hammer

Meet the Heroine–In the Shadow of Jezebel

Mesu Andrews Featured Articles 3 Comments

hammerTo meet the heroine of In the Shadow of Jezebel, we must unveil the “punchline” of the plot. (As with all biblical novels, if you’ve read the Bible, you know how this story ends!)

“But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed.”                                  2 Kings 11:2

The Big Picture

When Jehosheba rescued Baby Joash, she did more than save her brother’s son. She preserved God’s promise. Queen Athaliah’s killing spree was an attempt to nullify God’s Covenant with King David–a covenant made centuries before that echoed into eternity.

Princess Jehosheba’s single brave act:

  1. Saved her nephew
  2. Prepared the way for restored Yahweh worship in Judah
  3. And preserved the earthly lineage of Jesus Christ

But Scripture tells us nothing of Princess Jehosheba’s life before she saves Joash. Hello, fiction! What a joy to illustrate God’s Truth with a powerful and memorable story!

Meet Fictional Jehosheba

In the Shadow of Jezebel uses lots of nicknames. Jehosheba became Sheba, and Ahaziah became Hazi. Notice that Scripture tells us Sheba is King Jehoram’s daughter and sister of Prince Hazi, but it doesn’t say she is Queen Athaliah’s daughter. I’ve made the assumption (as have most scholars) that Sheba is NOT related to Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, Athaliah.

While forming the fictional Princess Sheba, I also asked myself these questions:

  • How is Sheba treated by King Jehoram–as the daughter of one of his secondary wives or concubines?
  • How is she treated by Jehoram’s favored wife, Queen Athaliah?
  • What is Sheba’s relationship with her brother, Prince Hazi?
  • Why does Sheba choose Hazi’s son to rescue from Athaliah’s murderous rampage?

If Sheba Was a Tool…

Imagine a well-stocked workshop full of every kind of tool: hammers, screwdrivers, drills, saws, etc. Let’s say we’re building a shed–as a metaphor for building lifelong relationships. We need all sorts of tools to build this shed, right? Each tool has a unique function.

Just as we wouldn’t try to build a shed with a single screwdriver, neither would we build all relationships by treating every person alike. Have you ever heard this saying:

If all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

As I asked the Lord to help me form Sheba’s fictional character, I began to realize…this young girl is a hammer (at least when the story begins)! And she believes everyone she meets is a nail.

Our young, beautiful Princess Sheba sees only the narrow view Athaliah allows her. Though not the queen’s daughter by birth, Sheba is chosen by Athaliah when her birth mother dies. Sheba is trained as a baal priestess–disciplined, intelligent, and an overachiever–like the daughter of Jezebel who raises her.

Nothing less than perfection would do, and Sheba has the bruises to prove it. Her smile can charm the humps off a camel, and her anger sends Judah’s guards to their knees.

Because Sheba’s known only abuse, she sees everyone as a potential abuser. Because she’s known only a palace of deceit, she sees everyone as a deceiver. Sheba, our hammer, treats everyone like a nail to be pounded into place. She learned from the best–Queen Athaliah, Jezebel’s daughter.

But What Happens When…

What happens when…she discovers her hammer is really a knife–and every time she swings it, she cuts herself and those around her?

What happens when…the God she once mocked displays undeniable power–and He offers her first true glimmer of hope?

What happens when…she must face her greatest fear–and somehow, somewhere, someway God is already there waiting?

Setting Aside Our Hammers

Too often I find myself–like Sheba–expecting future relationships to mirror past and present ones. Life makes me a hammer and all those I meet look like the nails of my present and past. It’s hard to trust when I’ve been repeatedly deceived. It’s tough to delegate when I’ve shared responsibility and am continually disappointed.

How can I set aside my hammer when my heart screams, “Watch out! They’re a nail! They’re a nail!”

Grace For Hammers and Nails

I can only set aside my hammer when I realize…I’M A NAIL TOO.

Yep, my sin nailed Jesus to that Cross. My human nature required God to provide His Only Begotten as the perfect Sacrifice.

“So the other disciples told [Thomas], ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.’A week later…[Jesus] said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’”     John 20:25-27

Without Jesus’s sacrifice, you and I would live in constant distrust, accusation, conniving, and competition. But because of His nails, we don’t have to be nails–or hammers. We can–and must–live by grace through faith in the One who commands us to stop doubting and believe.

Stop doubting Him. Stop doubting His ability to work in us. Stop doubting His ability to work in others.

Believe in Him. Believe that if He can change me, He can change you–and He can change others who seems unchangeable. Believe that grace can turn a whole bunch of nails into a loving Body of believers.

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Today’s Question:

  • Princess Sheba struggles with both, but which is more difficult for you…to stop doubting yourself or others?

Comments 3

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  1. Great question to ponder during quiet time this morning. Thank you for your transparency which in turn, encourages my transparency before The Lord. I truly enjoy your insight and also look forward to this next book! Blessings to you!

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