Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Usurper

Today's Sunday school class was quite interesting to say the least. Every two years or so I teach this same particular lesson to a different group of third and fourth graders and each time it comes out differently. You may know the story: It's the one about the little boy Joash who became king at the age of seven. You know, the one whose grandmother killed all of her other grandchildren when her son, the king, was murdered by Jehu. Quite an involved and complicated family situation as everyone would agree after reading it in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. I even made up a chart for each of the kids, drawing a bunch of little stick figures, some with crowns on their heads; some with skirts, some on the northern kingdom side of the page and the rest on the southern side; some with frowns on their faces to show they were evil, etc. etc. Well, let me say that by the end of the lesson, I think my young group was more than a little confused about what they had just learned and I'm not so sure whether my little "chart" was a help or hindrance! At any rate, I decided to extend this lesson for another week as there are some important applications that are yet to be made, particularly concerning Joash who only followed the Lord as long as his uncle, Jehoida the priest, was alive. After his uncle died, his true "colors" became evident and we see that He did not love God for himself. You can imagine where I'm going with that.

For some weird (perhaps twisted) reason, I always have been captivated by this story, particularly byAthaliah, the grandmother. Now that I'm a nanna, the fact that any woman who holds such a status could do any kind of harm to such beloved ones so that she could gain the crown really boggles my mind. But obviously, in her case, they were not beloved. And also obviously, there was nothing or no one more important to her than that crown. But this time, I thought about something else concerning Athaliah: she was a usurper. You see, God had intended that only David's descendants would rule in the southern kingdom. Athaliah was a foreigner, not of the royal line of David. I think the fact that for the seven years that she reigned, Judah had a monarch who was a ursurper really hit me. Perhaps it's because of some issues going on right now in our own country with respect to the constitution and the presidency, that I thought about this. THAT I will not discuss here; you may or may not know about it, but it did make me think about that. Wow. Judah had this usurper on the throne, but the best part of the story is that eventually she was dethroned and a legal king was crowned.

SO, the key to that is there were a handful of people who kept the faith and purposed to do what was right. And one little girl in the class salvaged this weeks lesson with her closing prayer. In her prayer she told God that even though different people may be reigning at different times, HE is the one who is really on the throne! Now, is that ever a wealth of truth coming from the mouth of a nine year old! So it was a good lesson after all!


Jodi said...

Maxine ~ I have never thought about Athaliah not being a descendant of David before. What an excellent application to the situation we in America face today.

I think the level of insight God bestows upon children is beautiful to behold. I love your little student's prayer ... oh, it made me smile!

Lisa said...

I loved this post. Things just seem so much sweeter when viewed through a child's eyes.
Happy New Year

HOPE said...

How precious...

I have been reading about the many Kings reigns...and noted the statement over and over..

...and he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD...but not with a perfect heart!

Many will reign...and as you have said...there will be a few...faithful..fruitful...

earning a true crown one day.

But the LORD is always on his throne! King of Kings!

Happiest of New Years Maxine.


Tammy said...

Thanks for the new insight. I too last fall posted about those who reigned and followed or didn't follow and who followed but not perfectly. But I never caught the stuff about Athaliah.

Susan said...

Wow, this was great! I never really studied this story and the insight I just gained was wonderful.

I always leave your site with a word from the Lord Maxine. What a gift you have.

Your children/grands are so blessed to have such a godly example of what a woman who fears God looks like.

Blessings to you and your family in this new coming year.

Long live our KING of KINGS!! He's forever on the throne♥