I have a good pastor and always enjoy hearing his sermons. He has a sense of humor which I really appreciate. For instance this past Mother’s Day he preached a sermon on the world’s worst mother and grandmother and no it wasn’t Jezebel although she was pretty bad too. Now I have heard many different versions of Mother’s Day sermons but I can’t recall a time when I heard one about the worst Mom. Usually a pastor’s go-to passage for Mother’s Day is Proverbs 31, the description of the perfect wife and mother. Moms are usually talked about in warm and fuzzy ways not as murderers and lusting for power! Funny thing, though, it made me feel like I am not all that bad as a Mom and Grandma! Let’s look at the passage he used.
When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehorama and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled the land. II Kings 11:1-3, (New International Version or NIV).
Can you ever imagine such wickedness? A mother and grandmother ordering the murder of all her family so that she could inherit her son’s kingship! Talk about palace intrigue! This sounds more like a fairy tale than a factual story! But power and the lust for power can do some awful things to people even in our own day! I have to be truthful here, though; my pastor’s emphasis was not on Athaliah the wicked Mother and Grandmother. No, his emphasis was on Jehosheba and how she saved the youngest royal from death. I wonder if this is where Walt Disney got the idea for Sleeping Beauty? Maybe…just maybe! Jehosheba heard through the palace grapevine that there was an evil plan hatched to kill everyone and so she did what she thought was best and took the baby and his wet-nurse and hid them from the evil grandmother. Jehosheba put her own life on the line to save a royal baby and the point of my pastor’s sermon was that we can all have an impact upon a young person’s life if we simply get involved and engaged with them. He is right of course. Perhaps we won’t save a life as Jehosheba did but we might give encouragement to a young person who badly needs some. I am thankful for the people who have an impact upon my son because being a single Mom means I can’t fill every need he has. So what is the ending of the story of Athaliah and Jehosheba? Does Jehosheba get caught? Let’s read on and see.
In the seventh year Jehoiada sent for the commanders of units of a hundred, the Carites and the guards and had them brought to him at the temple of the Lord. He made a covenant with them and put them under oath at the temple of the Lord. Then he showed them the king’s son. He commanded them, saying, “This is what you are to do: You who are in the three companies that are going on duty on the Sabbath—a third of you guarding the royal palace, a third at the Sur Gate, and a third at the gate behind the guard, who take turns guarding the temple— and you who are in the other two companies that normally go off Sabbath duty are all to guard the temple for the king. Station yourselves around the king, each of you with weapon in hand. Anyone who approaches your ranks is to be put to death. Stay close to the king wherever he goes.”
The commanders of units of a hundred did just as Jehoiada the priest ordered. Each one took his men—those who were going on duty on the Sabbath and those who were going off duty—and came to Jehoiada the priest. Then he gave the commanders the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and that were in the temple of the Lord. The guards, each with weapon in hand, stationed themselves around the king—near the altar and the temple, from the south side to the north side of the temple. Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him, and the people clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”
When Athaliah heard the noise made by the guards and the people, she went to the people at the temple of the Lord. She looked and there was the king, standing by the pillar, as the custom was. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her robes and called out, “Treason! Treason!” Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops: “Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be put to death in the temple of the Lord.” So they seized her as she reached the place where the horses enter the palace grounds, and there she was put to death.
Jehoiada then made a covenant between the Lord and the king and people that they would be the Lord’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
Then Jehoiada the priest posted guards at the temple of the Lord. He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the Carites, the guards and all the people of the land, and together they brought the king down from the temple of the Lord and went into the palace, entering by way of the gate of the guards. The king then took his place on the royal throne. All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the palace. Joash was seven years old when he began to reign. II Kings 11:4-14 (NIV).
I don’t know about you but I think that Althaliah got exactly what she deserved! I love how she cried “treason” the very thing she was guilty of herself as well as murder and pride and lust for power! But people like Althaliah think they are so special that they don’t have to follow ordinary laws like the rest of the kingdom! We have some in our world today who think the same way as Althaliah but somewhere God is raising up a Jehosheba and a Jehoiada to bring about justice and make things right again. This is a good reminder that God is always in control of our world situations and He won’t let evil overcome good when it comes to His people. I like that, don’t you? Solomon said that there was nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and I agree. How God must laugh at those who think they are above the law! He knows how to break them and so often does just that! Be encouraged by this passage and keep making an impact in the lives of others for God!