For the Chronicler, the most important characteristic of a king is the depth of his confidence in the LORD. So for all the good things about his reign, Amaziah falls down when he fails to trust that with his own army and the LORD he will be victorious, and put his trust instead in Ephraimite mercenaries. Even though he dismisses them with full pay, they still resent him and attack the cities of Judah. Amaziah then makes things far worse. He brings the ‘defeated’ gods of Edom back with him to worship alongside the LORD. This is not going to end well, and sure enough Amaziah leads the nation to defeat in war.
Then comes Uzziah. Again he starts well but pride is his failing. He doesn’t forget God, but he does forget his place as king – not as a priest as well. His presumption leads to leprosy and isolation.
After the interval of faithful Jotham, Ahaz plumbs new depths, even offering his son in sacrifice to the Baals. He puts his trust not in the LORD but in Assyria, emptying the treasury of palace and Temple in vain to buy favour. It doesn’t work. The favour of the LORD has departed.
In whom do I trust? The temptation is always there in the background to ally with powerful human forces, but in the end it is still faithfulness to the LORD which will affect the outcome of any struggle more than weight of numbers. And at the same time, am I careful to remember what my place is – and isn’t – in God’s dealings with the world? God seldom acts through one person alone, and I need others to play their parts wide I focus on my own calling.