A Crisis of Belief

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I just can’t imagine murdering someone else. I especially can’t imagine murdering my own grandchildren, even if some of them were my “step-grandchildren.” But that’s what Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah, did after her son’s death. Why? So she could be queen. She’s definitely a “chip off the old block.” Her mother and father were the notoriously evil Jezebel and Ahaz. How could she not have any kind of a “feeling” that this was wrong?
Yet, here in the midst of this scary, evil woman, rose up this other woman named Jehoshabeath. Now, when was the last time we taught our children or someone taught us about Jehoshabeath? Why not? This is a woman with faith in God. This is a woman who was not guided by fear but by love and honouring God and the lives he created. Why don’t we talk about this woman more?
I’m working through Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby again with a younger friend. Blackaby says, “You can’t stay where you are and follow God at the same time.” There will come a crisis of belief where we are called to act. Faith is taking that step into that thing that is hard. Faith is doing what God is calling us to do despite the consequences. Paul tells us in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Face it, he wasn’t telling us that faith is the assurance of everything working out great like we hoped. He wasn’t telling us we’d see great things here after we followed. He was telling us that faith is being assured of our position in Christ, that life or death, all God’s promises to me are true, and He is my hope, my hope of life eternal in Him. Come on, I can see everything that there is in this world, but I can’t fully see Him. But I will. You, Lord, have given me that conviction in Your Word. I will see the fulfilment of all You have said. I will see You.
So lets’ look at Jehoshabeath, sister of the now dead king. Daughter of his father the king. Wife of Jehoiada the priest. She’s already got two strikes against her. Both her dad and her brother didn’t obey the Lord. We don’t know who her mother was, since kings had more than one wife. But we know that Jehoiada was a priest that sought God. And Jehoshabeath’s choices shows that she was willing to risk her life to honour God and preserve His legacy.
Somehow, Jehoshabeath rescues baby Joash and his nursemaid before they are slaughtered by the queen with all the other sons of the deceased Ahaziah. For six years they hid Joash in the house of God, while this evil, heartless queen reigned. Please don’t tell me that this was not a dangerously life-threatening chance she was taking. This was an ultimate moment that would bring a crisis of belief. What did Jehoshabeath believe? Her actions would demonstrate what she believed.
James tells us in the second chapter, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone…faith apart from works is dead.” So what does that mean? What are works? The good things I do? I don’t think so, because anybody can do good things, even an evil queen like Athaliah can do some good things for some people, but it will never count as faith. These works are God-works. So how does one get to do God-works?
Oswald Chambers says God “engineers everything.” Believing that, Skip Moen says it follows that “our single goal is not to plan the work but rather to work the plan, His plan of discipling others whom He brings across our daily path. The work which He wishes us to do is not what we concoct or imagine, but rather what He puts in front of us. That’s what it means to assert that God engineers life.” We don’t make up the plan, we follow His plan. That’s what Jehoshabeath was doing. That’s what her husband Jehoiada was doing. So God was behind it. And whatever God is behind, whatever God is compelling to move forward, whatever God is doing, is worth whatever the risk to be partnered with Him in it.
It’s not our option to plan, but to be totally abandoned to Him and to whatever He asks of us or where-ever He leads us. I find this so liberating because the results are not up to me, just as the results were not up to Jehoshabeath. For all she knew, she and Joash could have been killed in the trying. But then they would have lived by faith to their last breath. When I obey out of faith, when I follow the will of You, God, no matter what, I will, as Skip Moen stated, “nevertheless inherit the by-products: joy, peace, and happiness.” I can pound the sand in the force of my own work like Athaliah, and reap the rotten fruit that comes with it. Or I can walk by faith like Jehoshabeath, and savour the sweet fruits of Your fellowship and Your work well-done.

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