All Fired Up!–Freaky Friday

fire

We have a saying when it comes to planning events with kids that goes something like this, “You can plan just about anything and as long as you include fire or water, they are going to love it.”

I just spent this past week teaching at our local church camp–one of my absolute favorite things to do!! Teaching through the Old Testament, I couldn’t help but notice how many of the greatest Bible stories include those two elements.

This afternoon when I returned home, I opened my Bible to the book of 2 Kings and saw a story I somehow never took much notice of before and decided it was definitely worthy of a Freaky Friday post.

It seems that after Ahab died, his son Ahaziah took the reigns. Apparently he had seriously injured himself falling through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria. (Which made me really glad my husband held off on replacing our lattice until I got home from camp).

Anyhow, he sent messengers to inquire of the false god, Baal-Zebub, as to whether or not he would recover. Silly king. He had to know that would get God a bit fired up. I mean after all, commandments one and two are pretty hard to misinterpret.

As God got word of the king’s decision to inquire of the wrong god, He sent Elijah to meet the king’s messengers and ask them this simple question, “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub?”

Fair question. Seriously, why in the world was the King of Israel consulting a false god? Hmmm, well, that’s another blog post.

Besides, God knows the answer to his question–it’s Him for goodness sake! So He leaves the message, “Ahaziah, you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!”

Elijah delivers God’s message to the messengers, and the messengers deliver Elijah’s message to the king, and it doesn’t take long before the king has gotten the message that God is a bit fired up! (Actually he has no idea how fired up He is, but he soon will.)

Apparently the king was a bit fired up himself, because he sent a captain with his company of fifty men up to meet Elijah declaring, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!'”

. . . Someone has forgotten who the real king is. . . . and that Elijah answers first to the king of kings.

Elijah answers back with, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” As if there was any doubt Elijah was a man of God, fire came down from heaven and consumed the captain and his fifty men! WoooHooo!! Fired up!

Somehow the king got word of this–although it couldn’t have been from the fifty men now could it have?–and he sends another captain and another fifty men. They also declare, “Man of God, this is what the king says, ‘Come down at once.'”

And Elijah replies again, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And, yeppers, fire came down from heaven and consumed those men!

So the king sends another captain and another fifty men. Only this third captain is just a little wiser and declares, well, pleads, “Man of God, please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants. The fire came down and consumed the others, but please now have respect for my life.”

At this, God spares their lives and instructs Elijah to go and have a chat with the king, where He asks the king God’s question, “Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub?”

Giving the king no time to answer Elijah adds, “Because you have done this, you will never leave this bed you are lying on. You will certainly die.”

So he died. Just like God said he would. The End.

Kind of. Well, the end of King Ahaziah anyway, and 100 soldiers and two captains.

Freaky as it sounds, they shouldn’t have been surprised. They had entered into covenant agreements with God to follow him. They knew that breaking the covenant meant death. Ahaziah should have known before he sent out the first company of soldiers that he was wrong and God was giving him a chance to repent and if he would repent, God would relent.

But instead, he chose rebellion. He chose pride. He chose to reject God, forgetting that God’s wrath would be fired up against him and those who served him. Not only did he fall from the lattice, he fell from grace, and the love of Jehovah God “fired up” with passion to restore him had he only been willing to accept it.

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Athaliah, Athaliah–Mama Mia Monday

bad moms club soap

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.

Mama Mia!

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.

Mama Mia!