Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Jehosheba - uncommon courage
We are studying a very courageous lady this week . . . Jehosheba was a princess, and was also the wife of the high priest. Now, I don't suppose it was nearly as powerful or authoritative an office as it was in other times, to be the high priest, but Jehoiada took his job very seriously, none the less.
I expect that it was painful to him to see the queen lead the people in Baal worship, and in worshiping other idols.
I wonder if Jehosheba told her high priest husband of her plans? Or if it was a spur of the moment act? Did she come running into their home, breathless, with the precious bundle in her arms? Did she blurt out the story to his disbelieving ears, and then both of them looked down at the babe lying there? Perhaps they remembered the promise of God, that a Messiah would be born from King David's line; they knew that this child must live!
How smart Jehosheba and Jehoiada were! To hide the child in the one place that Athaliah would probably never set foot! In the temple of God . . . there were times in the history of the people of Israel that they desecrated God's temple with idol worship. But most of the time, especially for the worship of Baal, we read of groves being utilized as places of worship. It was common for them to cut the branches from groups of trees, leave them standing, and carve images into them. God even warned his people to avoid this practice of cult worship:
Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build
to the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 16:21)
We see groves in other stories of Baal worship:
And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above
all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light
thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he
took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians,
and went and served Baal, and worshiped him. And he reared up an
altar for Baal in the house of Baal which he had built in Samaria. And
Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of
Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.
(I Kings 16:10-33)
So, we can see that Athaliah would not come into the temple and look around. Joash would not be seen. They hid the heir to the throne in the same temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem, beginning in the fourth year of his reign. Stone was cut and dressed at quarries and then brought to the site. The stones were covered with cedar wood, carved with palms and flowers, and adorned with gold.
The temple of God was home to the ancestor of God's son, Jesus, our Messiah. Through the brave actions of Jehosheba, and the courageous help of her husband, the lineage of David was preserved and our salvation was assured.
We'll conclude our story tomorrow -- it has a happy ending!