Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Mothers of Destiny

"[King Asa] even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole" (1 Kings 15:13a).

Each time a new king came to the throne of Judah, Scripture records the name of his mother. This is significant, because the Bible recognizes that there is some truth in the saying that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

The first king of Judah was Rehoboam, son of Solomon. Rehoboam experienced several shattering events in his reign. He came to the throne at the age of 41, having lived most of his life in the glories of the Solomonic united kingdom. He expected to continue to live in that situation, but as soon as he took the throne he lost nine-tenths of the kingdom when the northern tribes seceded from him. His instinct was to fight to regain this territory, but Shemaiah the prophet warned the people not to fight, and on this occasion they listened to the prophet (1 Kings 12).

Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah the Ammonitess, a woman from a thoroughly degenerate Baalist culture. Perhaps partly because of the way he had been brought up, partly through the influence of his father, Solomon, and partly because he was angry at God, Rehoboam led the nation into radical idolatry. As a result, Rehoboam experienced another shattering judgment: Shishak of Egypt came and took away all the treasures of the palace and temple (1 Kings 14:21–28).

Rehoboam’s favorite wife, Maacah, was a Jewish convert to idolatry. Their son and heir to the throne was Abijam, who followed in his parents’ footsteps. It is clear that during his reign, his mother was the power behind the throne. He reigned only three years.

Then his son Asa came to the throne. Asa was very young, and in the early years of his reign, his grandmother Maacah continued to wield power as queen mother. Asa destroyed some idols early in his reign, but not until after his fifteenth year did he have the power to depose Maacah from her position of influence (2 Chronicles 15:10–16). Asa broke with the tradition maintained by these evil mothers and brought about a renewal of the true faith in Judah.

Mothers have great power over their sons, for better or for worse, and this power must be wisely used. Another dimension of this principle is that the church, as the bride of Christ, is also the mother of believers. The church sustains a motherly role toward society and toward civil rulers. If we have bad rulers today, it is because the church, the power behind the throne, is failing in her duty.