So far as I know, it is not a proverb or even a saying. But, it could be. No mule has anything of this king of Judah. When he is introduced to us, the Holy Spirit through the penman has these positive words: “He did right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Chron. 25:2a). There are not a great many kings of Judah (and none in Israel) of whom this could be said. Yet, Scripture continues, “…yet not with a whole heart.” He honored the law of Moses (25:4), but he showed from the earliest days of his reign a fighting spirit. He assembled Judah, appointed them for battle, took a census, and even hired 100,000 men of the northern kingdom to combat the Edomites.
For a man who gets relatively little notice in Scripture, he was repeatedly given warnings. After hiring the Israelites as mercenaries, Amaziah receives a visit from a man sent by God. The prophet tells him not to let the army of Israel go with them to battle, then tells him, “God has the power to help and to bring down (8). Ultimately, Amaziah would ignore this message.
After routing Edom, Amaziah brought their gods back, “set them up as his gods, bowed down to them and burned incense to them” (14). This provoked God’s anger, so He sends a prophet to rebuke the Judean king (15). Amaziah promptly threatens the prophet if he does not be quiet. The prophet replies, “I know that God has planned to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel” (16). Nowhere does Scripture indicate Amaziah even pausing to contemplate the warning.
Instead, his next move is to challenge Israel’s king, Joash, to fight (17). Joash, though far from righteous, tells him a brief parable with a clear message: “Now stay at home” (19). Of course, Amaziah did not listen and was humiliated in battle and plundered by Israel (21-24). That is all we know about Amaziah until he slinks off the stage of life ignominiously fifteen years later by conspirators who assassinated him (27).
King Amaziah is one of the best biblical examples of the high cost of stubbornness. What about us? Are we those capable of distinguishing and following wise counsel? Do we listen or do we have to learn the hard way? Beware! Stubbornness can be costly. Various people are actually called “stubborn” in Scripture, and it is never a good thing (see Pharaoh, Israel in Moses’ generation, Israel in the period of the Judges, etc.). No one should be gullible, but neither should one be incapable of receiving counsel. Don’t be as stubborn as an Amaziah!