Since it’s Easter season, and after being gone from blogging for a week due to some illness, I should probably be bloggity blogging about Easter. BUT! I just can’t get Athaliah out of my mind. I’m sure that happens to you all the time–or maybe not.
You see, I am an Old Testament story lover! Seriously, I love the things God has recorded for us to teach us about who He is and what that means for us, and as I was zipping through 2 Chronicles the other day, I stumbled up on the account of Judah’s King Ahaziah. Within his few short verses are a couple of even shorter verses about his mama.
Ahaziah was twenty two when he became king after his dad died, and he was only king on year. Listen to the words written about his mother:
“His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri. He too walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong.” 2 Chronicles 22:2-3
Way to go, mom. I wish it stopped there, but it doesn’t. Oh, Ms. Athaliah is bad to the bone, and after her son, the king, is killed, she puts herself in charge and proceeds to destroy just about the whole royal family of the house of Judah. This was one strong willed woman, I’m telling you.
However, Athaliah didn’t realize that she had missed someone in her corruption of mass destrustion raid a few years back. Joash had been saved and kept hidden for six years while Ahaziah was busy ruling the land with her reign of terror.
But then, when he reached seven years of age, Joash is brought out and declared king –to Ahaziah’s screams of “Treason! Treason!” She was then taken down by the army commanders and put to death at the Horse Gates of the palace grounds. The end of her story.
Immediately after her death, a covenant was made that the people and the king would be the Lord’s people, and they went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and killed the priest of Baal on the spot.
The oversight of the temple was put back into the hands of the Levites. The doorkeepers were back in their place, keeping out the idol worshipers. The boy king took his place on the throne and the people of the land rejoiced. The city was at peace because Athaliah was gone.
Wow! What a legacy! I can’t imagine one mom this bad. Really. So it can be easy to dismiss by saying, “Hey! At least I’m not as bad as Athaliah.”
However, when I think back to the first words mentioned about her, I do have to ask myself, “Have I ever encouraged my kids in doing wrong?”
And I do have to answer, “Yes.”
I know there have been times when I have shown greed rather than generosity, impatience rather than patience. They have seen me hold a grudge rather than forgive and heard me criticize rather than encourage. They’ve watched me put my own needs before others, and witnessed a few, “do as I say not as I do’s” through the years.
But God reminds me it doesn’t have to be that way. No, I don’t have to be a perfect parent who never does anything wrong. But I can make those things right. I can continue to allow God to change me and sanctify me. I can continue to admit when I’m wrong and model repentance, forgiveness, restoration and love.
I can keep commitments. I can continue to place God at the center of all we do. I can laugh, smile, encourage, teach and support them in the ways of the Lord so that when our story is written, our couple of sentences are recorded, they honor the God who made us, saved us, secured us and is returning for us.
SO maybe this post is a little about Easter. Because honestly, the only thing that keeps me from being a mom who “encouraged her kids to do wrong,” is the saving grace of the God/man who came to earth, died on a cross, was buried in a tomb and rose to life giving us power over sin and death–power to live in Him, for Him and through Him until He returns.