In perek 14 of Malachim Beis, Amatzya is King of Yehuda. He is introduced with the following perplexing passuk:
‘ויעש הישר בעיני ה’ רק לא כדוד אביו ככל אשר עשה יואש אביו עשה’
‘And he did all that was right in the eyes of Hashem, but not like David his father, but according to all the things his father Yoash had done.’
Prior to this, we see that Yoash strayed from the ways of Hashem; he is described as having done ‘That which was evil in the eyes of Hashem’. So why does the passuk here imply that Yoash followed in the Ways of Hashem?
In Divrei Hayamim Beis, Amatzya is described using a similar passuk, except for the last that says that he did things ‘רק לא בלבב שלם’
The Malbim explains:
Amatzya did not stray, nor did he do ‘evil’, which is why he is described as doing ‘That which was right in the eyes of Hashem’. However, unlike David, his avodah was not coming from Ahavas Hashem but rather through a sense of simply having to do what was right, what was expected; what he had learned from his father, Yoash. This meant that his own connection with Hashem was weaker, the foundations of his relationship were weaker, and therefore challenges would be more likely to knock him over.
In stark contrast, David was able to surpass all his challenges every time he fell. His relationship with Hashem was strong enough that he was able to return to Him by begging for forgiveness and doing teshuva, and for this reason he is called a tzaddik. Like David, we have to ensure that we serve Hashem sincerely while attaining a deep and meaningful relationship with Hashem. This will enable us to overcome even the most difficult challenges and reach great spiritual heights.