2 Kings 11:1-4, 9-18, 20
Now when Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, saw that her son was dead, she set about to destroy all the royal family. But Jehosheba, King Joram’s daughter, Ahaziah’s sister, took Joash son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s children who were about to be killed; she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus she hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not killed; he remained with her six years, hidden in the house of the Lord, while Athaliah reigned over the land.
But in the seventh year Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carites and of the guards and had them come to him in the house of the Lord. He made a covenant with them and put them under oath in the house of the Lord; then he showed them the king’s son.
The captains did according to all that the priest Jehoiada commanded; each brought his men who were to go off duty on the sabbath, with those who were to come on duty on the sabbath, and came to the priest Jehoiada. The priest delivered to the captains the spears and shields that had been King David’s, which were in the house of the Lord; the guards stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, from the south side of the house to the north side of the house, around the altar and the house, to guard the king on every side. Then he brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, and gave him the covenant; they proclaimed him king, and anointed him; they clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”
When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she went into the house of the Lord to the people; when she looked, there was the king standing by the pillar, according to custom, with the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!” Then the priest Jehoiada commanded the captains who were set over the army, “Bring her out between the ranks, and kill with the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest said, “Let her not be killed in the house of the Lord.” So they laid hands on her; she went through the horses’ entrance to the king’s house, and there she was put to death.
Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and people, that they should be the Lord’s people; also between the king and the people. Then all the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces, and they killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. The priest posted guards over the house of the Lord.
So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been killed with the sword at the king’s house.
Psalm 132: 11-14, 17-18
The Lord swore to David a sure oath
from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
I will set on your throne.
If your sons keep my covenant
and my decrees that I shall teach them,
their sons also, forevermore,
shall sit on your throne.”
For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his habitation:
“This is my resting place forever;
here I will reside, for I have desired it.
There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one.
His enemies I will clothe with disgrace,
but on him, his crown will gleam.”
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
It can be hard to wrestle with scriptures about war and violence. The reading from Kings can be hard to swallow as we read about humanity rising up against one another and kingdoms being over thrown. It’s hard to understand God’s goodness in the midst of such trauma. It’s important when processing to remember that humanity killing one another was never God’s intent. The Lord designed human relationships to be the place where we experience His love. He created us to give to one another, respect each other, support and nurture one another. The war and violence we read about and see present still today is the fallout of sin that goes against the beauty that the Lord created. God’s response to our brokenness is one of both justice and mercy. In justice He corrects the wrong of perpetrators, and in mercy offers healing to both victim and perpetrator through Jesus suffering on the cross.
When Jesus calls us to not store up treasure on earth, He invites us to turn our eyes to the Lord’s holiness. When we set our sights on heaven, we are reminded of Gods plan for humanity to be in full union with Him. That conviction should inspire us to shape our lives around the justice and mercy of our Savior, so that in the midst of violence we may be conduits of freedom. In our interactions with others, let us be mindful of the dignity with which God created each person, and remember that they are the beloved of the Lord. Let us be willing to fashion our lives around representing the goodness of God to one another, and store up treasure in heaven by helping others enter the kingdom of God.