31 July – 6 August 2016.
In English, we say: “Time flies when you’re having fun!” When everything is going well, time goes by so fast. Of course the opposite is also true: a boring class (or sermon) seems to drag on forever! When we go through dark times in our lives, we also wonder to ourselves: How long is this going to last? When will this problem finally be over?
In today’s Bible passage, we can easily imagine the Jews thinking this too. After the death of Judah’s King Ahaziah, Ahaziah’s mother Athaliah claims the throne and starts murdering the rest of the family so no one can stop her. When people are infected with this greed for power, there is no room left for compassion; everyone, even small children, must die! But luckily, the royal baby Joash is saved, and secretly hidden away in the temple.
For Athaliah to make herself queen is a disaster. Tradition and prophecy demanded that an heir of David would always sit on the throne of Judah. So Athaliah, who is a northerner, breaks this historic line of Davidic kings. Is God going to let this murdering queen go unpunished?
Athalia stays queen for 6 long years. To the people, that must have felt like forever! It’s just like when we’re in trouble. We think: “When is God finally going to do something? Has he forgotten us?” But at those times we – like Queen Athaliah! – often don’t notice that God is quietly working in the background to bring change.
The ancient Greeks had two words to speak about time. “Chronos” described the hours and days that we count with our watches. But the second word, “Kairos”, was much more important. “Kairos” meant the right time to do something. Yes, six years was a long time to count, but behind the scenes God was working to prepare the right “Kairos”, the right moment to make a change. Finally, when the royal baby Joash is 7 years old, that right time had come to put a son of David back on the throne.
That’s a good reminder for us that when things are going badly, we should never give up hope! And we should never think that God has forgotten us. He is always working behind the scenes, and at the right time he will open a new and wonderful door for you!
Pastor Stephen Lakkis