I have prepared the lesson for this morning in THAT class. (Seriously, we are called THAT class… we liked the thought of people talking about THAT group or THAT lesson. It stands for thanking Him always together). We have been slowly crawling through the old testament since our inception last year. What my classmates were wanting was to get to know the stories and characters of the bible. Most had no real working knowledge of the scriptures.
Like I said, we have crawled through the scriptures over the last year and are finally on 1 and 2 Kings. I had tried to finish 1 kings last week, but our discussion became impassioned… and I never want to squelch a good discussion! My goal this morning is to finish our the rest of the first book and get as far as I can through the second. And I am really hoping I make it to Athaliah.
People always love a good scandal story. Noah and Ham, Lot and his daughters, Rahab, David and Bathsheba… THAT class has been on the edge of their seat seeing that God’s people are not perfect. I cannot wait to see what they think about Athaliah. She was the daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and she put her conniving, evil mama to shame!
Up to this month, the only thing I really knew about Jezebel came from Little House on the Prairie. Mary had been invited to teach and met resistance from the woman preacher in the community who turned out to be illiterate and not teaching God’s scriptures correctly… remember that one? With what little I knew about Jezebel, I knew NOTHING about Athaliah.
Athaliah was the daughter of the king of Israel who married the king of Judah. If you remember, God had broken up the kingdom thanks to Solomon’s unfaithfulness. David’s line was being secured through Judah, but Israel’s rule was changing hands faster than the tides and none of the kings were following God. Athaliah watched her father, mother, husband, and son be taken from her (not in that order) and apparently snapped. She killed all her grandchildren (minus one whom God saved by having his aunt hide him away) to secure the crown for herself.
What would make a mother do such a thing? She killed all her precious grandchildren! Why? The bible does not explain her mental state or her reason, but I read a sermon that puts it into perspective for me. She was seeking revenge. David was God’s favored king. God was protecting David’s line so that His own Son could be born from it. Athaliah was married into this line. And she watched her family be brutally taken from her one at a time. Take out the heirs lined up to rule Judah and she takes out Judah. She is Israeli royalty, remember? She has no true loyalty to God or His people.
What do we gain from this message? Exactly what I have been talking about throughout my blog: FORGIVENESS! Athaliah sought revenge instead of seeking God’s peace. Athaliah chose hate over love. She chose evil over good. She chose her own path over God’s. Thankfully, the one baby, Joash, was spared so the line could continue and the whole world could know of God’s Grace. We, as Christians, must learn to forgive. Harboring bad feelings or hate leads to our own destruction… and it is not of God, for God is love.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 2:23-24
Read about Athaliah in 2 Kings 11.