Influence of a Wife and Mother

Bible Reading: 2 Kings 8:7-15, 23-29; 9; 10:1-17; 2 Chronicles 21:19-20; 22:1-9

"There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife" (1 Kings 21:25; cf. 1 Kings 16:30-31).

"He (Jehoram) walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord" (2C 21:6). (His wife, Athaliah, was the daughter of Jezebel.)

"He (Ahaziah, son of Jehoram) too walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother (Athaliah) encouraged him in doing wrong. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father's death they became his advisers, to his undoing" (2C 22:3-4).

In a culture where women held very little importance or power, these evil women had a surprisingly strong influence on their husbands and children. King Ahab, who did more evil than anyone before him, was "urged on" by his wife, Jezebel. Jezebel's daughter, Athaliah, followed in her mother's footsteps, encouraging her husband and son "in doing wrong." The offspring of Ahab and Jezebel became so corrupt that God ordained Jehu to destroy them through a great massacre (2K 9-10). Jezebel was thrown from a wall and literally trampled to pieces by horses (2K 9:37-37). Athaliah killed her own offspring so she could usurp the throne. After reigning for six years, she, too, was murdered.

What kind of influence do I have on my husband and children? Do I urge them to follow the Lord or my agenda? Do I encourage or frustrate them? Do I highlight their strengths or tirelessly point out their weaknesses? Am I willing to confront them, even at the risk of damaging our relationship, when their behavior has the potential of damaging their lives? Do I model the kind of behavior I expect from them? Do my choices and actions reflect the values that I desire to build in their lives? Does my example encourage them to love God and others, or to pursue passion, power and wealth?

Lord, help me to positively impact my family. Show me how I can build a spiritual heritage of love and godliness. In all my clumsy efforts and mistakes, make my love evident to my husband and each of my children. Let them see genuineness, not hypocrisy, in me. Teach me how to spur them on toward love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24). Fill me with gentle wisdom and courage when you want me to confront. Give me confidence and patience when you just want me to wait and allow you to work in their hearts the same way you work in mine, "not by pushing us around but by working within us, [your] Spirit deeply and gently within us" (Eph. 3:20 Msg). Make me aware of how I can help, not hinder, your refining process in their lives. Instead of passing down a legacy of evil, like Jezebel, let me hand down a sincere faith, like Eunice: "I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also" (2 Tim. 1:5).