Have you ever met those people who are always able to take risks? One question that always gets asked about these people is how they are able to take these risk without getting hurt or being scared of retaliation. The truth is that most of the time, the risks taken by these people actually include fear and pain. Risking to see God move take bravery and a willingness to take fear and pain. We never escape the trial by fire experience, but what we can be escaped is futility. The efforts that are risky for heroes of faith always need to be couple with the thought that God will take the effort to its ultimate end, victory for what is good.
The old king, Ahaziah, was originally killed by Jehu. Immediately, the matriarch of the family, Athaliah, does what she can to protect the lineage of the the family while ensuring that their belief system . However, with all the paganism that was expected by the mother, this meant destroying any potential reform. Everyone was folding to Jehu’s reform and Athaliah was having none of it. So she killed off her family and took over. It’s a pretty gruesome thought that she did this, but it should not be surprising. Many people take extreme measures in order to preserve the legacy they create. Many people who embed themselves in churches are secretly trying to create their power circles with no regard to God’s will. It’s a hard thing for a church to rise out of this reality and it takes might heroes to team together to take the Church into the reality that God has for her.
Jehosheba was the first to act in hope. Her protecting Jehoram was planting a seed of change and revolution that would bring the people of God towards God. Had Athaliah learned of her plans, she would have been killed along with the baby. Sometimes individuals are the ones that begin a movement. It takes bravery to take actions that will create future change and will eventually create a challenge. The risk can be so great that not one individual will try to take action for a very long time. The fear is that they may punished with shame or even ostracized from the community.
Another thing is that it’s astounding how much time it takes to see the changes take place. Six years later, waiting to proclaim the proper king, probably seemed like a lifetime of waiting. Why they waited so long to make Joash king is not certain, probably waiting to learn who to trust and who to hide from. They probably were also building a base of loyalty much greater than Athaliah’s. Though it may seem sneaky to build up a coup and would be a call to shame, it is actually more respectful to the way God created human freedom. People are able to make the choice about who or what to follow. When we reach the New Testament, conversation based on convincing others was the primary way of bringing people to the way of God. It was also the primary way of correcting others in the faith. This is one of the greater risks of being a hero of faith, letting the other person make the decision of faith. It would make sense to counter the other power center and force people to follow what you believe, but what God wants is for those who follow His way to want and love to follow Him, which takes someone buying into His plans and not just going through the motions of fake faith.
This entire story goes beyond being about one hero of faith and moves to being about a community of heroes surrounding their leader. It is important for a community to be supportive of each other and to move towards changes and challenges that produce growth towards God. The one thing that brings Athaliah to the end of her rope is the fact that the entire community stated through their actions that they were ready to take God’s plans over human plans. There is also a bit of irony that could present itself when we gather together under God’s plans, the one who is not following God’s plans may act as if the other side is not following God. In this setting the one who is working against the movement of God is the one screaming that everyone else is disobeying God. They are actually more worried about treason against their own will more than they’re concerned about God’s will. It can make it confusing for most and it takes much reflection, prayer, and maybe even study to see what would have for the situation.
It takes many risks and much time to produce good change that moves people towards greatness and heroic acts of faith. Faith is brave and realizes danger, but is worth risk and creates adventures that lead to stories to last for generations. The questions is what will we follow? Are we busy looking for religion, traditions, and rules, or are we more worried about aligning our character and virtues with the path Jesus laid out for us. What is worth it is the path of Jesus. It will lead to greatness in love and create the best relationships.