Friday 18 June 2010

Bible Book:
2 Kings

"Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and people, that they should be the Lord's people; also between the king and the people." (v.17)

2 Kings 11:1-20 Friday 18 June 2010


In this passage we are given a picture of a very brutal world.Athaliah, the mother of the dying king, kills all pretenders to thethrone (who presumably included some of her own family). Eventually(in verses 13-20) she suffers a brutal death. Events in Bosnia andKosovo, in Rwanda and Burundi, in southern Sudan, remind us howbrutal people can be still.

Even in what we refer to as a sophisticated contemporary world, wesee such brutality. Some of it is deliberate and much of is theconsequences of a world in which the 20-80 formula is true. It is ablunt instrument, but in round terms, 20% of the world's populationconsume 80% of the world's resources and vice versa. The absence ofwealth and good building methods in Haiti means a huge proportionof the population is wiped out when, in other places, in similarearthquakes, few buildings are wrecked and fewer people killed. Arethese the modern form of killing fields?

In the midst of the brutality of this passage a woman successfullyhides her nephew for six years. It becomes a parable for theprotection of God's people and a challenge to us to care for thosemost at risk.

The boy-king is revealed and considerable care is made for hisprotection in three shifts of an elite bodyguard. This createdstability and enabled justice, even though the wicked Athaliah isdisposed of summarily.

The call comes to return to the Lord and to repent of the idolworship of Baal (a local god), whose temples are now torn down. TheCovenant is re-established. This affects worship, the rule ofjustice and the whole community. The covenant with Yahweh (anothername for God) was always more than worship. It had a profoundimpact on the rule of the king and the running of the community forthe good of all people. It did not always work out that way forthem however...

To Ponder

What are the ways we can join with others to seekjustice and peace for all people?

Who are the people most at risk today and how canwe help them?

How do we mitigate the unforeseen elements of our'oppression' of others through our lifestyle?

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