Day 143: The anatomy of the evil plan (2 Chronicles 22-29)

Posted: August 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s like every good vs. evil movie ever made.

The villain of the story creates a wild, zany, evil plan, a diabolical concoction set to do something completely ludicrous (i.e. “take over the world,” “hold the world ransom,” or some other evil thing…). The black-hearted character spends time planning, scheming, doing his(or her!) own version of the stereotypical evil laugh (MWAHAHAHA!!!). Blueprints are created, minions are hired, ridiculous amounts of time, effort and money are spent in a lair of some sort. Stages of the plan are set, building up into the moment, the climax, the instant that will spell victory for our favorite bad guy.

At first, the plan starts to work. Little by little, the villain chips away, as the hero of the story unknowingly plays along in the dastardly plot. And just as it seems like the villain is going to steal victory away from the clutches of our good guy, something is revealed about the plan that the villain didn’t account for, the hero immediately realizes what is going on, the villain is suddenly busted, and all is lost. The good guy wins again – THE END! And the villain is left somewhere he would rather not be thinking about what he did (or didn’t do, in some cases), usually with a good, dramatic “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” thrown in for good measure.

This story may sound familiar because some form of it has been used in just about every form of dramatic media. But it’s also drawn from real life. One such schemer in the Bible was named Athaliah, and wow, did she ever fall into the old stereotypical villain trap! When Athaliah’s son, Ahazia, the king of Judah, dies in battle in chapter 22, Athaliah takes it upon herself to start killing off the rest of the royal family, in hopes of forcefully claiming the throne for herself. At first, the plan works, she believes the rest of the family is dead, and for seven years, Athaliah rules on the throne.

But what would a good story be without a wrench thrown into the works? Every story has to have a twist! What Athaliah disn’t know is that Jehosheba, when she heard that the crazy lady was going around killing her family, she hid one of her children, Joash, with a nurse in the temple of God. Jehosheba also just so happened to be the wife of the priest Jehoiada! Confused yet?

Anyway, eventually, Jehoiada eventually builds up the courage to develop his own plan, a plan that will eventually sneak Joash onto the throne while his mother isn’t looking. He recruits men, Levites, to shield Joash while he is moved to the temple, and there, they crown him and anoint him king. “Long live the king!” they shout, and this is where the story gets good. I think I’ll let the conclusion of the story come straight from the source.

When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and cheering the king, she went to them at the temple of the LORD. She looked, and there was the king, standing by his pillar at the entrance. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and singers with musical instruments were leading the praises. Then Athaliah tore her robes and shouted, “Treason! Treason!” Jehoiada the priest sent out the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops, and said to them: “Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest had said, “Do not put her to death at the temple of the LORD.” So they seized her as she reached the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and there they put her to death. -2 Chronicles 23:12-15

Well, that about sums it up, doesn’t it? A quick and violent end for our villain. It teaches us a pretty valuable lesson about fighting against God’s will. Eve the best evil plans go sour like a gallon of turned milk. Athaliah thought she had it made, God made sure His promise to David was kept, that an heir would always be on the throne as long as the people obeyed the LORD.

Athaliah’s greed and lust for power was her eventual downfall. We can learn a lot on how not to live by even looking briefly at the timeline of her life. God makes it very clear – if you go against Him, you will lose. There is no grey area here. You submit, you prosper. You rebel, you fail. It’s laid out so clearly, yet so many times we fail to make the connection. Instead of scheming up my own plans that will ultimately fail, leaning on God is the ultimate path to the movie’s happy ending. After all, nobody like the villain! The Good Guy always wins!

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