He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah.” 2 Kings 18:2
So, here’s another wife and mother and woman in Scripture. And I wouldn’t have even thought about her unless I was sent on this journey to look at the women You name in Your Word. I wouldn’t have come across an exposition on women’s names in the Bible. And I wouldn’t understand as much what You are looking for from the women You created. Because each time I look, I see a clearer picture of the purpose of women. I see a clearer picture of Your heart and what You value and what You abhor. I get to see who You display for eternity and how You display them and I get to learn.
Here’s a woman with “a bad husband but a good son.” Here’s a woman who had a husband who didn’t respond rightly to You, Lord, but how did she respond because of that? What do I know about this woman? Well, I find out in 2 Kings 18 above. Her full name was Abijah and she was the daughter of Zechariah. This is that Zechariah who understood the visions of God and was used as a witness by Isaiah. Well, that’s definitely a good background to have. But on the other side of the spectrum, she became the wife of King Ahaz who made Judah naked and sorely transgressed against the Lord. I’m just guessing but I think this woman Abijah was very beautiful both inside and out and even an evil king was attracted to her beauty and took her for his own. I’m sure that’s a situation she could be resentful for, to go from the daughter of a man of God and all it’s influences in the Lord, to wife of an evil King and all it’s influences. And yet somehow she has this son named Hezekiah who does right in the eyes of the LORD, “according to all that David his father had done.” (2 Chronicles 29:2)
Wait a minute. I thought that Ahaz was Hezekiah’s father and Abi’s husband. Well, he was. But he was not the spiritual model that Abi set before her son. Abi was holding fast to the God she knew and was raised under. Abi was taking charge of the spiritual upbringing of her son. She was going to be the one in control of the spiritual influences of her sons life. I’m sure she would teach him of God no matter the cost. I’m sure that she understood that it was a life or death matter that her son learn about the true God and learn to love him and follow him. So she had to go back to an ancester, a father, who demonstrated that knowledge and love and who displayed the effects of that honoring of God before the whole world.
Abi had a choice to make. She could wallow in self pity and let this man who totally dishonored God take control of everything around her, or she could fulfill her purpose before her heavenly Father and Creator. It’s not that Ahaz didn’t have a purpose. We were all created with the purpose to glorify God. Just because Ahaz refused to fulfill his purpose, didn’t mean his wife had to refuse to fulfill hers. She chose to continue to honor God. When it comes to the spiritual well-being or physical well-being even of those under our influence, I think that is the only right choice we have.
It’s a hard line to follow though. One must learn how to honor even the unhonorable without dishonoring God. And then there may be times when one is called to honor God in a way that seems like dishonoring your other authorities. Does Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego ring a bell? Are women less accountable to God? I think not. Peter and John were asked to stop telling the Good News of Jesus and answered, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, you judge,” (Acts 4:19) but they knew the answer and they would keep on sharing regardless of the cost. We answer to One. Abi understood that. Abi understood who she answered to despite the world of male dominance she lived in. In her eyes, she lived in a God dominant world. And since that’s what she was seeing, that’s how she lived.
Abijah- even her name meant something. Abijah meant “my father is Jehovah or the will of God.” How beautiful is that! How even more beautiful is the fact that she wholeheartedlly believed her name! So how much easier, even in a fallen world, to teach her son about her Father, to share her amazing heavenly Father with the one she loved, who God had brought forth from her own womb, her own flesh and blood. I’m just thinking that if something is like the “bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh” that you would really want to give it the best of what you have and what better than to give the gift of a loving and all powerful God?
So here we have Hezekiah’s mom, Ahaz’s wife, the daughter of Zechariah, and daughter of the living God, clinging to God as Father and seeking to do His will. She wasn’t focussed on what was wrong. She wasn’t focussed on the idolatry or evil ways of her husband. She was focussed on one thing, God. And her focus on God and love of God instead of continual condemnation counteracted the evil influences of Hezekiah’s natural father. Hezekiah didn’t have to focus on the shortcomings of his earthly father. He didn’t have to feel torn between his mother’s views and his father’s views. Hezekiah could see God because his mother knew how to see Him and love Him and obey Him and serve Him and adore Him. He could see the beauty of the relationship in his mother and the lack of that beauty in his father, not because she pointed it out, but because he was brought before the beauty of God Himself.
Because of Abi’s focus and because she took hold of the spiritual well-being of her son by devoted leadership under her heavenly Father, when Hezekiah became king after his father’s death, “he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.” He got rid of the high places and broke down and cut down the places of false worship. He even broke the bronze serpent that Moses had made in the wilderness because people were worshipping it as an idol. His mother’s faith in God made such an impact in His life that this was said of him, “He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD…”
One woman’s love for God and honoring of God and focus on God didn’t just make a difference in only her son’s life. Because of her love and devotion to God, he was full of that love and devotion to God and a whole nation saw the effects of that love and devotion and a whole nation reaped the benefits of that love and devotion. God used Abi, one woman, to effect change in Hezekiah, that would sweep a whole nation with revival. I imagine that Abi chose Hezekiah’s name for a reason. It means, “Strong in the Lord.” This wasn’t just her dream. This sharing of her God with Hezekiah and the world was her purpose. This is strength in humility. This is love. This is devotion. This is the work of God. This is the God story of a woman named Abi, a woman who loved God because He loved her first. This is the God story of a woman named Abi who shared that love with another who would accept it. What is my story?