Welcome to the second part of this historical account of two kingdoms which demonstrates to us that though relationship is a good thing, wrong association can have far reaching effects and the earlier we cut it off, the better.
The first part concluded with what seemed to be the end of an unequal alliance between two Kings, two Kingdoms, two dynasties, but was in fact the beginning of the consequences of a folly-alliance King Ahab’s deceit caught up on him while King Jehoshaphat narrowly escaped death. He returned to his Kingdom Judah and lived the rest of his life in peace and prosperity. What a God-fearing man. He would be missed! He was survived by seven sons.
His first son who was also the Crown Prince Jehoram succeeded him as King Jo II. Quick reminder: this young man was the same Prince who married the charming Princess Athaliah, Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, a political marriage and a form of alliance between the two royal families. And needless to say, both of them followed the ways of Ahab!! How do I know? He did not bat an eyelid before killing his six younger brothers so he could secure the throne. Bloodshed? That was definitely Ahab and Jezebel’s way.
King Jo II was so wicked in his ways that Prophet Elijah, yeah, the same fire-spitting Prophet had to send a prophecy to him by MAIL as he couldn’t come physically – his hands were full in the Northern kingdom dealing with Jezebel and her sons and the entire Ahab dynasty. Thankfully, king Jo II only reigned for 8 years. He died of an incurable intestinal disease, that was after he lost all his children to attacks from marauders. He was survived by his wife Athaliah the Queen, his youngest son – 22 years old Ahaziah and surprisingly a Godly daughter Princess Sheba who was married to a Priest Iada. Ahaziah was crowned King – King Jo III. And as expected, he too followed the footsteps of his mother Athaliah and grandparents Ahab and Jezebel.
Talking of Jezebel, she seemed to have become the Iron Lady controlling both the Northern kingdom Israel and Southern kingdom Judah. Jehoshaphat’s alliance with her late husband gave her so much power in both kingdoms even though she was originally from another country entirely. And she was still notorious for her ruthlessness. Upon her husband’s death, her son Ahaziah became the King. But unfortunately, for whatever reason, he fell accidentally in his Palace and sustained serious injuries. He died from the complications of the injuries. He reigned for only two years. After him, his brother Joram who happened to be another son of Jezebel became the King. He reigned with terror for the next 12 years.
It would appear that the dynasty of Jehoshaphat had an uncontrollable obsession with Ahab’s dynasty. They had this compelling urge that they must be loyal and faithful to their “brothers” up North. The relationship seemed to be one way and not the other way round.
History was repeating itself: Ahaziah, King Jo III joined himself with Joram to fight Joram’s battles again. And like his grandfather Jehoshaphat the First he escaped and survived and returned home. Also like Ahab, Joram too was wounded, but he didn’t die and returned to his hometown in Jezreel to recover. However, King Jo III he felt compelled to keep visiting Joram until Joran fully recovered. Unfortunately for him, during one of his visits, there was a coup de tat taking place up North where King Joram was dethroned and killed by his Chief of Army Staff. King Jo III, by association, too became a victim. He tried to escape like his grandfather, only this time, he wasn’t so blessed. He was shot and killed. Tragedy!!
All these troubles were happening because of one man Jehoshaphat decided to tie his destiny and that of his family to a man who did not deserve it – Ahab!
At this point in history, the destinies of these two great nations all of a sudden lie on three generations of Women: Jezebel (the Queen Mother in Northern Israel), her daughter Athaliah (the Queen Mother in the Southern Judah) and the new addition – the Godly Princess Sheba, Athaliah’s daughter.
At this point, it was time up for Jezebel. Enough of Ahab and his seeds!! Another king has taken over, Ahab and his entire household was wiped out!! An unpleasant end for the power couple Ahab and Jezebel.
The spotlight was back on Judah. Athaliah probably panicked. Her mother, brother and entire family have all been killed in the Northern kingdom. And her own son the king too was killed alongside. It was time to bring out the Jezebel in herself.
She took over the Kingdom, becoming the first female Monarch in both kingdoms. True to form, she ruled with iron hands. She destroyed the Royal Family and killed every rival who could have access to the throne, all except one, a baby whom her daughter Princess Sheba smuggled out of the palace and hid in the Temple; baby Joash who would later become King Jo IV, the king who, after all the drama, would make it all right again
It’s never too late for good to trump evil, and for every wrong to be made right. It was time for Princess Sheba to stand against the Queen Mother.
For six years, Athaliah reigned as the Supreme Monarch, Jezebel incarnate. It seemed evil had prevailed. But behind the scene was a toddler and his nanny, protected within the Temple walls by a rebel Princess and her Priest husband Iada and a privileged few sworn to secrecy.
As I conclude this series, I thought about the movies I’ve seen where Priests commit treasonable acts, revolting against reigning Monarchs and toppling kings. Perhaps the most fascinating to me is “The man in the iron mask” which displayed the bravery of the three musketeers and a faceless Prince.
Here, it was Jeho-Iada the Priest who felt he had had enough. But he couldn’t do it without the military. summoned five army Commanders, the Carite mercenaries Levites and some Temple guards. He made them to swear an oath and revealed the Prince to them. He was just a seven years old baby, but he had enough Royal Blood to become the King. They knew they were at risk of immediate execution for treason, but it was a risk they were willing to take.
And just like that, they Crowned Joash as the new King, King Jo IV, even though the ruthless Athaliah was still alive and well. It was a bloody one, but they found to finish. And Queen Athaliah was executed for her crimes against humanity.
King Joash King (Jo IV) reigned under the supervision, tutelage and mentoring of JehoIada the Priest. As a team, they corrected every single wrong and made Judah great again. They brought peace, prosperity and national security back to the Kingdom. They led the people back to God. And laid a lasting positive impact. That’s not all, but Iada the Priest was blessed with long life living up 130 years and was buried among the kings, because he did well for the nation.
It took four generations to be finally free from the influence of Ahab and his family, an alliance his great grandfather has trustingly and blindly forged, but phew! It feels good to be free indeed.
Welcome back to KemiDele’s blog. My thoughts this Sunday dwell on a little historical event found in the Holy Bible.
You know that when we see a relationship like WALL*e and EVE, we remember the popular old saying: Opposites Attract. Yeah, but sometimes, for the sake of common good, some “opposites-alliance” must not be allowed to thrive.
There’s a Bible verse which states that “Be ye not UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER with unbelievers…” 2 Corinthians 6:14, kjv). I used to struggle with a Bible verse which preached an apparent discrimination. But over the years I understood the true implications of being unequally yoked together with someone, some organizations or institutions with conflicting values. It’s got nothing to do with discrimination; unequal yoke is a nightmare!!
The Message Bible captures the essence of this passage perfectly!!
“Don’t become partners with those who reject God.
How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war.
Is light best friends with dark?
Does Christ go strolling with the Devil?
Do trust and mistrust hold hands?
Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple?…” 2 Corinthians 6: 14-16a (Message Bible)
Now back to my story. It’s a story about some notable Kings and Queens in the Old Testament of the Bible.
I don’t know if you have ever heard of King Jehoshaphat, but you are more likely to have heard about King Ahab, and definitely about Jezebel. Yes, the same popular Jezebel – the Princess of Sidon, daughter of EthBaal, an absolute Monarch, and later became the wife of one of the worst Kings in Israel – king Ahab.
King Ahab and his wife Jezebel ruled over Northern Israel while King Jehoshaphat (King Jo the First) ruled over the smaller Southern Israel also known as the Judah Kingdom right about the same time, reigning for 22 and 25 years respectively.
King Ahab was notorious for his wickedness. He married a beautiful Princess Jezebel and they both ruled with iron hands from Samaria, the capital of Northern Israel. Their reign was full of terror and bloodshed. It was during his reign that Prophet Elijah caused 3 years of famine and also called fire from heaven. Their marriage was blessed with many children, especially Princess Athaliah!!
King Jehoshaphat (King Jo I) was the exact opposite. He was a good and a Godly man, a King of Reform. He was the one who made the Popular speech: “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper”. His reign was known for peace, prosperity and national revival.
King Jo I reasoned that the two Kingdoms should be able to work together in harmony, so he formed an alliance with King Ahab, (the biggest mistake of his life). In fact, his son Jo (Jehoram) married Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, the beautiful Princess Athaliah, thus the two first families became in-laws.
How can such a good man Jehoshaphat and such an evil man become so yoked together in an alliance? We should find ways of unity rather than division. Jo’s intentions were noble, Ahab’s weren’t. Jo trusted Ahab so completely that the motto of their relationship became: Mi casa es Su casa!! What is Mine is Yours, My Home is Your Home!!
Anyways, King Jo I was about to meet the real Ahab! Many years later, Ahab deceived Jo into a war with some countries (Aram) based on border disputes. Ahab and Aram had some unresolved disputes where he (Ahab) was deceived by a disguised Aram king. Ahab was itching for a fight, but he wanted to use his friend, fellow king, partner and in-law Jo as the BAIT!!
When he enticed Jo I to join forces with him in that war against the Aram king, King Jo I replied using his usual lines: Mi casa es Su casa!!
“Why, of course!
You and I are as one.
My troops are your troops,
and my horses are your horses.” (1 Kings 22:4)
Even when Jo knew that the battle would be an unnecessary waste of precious lives and resources, he still agreed.
Even when he knew the spiritualists and prophets consulted were telling lies, he still agreed.
Even when Ahab showed his real intention: To expose King Jo I to danger to protect himself, Jehoshaphat still agreed. He was a man of his words, isn’t it?
(Ahab) The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Wear my kingly robe; I’m going into battle disguised.” So the king of Israel entered the battle in disguise. (1 King 22:30)
Meanwhile the Aram king was also not interested in the war. It was already three year after their last encounter and he wasn’t looking forward to any more battle; it would be an unnecessary waste of lives and resources. So he decided to kill the king (Ahab) and end the war.
King Jo the First fought another man’s battle, dressed in another man’s regalia, in another man’s chariot…. And he was attacked like that other man. To all, he was Ahab, the one and only target of the enemy.
Long story short, he escaped, but only by some Divine Intervention. Someone recognized his voice, and knew that was not the voice of Ahab. nor the attitude of Ahab. So they spared him. He ran back to his own Kingdom of Judah, without looking back! Experience, they say, is the best teacher
Ahab with all his disguise, unfortunately did not escape still. He was shot by a random soldier, and it blew up one of the big arteries of his leg. And he bled all day. The life of an ordinary soldier – he received no urgent medical attention, and no help at all. To the onlooker, he was another soldier and not the King, there was no need to rush. So he lost so much blood and died.
Well, this looks like the end of the story, right? But trust me when I say the saga was just BEGINNING!! Wrong association always has terrible repercussions; and we must never be afraid to pull out once we recognize the danger signs…
Watch out for the second and concluding part of “Before you say Mi Casa et Su Casa” next Sunday.
All scriptures, unless otherwise stated,are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation.
DONATE BLOOD IN HIS STEPS
I’m still on my Blood Donation Campaign.
In the Spirit of Easter, we celebrate our Lord Jesus who gave His Blood, His Life, to give us life.
On His Head: Crown made of sharp thorny twigs.
On His Hands: Rusty Iron Nails pierced.
On His Tummy: Shot with a Spear. On His Feet: Rusty Iron Nails pierced.
On His Body, head to toe: Brutal beating by angry soldiers.
That’s a lot of blood! From the crown of His Head to the sole of His feet, He bled to transfuse a dying world.
…in His Steps…
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 (NIV)
Let us follow in His Step and donate blood. It might just save a life.
If you’re healthy, with good hemoglobin (PCV) levels, then you have something to give.
Thank you as you consider donating at least a unit of blood before the end of the year.
There are those days when life can be a little bit overcrowded with events and activities, with life-changing events, either for good or bad, and it’s just difficult to believe everything happened within a 24-hour day.
That was the story of Jesus so very many centuries ago, on a day we now recognize as Good Friday, although it might not even have occurred on a Friday. But it did happen on the day the Passover Lamb was killed according to Jewish tradition.
My devotion on this Good Friday is from Mark 14 of the Holy Bible.
Mark 14:33-34 (NIV): “He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.””
The Big Question is: How did Jesus get to this point of distress?
Just two days earlier, He was reminded of His coming suffering and death in the sweetest way. He was invited to one of those opulent parties hosted by one Simon (previously) The Leper. There, one (previously) bad girl brought the sweetest gift, a gift criticized by those present as sheer waste of something precious…
Mark 14:3 (NIV): “While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.”
Jesus recognized the sign, and knew what He must do. Soon after, He went ahead to make a reservation for a Guest Room that was fully furnished for an all-important dinner.
Mark 14:14-15 (NIV): “Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.””
This reservation was pivotal, so that He could have that special time with His disciples; to eat His Last Dinner on earth, which also doubled as the Passover meal with them; to say His Farewell, no, not farewell, but to tell them His time was up, and to give them those very important messages that would be passed down to the church of all ages.
John the Beloved, a dear disciple, many decades later took the pain to write what happened during the dinner. It was a long emotional meeting documented in John chapters 14-17!!
The dinner was also special, so He could reveal the Face of the Traitor, Judas Iscariot himself.
Meanwhile, Judas had embarked on a little scheming already, having closed doors meeting with the Chief Priests on: “What would it cost to betray my friend Jesus?” They promised him some compensation, and he, blinded by greed, agreed.
The dinner came, thirteen men came in, for a life-changing experience. Jesus told of His soon-to-come exit, and too many information (John 14-17). Then came the moment of truth, the Traitor was identified and as a matter of fact, Jesus said they would all desert him at some point. The Lord’s Supper was instituted, and then, the night was over.
Or was it just starting?? It was just late afternoon, the night was still young.
The Gethsemane Experience…
Jesus went with His Disciples to their favorite outdoor spot. But this time, for a serious business. Within the next 24 hours, He was going to be killed. Like a criminal. And the thought of it terrified Him. He was deeply distressed and troubled.
HE NEEDED TO PRAY.
He told them: My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, Stay here and keep watch.
But apparently, the guys were full from the dinner, and they couldn’t keep their eyes open, even after Jesus woke them 2-3 times. They couldn’t pray, they couldn’t support Him, they couldn’t encourage Him. He prayed alone, with his clothes soaked with sweat.
He prayed: “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36 NIV).
Needless to say, that was one cup ABBA FATHER had no intention of taking away. The stakes were too high.
The rest, they say, is History. Or is it?
Within one short hour of prayer, His time was UP! His dear friend Judas, with whom they just finished a sumptuous (unleavened) supper that was making their other friends sleepy, returned. He greeted Jesus with a KISS. He could have as well brought a Knife.
HE BETRAYED JESUS WITH A KISS!
What kind of sick human being betrays his friend of over three years, with a kiss??
Behind Him was a mob of angry citizens and Temple Guards; angry mob incited by the Chief Priests and Temple Leaders. Ready to arrest whoever Judas kissed.
Jesus Christ from the village of Nazareth. The Son of God. He was arrested unfairly in the garden where He was praying.
That same night, He was TRIED by the Chief Priests and Religious Leaders. Because they couldn’t sentence Him, that same night, He was taken to be tried by the King (Herod) and then by the Roman Governor (Pontus Pilate) both of whom found Him innocent. But for political reasons, sentenced Him all the same.
TO BE CRUCIFIED ON THE CROSS.
That was the only politically-correct move at that moment. There, in the midst of a most holy Passover Festival, He was crucified, and He died to take away the sins of the world and restore man back to God.
If you are willing or volunteering to provide specialized babysitting and respite care for children with special needs and you feel overwhelmed, do not panic. Even experienced babysitters and teachers of special needs kids sometimes feel a little intimidated at that thought.
Here are some tips that you might find helpful when looking after kids with Autism and ADHD:
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Children with ADHD often have lots of energy and can get wound up quickly. Their attention span for activities might be shorter than that of other children, so plan many activities and use them as needed.
Important To Know:
Children with ADHD are often quite creative. They may enjoy drawing pictures or building with blocks.
Active, outdoor games can be fun for children with ADHD. Try activities like hopscotch, swinging, and jumping rope. But skip the playground if it’s close to bedtime.
Wind down with quiet time at bedtime. Low-key activities, including watching a movie or sitting in a rocking chair and reading a book, can help all kids calm down for the night.
If the child needs to take medication while you’re babysitting, make sure the parents explain the dosage to you. If it’s possible, ask parents if you can watch them giving the medication a couple of times. Find out what time you should be giving the medication (or helping the child take it).
Be specific with your directions. To make sure kids with ADHD have listened and understood you, ask them to repeat the directions back to you.
Know how to deal with difficulties: It might help to provide the child with a schedule of what you’ll be doing, especially if your visit is lengthy. Children with ADHD sometimes have trouble switching gears. That means playing a boisterous game of tag right before naptime might not work. If you know some calming strategies and have activities prepared for your visit, you and the child can relax and enjoy yourselves.
Autism is a developmental disorder that makes it hard to communicate or interact with other people. Some kids have autism that is mild; others have autism that is severe. Children with autism can have trouble understanding subtle directions and requests. They may become overwhelmed by busy and noisy environments. And, sometimes, they do not enjoy being touched. Because every kid is different, ask the child’s parents what to expect and what kinds of things the child enjoys doing.
Important To Know:
Follow the child’s routine, especially at bedtime or mealtime. Kids with autism prefer structure and can get upset if routines are different from what they’re used to.
Ask the parents about the child’s favorite toys so you can play with them. Go slowly. One tactic is to sit alongside the child and mimic his play. That might attract his attention and lead him to join you.
Special toys can help you encourage the child to cooperate. For example, you might say, “If you brush your teeth, you can play with your toy car.”
Don’t be offended if the child decides to play alone or limits interactions with you. This is part of the disorder.
Maintain a calm environment. For example, skip a trip to the playground when you know a neighborhood gathering is likely there. Avoid bringing your friends or other people the child may not know into the home.
Go slowly when it comes to physical contact. Find out from the parents how their child reacts to affection. A quick hug or light tickle could set off a child with autism.
Know how to deal with difficulties: Ask the parents how to handle it if the child becomes upset or agitated. In general, as long as the child isn’t hurting himself or anyone else, it’s best to roll with the tantrum. Keep the child safe and close to you. If the child starts to settle down, you might bring out a favorite toy and start playing with it to create a distraction. Some children with autism might calm down when cuddling a special stuffed animal. Others might respond well to sitting in a rocking chair with you or swinging on the backyard swing set.