Amasiah

Say who?

Hint: He is an Old Testament Bible character.

Without using a search engine (cheating!), do you know who he is?

If you don’t, you wouldn’t be the only one. I had no idea who he was until today.  I am sure I have heard his name mentioned aloud, because I took a course in Kings & Chronicles in high school.

But he wasn’t a king.  He wasn’t the son of a king, either.

Amasiah appears only once in the entire Bible.  And, while there are people in the Bible who share names (like the name ‘John’, for instance, or ‘Joseph’), we only know of one Amasiah.  He appears in 2 Chronicles 17:16, and that is the only time we hear of him.

If he wasn’t a king, why is he mentioned?

Amasiah did something very, very special.  So special, in fact, his name is recorded in the Bible for all time.

Next was Amasiah son of Zicri, who volunteered for the LORD’s service, with 200,000 troops under his command. (2 Chronicles 17:16, NLT)

The special thing really wasn’t that he had 200,000 troops.  I mean, I can’t claim to have ever had 200,000 troops under me, but that’s not what sets Amasiah apart.  There have been many army commanders throughout history.

No, these are the words that set Amasiah apart:

who volunteered for the LORD’s service

We know only two things about Amasiah.  He was a leader—and that’s the less important thing—and he volunteered for the LORD’s service.

He didn’t wait for somebody else to step up.  He didn’t even ask for somebody to call on him.  Nope.  Amasiah had a ready heart.  And Amasiah had a willing spirit.  And when the time came to serve the Lord, Amasiah volunteered.

There are not so many people who will volunteer for stuff.  If you’ve ever tried to recruit volunteers for something, you know that very well.  It’s easier even to get someone to buy something for a cause or donate money than it is to get them to volunteer—myself included in that.

Now right away, the word ‘volunteer’ can cause bristling if you feel you’ve been pestered, taken advantage of, or overworked in the past.  But the kind of volunteering Amasiah did, it wasn’t about a particular charity.  It was about serving God.

Oh, yay, I might say.  Serving God.  That’s all.  No charities to give my time to. 

Uh, but that’s not how it works.

That’s not how it works at all.

See, serving God means giving all my time to Him.  He can use my time as He wants, in the way He wants, any time He wants.  With a particular charity, I can sign up for X number of hours for Y amount of time.   When I’m in God’s service, I commit all number of hours for all amount of time.

And it’s not just that I’m “on call” 24/7.  Oh no.  I am supposed to be serving God 24/7.  In all things.

Can I say that’s what I do?

No, I can’t.

Few people can say that, actually.  So few people.

And you know what?  I think that’s why Amasiah had 200,000 people under him.  Because people who volunteer for God—they’re a rare find.  And I think Amasiah’s men were willing to serve him–to risk their lives–because Amasiah was willing to serve God and had committed even his very life.

Have you ever heard a bystander, when somebody volunteers to do something or becomes a long-term caregiver or works relentlessly for a charity, say something that came across like this: Oh, isn’t that neat?  God has given _________ a special gift.

It doesn’t work that way either.

God doesn’t give ‘good works’ exams and choose the best people to serve Him.  For one thing, we’d all fail, because Scripture says

all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (from Isaiah 64:6, DBT)

And for another thing, God calls all people to serve Him.

You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. (Jesus, quoted in John 4:35, NLT)

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. (Jesus, quoted in Luke 10:2, and Matthew 9:37-38, NIV)

If any man is my servant, let him come after me; and where I am, there will my servant be.  If any man becomes my servant, my Father will give him honour. (Jesus, quoted in John 12:26, BBE)

Here is where I really get ashamed.  Jesus calls us to serve Him . . . but Jesus, the Lamb of God, who died on a cross for our sins, serves us!

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?  Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit?  Are your hearts tender and compassionate?  Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others.  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,

he did not think of equality with God

as something to cling to.

Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;

he took the humble position of a slave

and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form,

he humbled himself in obedience to God

and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

(Philippians 2:1-8, NLT)

Jesus deserves our highest obedience, our best worship, our most enthusiastic service.

Amasiah volunteered for God’s service about 870 years or so before Jesus came into the world to voluntarily take the sins of the world upon Himself.

Amasiah lived about 2,900 years ago from today.

But he is still serving Jesus today.

O LORD, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. (Psalm 116:16, NLT)

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Artwork by Striatic (Hobvias Sudoneighm), profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/striatic/, website http://striatic.net/

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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