness of his work. Shams abound everywhere. Gilt and paint carry the day. Ours is an age of tinsel. And the worst of it is that this unrealness characterises much of the religion amongst us. I sometimes meet with a horrible form of Antinomianism, which virtually says, “Anything will do for me—I am a disciple of Christ”; and so the work is actually more slovenly and imperfect because the individual claims to be “not under the law, but under grace.” Why, it is almost as monstrous as the proposal a good young man made to his landlady, that his own excellent Christian example should serve in lieu of weekly payment for his lodgings! A man—I don’t care who he is—dishonours Christ when any other person is put to disadvantage by his piety. If you imagine you are more free to do slipshod work because you are a Christian, I say, it is precisely the reverse. It is just because you claim to be the Lord’s that any sort of work will not do. Bearing His name, you are responsible to Him for every detail of your daily life. If your secular duties are more imperfectly discharged because you are a believer, you do great wrong to the Redeemer. If you snatch a little of your employer’s time to scatter tracts, or prepare for a Sabbath class, or even to read your Bible; or if, in business hours, your thoughts are so given to spiritual themes that you cannot do justice to your work, in any of these cases you do real harm to religion. (J. T. Davidson, D.D.)
The character of Amaziah:—
This history is adduced to lead to self-scrutiny.
- The act of assembling is in accordance with God’s revealed wishes; and therefore the act of assembling is a right act. But am I able to believe that every man and woman joins the assembly from such motives as would stand the test of Heaven? “Not with a perfect heart.”
- Again, in the matter of listening to God’s Word preached. Some listen from the desire of passing away a dull hour—as a sort of religious entertainment. Alas for the perfect heart!
III. As to your conduct outside the walls of the sanctuary. You are upright and honourable in trade. But why? It is a sad thing when a man’s actions are right because he wishes to be aggrandised, or because he wishes a high place in human estimation, and knows not the only right motive—a desire to please Him “who hath loved us, and given Himself for us.” (T. W. Thompson, B.A.)
Not with a perfect heart:—
Off Cape Horn we witnessed a singular sight. For some miles there was a narrow strip of water, where the great waves flew in broken spray and dashed high over the ship. On either side the sea was comparatively calm, whilst this boiled with fury, rolling and surging. Yet there was no rock about which the sea surged, nor was there any such fierce wind as to account for it. Overhead the air was thick with sea-fowl. Thousands of the birds dived into this troubled water. The smaller fish were, I suppose, flung up by the toss, and thus fell a prey to the birds. I asked, naturally, what was the reason of this strange sight, and found it was the point at which the tide met the strong current of the sea, and here they raged together. Within, the tide only ran, and it was calm. Without, the current prevailed, and there, too, was calm. On this troubled bit they met, and neither prevailed. It is the picture of those who are at once too religious to belong to the world—too worldly to belong to religion; torn by both and satisfied by neither. (Mark Guy Pearse.)
Whole-hearted religion required:—
At one of the conferences between the Northern and Southern States of America during the war of 1861–1866 the representatives of the Southern States stated what cession of territory they were prepared to make, provided that the independence of the portion that was not ceded to the Federal Government was secured. More and more attractive offers were made, the portions to be ceded being increased, and those to be retained in a state of independence being proportionately diminished. All the offers were met by a steadfast refusal. At last President Lincoln placed his hand on the map so as to cover all the Southern States, and in these emphatic words delivered his ultimatum: “Gentlemen, this Government must have the whole.” God cannot share us with the world. (A. Plummer, D.D.)
 Mabie, F. J. (2010). 1 and 2 Chronicles. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Chronicles–Job (Revised Edition) (Vol. 4, p. 266). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: First Chronicles, Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther (Vol. 2, pp. 110–111). New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.