Soul or Silver
2 Chronicles 25:9
And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel?…

Amaziah seemed to be a soldier, and little else. He was devoured by military ambition and vainglory. He coveted the domains of his neighbors. He was greedy of conquest. He dared not attack Israel, but on the other side lay the lands of the Edomites. He wanted to fight. There was probably no reason why he should, for the children of Seir had evidently done nothing to provoke an attack, or we should have had an account of it. But Amaziah must have more territory, and impelled by such noble patriotism, he disciplined his people into a large army. Desiring to be on the safe side, he bargained for one hundred thousand men of Israel, and, in order to secure them, he laid down a bounty of one hundred talents of silver. With these men of Ephraim, hired with the silver talents, he possessed an army of about four hundred thousand men. All things are in readiness, and he is about to start out on his grand mission of punishing a people who held lands near him, when a prophet confronts with the intelligence that if he takes the troops of Israel with him he shall be defeated. Now comes a struggle in the king's mind. He was bent upon war, and could not brook the idea of defeat, but to insure victory he must send the Ephraimites home. Now, he had given these men a hundred talents of silver! What about them? The command of God had touched his pocket-nerve, and it had sent a sensitive thrill through his whole being. Amaziah is not the only man that has been compelled to choose between obedience and self-denial.

I. Consider, then, the fact that MEN'S APPARENT INTERESTS ARE SOMETIMES OPPOSED BY THE COMMANDS OF GOD. Very frequently men's practices find such opposition; and their desires are fulfilled very often against the clamourings of their consciences. But I have affirmed something beyond this — that a man's wholesome interests, as they appear to his view, are sometimes in direct opposition to God's commands. I do not think that a man will be allowed to enter upon a course inimical to God's will who starts out by committing his way entirely to Divine guidance. God looks out for such a man, and orders his ways so that his interests and the Divine will conform. But a great many start out in the pursuit of business without any consideration of God. With the majority of men, when the time comes to meet the question, "What shall I do?" the answer is prompted more by expediency than by duty. One man argues, "I can make more money in dry goods than in groceries, so I'll deal in dry goods. But there's more money in whisky, so I think I'll open a saloon." He looks at trade from his own standpoint. I believe that some men really think that they are justified in such a course; they think that a man ought to look after his own interests; that that is the first thing to be consulted; and there never was a greater mistake made in this selfish world! The truth is, that when a man deliberately marks out a course in life, and determines to pursue it, without any consideration of God or his fellow-men, he is engaged in a very dangerous business. There are some other things to consider besides making money. Soul-culture, helpfulness of his fellows, influence for Christ, the increasing light of a pious life; these things are to be taken into the account, or he may look for some period of his life when the alternative will be between obedience and self-denial, or disobedience and defeat.

II. WHERE THIS IS THE CASE APPARENT INTERESTS ARE TO BE SACRIFICED. God looks upon temporal matters as if they were subordinate to a higher good. Men look upon them as if they were the highest good attainable. God puts His service and the duties of religion above everything else. Men regard religion as a secondary consideration. Do you never hear men say, "I would engage in religious matters if I had time"? You mark a man's absence from the holy Sabbath worship; he complains, "I feel so tired when Sunday comes, I must rest." So you see men think more of their hundred talents of silver than of obedience to God. But they have Amaziah's protest: "What shall we do for the hundred talents of silver?" The answer is plain enough. Let them go. "What!" cries the overworked business man, "leave my store full of customers just because it is the hour of prayer?" "What!" cries the professional man, "suspend my important studies for unprofitable religious occupation? Not much!" "What!" cries the mechanic, "work hard all week and Sunday too?" "What shall we do for the hundred talents that are involved?" In such embarrassing situations the thing to do is what Amaziah did. He sent home the men of Ephraim, and he lost the hundred talents of silver. If your business stands between you and God, let it go!

III. For I beg you to note that the ALTERNATIVE LIES BETWEEN TOTAL DEFEAT AND INCREASED GOOD. Amaziah was made to select between receiving the value of his invested money and suffering disaster in the prosecution of his scheme. He might do as he pleased, but he might know what to expect. That is the alternative placed before all men. Disobedience leads to defeat. Men may discard the commands of God, but not with impunity. Obedience to the Divine will is the only safeguard against temporal and spiritual disaster. It is a matter that enters into a man's private life. It does not concern those employments alone which are confessedly unrighteous, it is a law affecting the man who persists in a course when God has called him in another direction, as well as he who persists in iniquitous practices. In either case the safest thing to do is to give up the silver, without one hesitating thought.

(Lansing Burrows.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.

WEB: Amaziah said to the man of God, "But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel?" The man of God answered, "Yahweh is able to give you much more than this."

Self-Made Difficulties
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