TEXT: 2 KINGS 12:1-2, 15:1-3, 15:33-34, 18:1-6
Somebody once said that mothers are the only ones who change this world -- one child at a time. Often when we read stories about the many kings in Israel, the Bible mentions their mothers by name. Have you ever wondered why? It was very common in those times for kings to have several wives and so raising a child was delegated to their mother. As a result, even though all those young men were trained by their fathers to be future kings, the ones who trained their hearts were their mothers.
Although the book of Kings is full of many sad stories of kings disobeying God, there are a few stories of hope. One of these is the story of King Hezekiah. The Bible tells us that King Hezekiah's mother was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. What is amazing is that during the time of his reign, King Hezekiah did not follow in the ways of his father Ahaz, who worshipped false gods and made sacrifices on the high places. Instead, King Hezekiah destroyed all of these high places and restored worship to its rightful place in the Temple in Jerusalem. He "held fast to The Lord" and as a result he and the nation of Judah were saved from the Assyrian army. Hezekiah's priorities were completely different from those of his father, and most likely his desire to worship God and restore the Temple was instilled by his mother. How important is a mother's job to raise her son well! As the book of Proverbs 22:6 states: "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Today we no longer worship God in the Temple; instead 1 Peter 2 teaches us that we are the Temple of God and that the Holy Spirit dwells in each of us. We are His new Temple made of flesh and blood. Just as in the time of King Hezekiah, God wishes to restore His Temple (our hearts) and to bring men, women, and children back into right relationship with Him. Like Abi, we can serve as mothers or spiritual mothers to the next generation, teaching them to love God with their whole lives.
In 2 Kings 12-18, there appears a series of kings who ruled over Judah. In this section the author gives a clue as to when a king will be good or bad, by including or not including the name of each king's mother. There are four good kings in this line-up and all four of their mothers (Zibiah, Jecoliah, Jerusha, and Abi) are mentioned by name. When the mother is mentioned by name, the author is essentially giving her part of the credit for how her son turned out. Each of these sons, though not perfect, "does what was right in the eyes of The Lord" and has a positive influence on the people. The greatest of these kings was Hezekiah who "trusted in The Lord, the God of Israel, so there was none like him among all the kings of Judah." His mother Abi must have been so very proud of her son!
As women we can have a profound affect on our children and on those men and women around us. Every day we have the opportunity to pray for and encourage others to follow Jesus. The women in this story didn't have any real power themselves, but they had the opportunity to shape the minds and hearts of people who did. The same is often true of us. God gives us opportunities every day to point others to Him -- men, women, and children who may hold positions of power we could never hold ourselves.
Who can you pray for and encourage in your life? How can you help them to follow God more faithfully? Is there anyone you know who holds a position of power, influence, or leadership? Ask God to give you an opportunity to share with this person about Jesus.