Hidden Co-heirs

Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 11.1-3
11 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram 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. 3 He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.

Reflection: Hidden Co-heirs
By John Tillman

A wicked leader sets out to slaughter heirs to the throne, including babies who could one day be a threat. But one child is miraculously, bravely, hidden away until the throne is reclaimed and evil confronted.

We’ve seen this familiar story dressed up as a fairytale, played out in magical realms, and soaring through space in science fiction epics. The “hidden heir” has many faces. Cinderella. John Snow. Luke and Leia. Harry Potter. 

Biblical versions of the hidden heir include Moses, David, and Joash. All were secretly saved or hidden and one day rose to restore righteousness and destroy evil.

There are multiple wicked kings and queens in scripture. Athaliah is less well-known than Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, despite the fact that she more than equals Jezebel in evil. Not content to influence a king, Athaliah takes Judah’s throne herself in a bloody massacre. She rules by violence and bloodshed, reminding us that ruthlessness and violence are not solely male traits.

Bravery and decisiveness are also not gendered traits. They are exemplified by Athaliah’s faithful sister, Jehosheba, who takes dangerous and necessary action to save Joash. Joash is hidden in the Temple and raised by the priest, Jehoiada.

Are all leaders raised up by God? In a way. However, God allows some wicked leaders to worm their way to the top, only to be thrown down. God often uses those hidden away in obscurity to topple those who manipulate their way into powerful positions. Judging which type of leader is rising can be a challenge to our discernment.

The greatest hidden heir is Jesus. Jesus was hidden in the womb of a brave woman, in the indignity of a manger, in the refugee community in Egypt, in the despised town of Nazareth. And finally, hidden in the grave before being marvelously revealed as its conqueror.

In one way, Jesus is our Temple and priest and we are hidden in him. In another way, Jesus hides himself in us and we must bring him out, proclaiming his rule to the wicked kings and queens of this world.

May we proclaim and reveal the hidden-in-plain-sight kingdom of Jesus. Those with eyes to see will follow his light. Those with ears to hear will rejoice at his words. Wickedness and evil will be thrown down and all who follow him will be co-heirs with him when he is marvelously revealed. Amen.

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us saying: “Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me; I will certainly not reject anyone who comes to me, because I have come from heaven, not to do my will, but to do the will of him who sent me. Now the will of him who sent me is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me, but that I should raise it up on the last day. It is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and that I should raise that person on the last day.” — John 6.37-40

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 11-12 (Listen 7:38)
Psalms 60-61 (Listen 2:27)

Read more about Offal Leaders
God smeared their faces with offal, but some keep trying to wipe it off and pretend nothing is wrong.

Read more about Leadership Material?
Today–just as he did in the period of the judges–God is calling up new leaders for our churches and communities.

Choosing Gentleness Over Violence

Scripture Focus: 2 Timothy 2.24-25
The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.

From John:

Sadly this devotional from 2017 begs to be repeated. The world’s online language has gotten more, instead of less, brutal in two years. But worse and more shocking, the language of many Christians and prominent Christian pastors has followed, growing combative, disrespectful, and even violent, disqualifying themselves, according to Paul from being “the Lord’s servant…” May we repent and call our leaders to follow suit.

Reflection: Choosing Gentleness Over Violence

By John Tillman

When we discuss differences online, the overheated rhetoric of partisan headlines can become a part of our own speech as we share articles or videos that describe our opponents—not their arguments or political positions—as being destroyed, ripped, blasted, shredded. The more violent and dehumanizing the verb, the better.

This isn’t just verbal hyperbole. It is being borne out in actions as more and more people are physically assaulted following online interactions that lead to violence or threats of violence. These types of actions can be extreme and political, such as the attempted assassinations of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in 2011 or of Republican Congressional members in 2017. They can also be smaller in spectacle, and fly below the news radar.

was the name given to attacks on women critiquing the portrayal of female characters in video games. Though it started years ago, many of these attacks—threats, vandalism, hacking, and doxxing attacks—are still going on today. Women are also often attacked using these methods after reporting sexual abuse by powerful men.

We should resist the urge to shrug off these events with denial. Christians believe that God’s Word became flesh, yet somehow we are reluctant to admit the power of our own words to become physicalized into actions. What we say and how we say it matters because, as Jesus taught, the words of our mouths come from our hearts and reveal our inward sinfulness. Sticks and stones start as words and words start in our sinful hearts. This is true not only of the words we speak or type ourselves but the words we lend our digital voices to. By posting, liking, and retweeting articles about our ideological rivals being “destroyed” we are revealing not our ideological righteousness, but our theological sinfulness.

In Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, he encourages faithfulness to the Gospel, and fidelity to right teaching, but Paul specifically instructs Timothy not to be resentful or quarrelsome and to instruct opponents with gentleness. This was no low-stakes conflict that Paul was advising Timothy in. The very heart of what it meant to be a Christian and the definition of salvation through Christ was at stake. It was much, much more important than who misinterpreted whose tweet this week. Yet, still Paul’s charge was to teach gently.

We cannot continue posting and liking things that are resentful, quarrelsome, and the opposite of gentle, yet expect to represent Christ and the Gospel in the world. If we refuse to choose one or the other, we risk showing the world a resentful, quarrelsome, violent Christ.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer

Love the Lord, all you who worship him; the Lord protects the faithful, but repays to the full those who act haughtily. — Psalm 31.23

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 11-12 (Listen – 7:38)
2 Timothy 2 (Listen -3:17)

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Read more about Abandoning Human Vengeance
As Christians, we have an opportunity to differentiate ourselves from culture every time vitriol spews.

Read more about Praise God for the Justice of the Gospel
Only Christ can stand, simultaneously offering forgiveness to all who seek it, destruction of evil itself, and restoration of all that is broken and lost.