2 Kings 11
After King Ahaziah of Judah was killed, his mother Athaliah went nuts: "When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family." (vs 1) Can you imagine this? A grandmother setting out to kill all of her grandchildren? The children of Ahaziah were heirs to the throne, but apparently, Athaliah decided that she should sit on the throne. And she did. She became the only queen of Judah.
However, unbeknownst to her, Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba hid one of the grandchildren, Joash. She hid him away in the temple for six years, nursing him and grooming him to take over the throne of Judah. When he was seven, Jehosheba’s husband (who was the high priest) engineered the anointing ceremony for King Joash. He was coronated, Queen Athaliah was killed, and the rest is history.
The thing that struck me here was how thin a string God’s promise was hanging on at this time. He had promised David that a descendant of his would sit on the throne of Judah forever. (Ultimately, Jesus—who came through the lineage of David—would sit forever on the throne of the universe.) But when Athaliah decided that she was going to wipe out the royal family of Judah, it was a direct assault on this promise made by God, although it’s unclear as to whether she had this in mind or not.
But through the actions of Joash’s aunt, God’s promise was preserved. Even though it was bound up in one tiny life, God’s promises prevailed over the evil that was carried out by Joash’s grandmother.
In this evil world, I think this is an important lesson for us to remember. God does not forget His promises to us. As Peter wrote, "God is not slack concerning His promise." (2 Pet 3:9) Even when all the forces of evil are pitted against God, His promises will prevail. Sometimes it may look to us like evil is winning, but even when it is by the slimmest of margins, love will win. All of God’s promises will stand up to evil.