2 Chronicles 12.14 observes, he did evil because he was not determined to follow the LORD.
This past weekend I noticed some friends on Facebook taking a quiz that determined whether or not they would get to heaven. They all succeeded to earn their hoped for destination having their good deeds outstrip their sins by more than ten fold. No doubt this quiz was meant to be fun but it reinforces a couple of subtle but widely held beliefs.
First, is the idea that if my good outweighs my bad God will receive me into His heaven. The Bible unequivocally refutes this idea. It is the only religious source to make the claim that humanity cannot earn heaven through good deeds. Most people are ignorant of this fact largely because most people do not read the Bible or follow the Lord.
The second belief most people have is that they are born good but do bad things. Again, God states that our very DNA is corrupt causing us to naturally do what displeases God. We see this corruption most acutely in physical deformity but God states we all have the problem spiritually and therefore must be born again of the Spirit in order to get to heaven.
The Chronicler records for us in our verse the problem the king had was not following the Lord. This lack of obedience to what He commands naturally led him to do what displeases God. No doubt the king felt he was a good man, that he was doing right but the truth was, and is for us, that failure to do what God wants means we are doing what we want which makes us disobedient to God.
Disobedience to God is what God considers evil and therefore sinful. If we are not doing God’s will then we are disobeying God through the selfish pursuit of our own ends. The idea that unless we are obeying God we are disobeying God is hard for us to comprehend. We feel like we are free agents who get to choose what is right and wrong. We feel like we are morally neutral most of the time until we either do something good or bad. This is not God’s perspective.
We are morally bankrupt before God from birth. We need a declaration of pardon to be made right with God. We stay in right relationship with God as we pursue the doing of His will on earth as it is in heaven.
If we want to do what is right we must begin by following Jesus.