Summary: This Sermon is about Christian dealing with the ungodly and cruel behavior of other in their lives
"Ruthless People" (2 Kings 11:1-21)
-Reverend A. L. Torrence
Pastor of the Cross of Life Lutheran Church
Ruthless people, we all know some. We all know somebody that would go to any end to get what they want. We all know someone, who wouldn’t hesitate to lie, cheat, steal, and/or kill just to please their selfish desires.
We all know some ruthless people. They may not be as notorious as Huddan Hussein but they do their best to terrorize our lives. They may not be as infamous as Kangous Kahn, but we are afraid of what might happen if we are left alone in a room with them. They may not have gain as much press as Andrew Cunanun, Ted Bundy, and Timothy McVeigh, but their names still strike a cord of anger deep within us. We all know some ruthless people. They may be our relatives or an old high school rival. They may be our ex-husbands or our mother-in-law. Some of us work with them while others may live with them. Some of us gave birth to them while others where brought up by them. Ruthless people-- we all know some.
They may not be murderers but they have tried to murder our moral character. They may not be thieves but they have robbed us of our trust and confidence in people.
They seem to bring out the worse within us. They caused a faithful Moses to strike a rock in anger. They cause a powerful Elijah to pray for his own death. They made a peace loving Jesus turn over tables and chase out moneychangers. They caused a Christ-confessing Peter to lay down his religion and deny knowing Jesus. Ruthless people seem to bring out the worse within us. Stick and Stones may break our bones but the words that come from the mouths of ruthless people seem to kill us. They get on our last nerves and crawl under our skin. We hate the sound of their voices and try to avoid seeing their faces. Ruthless People -- we’ve watched them in action. We’ve watched them sleep their way to the top and step on any and everybody that got in their way. We’ve seen them break up marriages and destroy family households. We’ve seen them cause divisions and chase pastors out of the pulpit. Ruthless people -we all know some.
Our text gives us a brief story of another ruthless person. We are told that her name was Athaliah (meaning God is my affliction). She was a woman who gave ruthlessness a new meaning. Athaliah made JR. Ewing look like a little farm boy from Idaho. She made Erika Cain resemble the Virgin Mary. She put the ‘I’ in sin and gave wickedness the nickname – evil. She was every stepchild’s nightmare and every husband’s regret. Athaliah was the Queen of meanness.
She was Satan’s number one champion -- His employee of the month. No character in history would ever match her viciousness. Compared to Athaliah, Lady Macbeth had no ambition; the wicked witch of the west was just another fairy. Ebenezer Scrooge was sweet old man. And Dracula was just another chump in drag. Athaliah was the Queen of Meanness. She was ruthless. Not only would she take candy from a baby but also she would take a baby’s life. Not only would she stab you in your back but she would cut your throat in the process. She was definitely Jezebel’s daughter and Ahab’s offspring.
Her only friends were power and wealth. You see, power gave her comfort while wealth gave her security. Power gave her notoriety while wealth bought her friends. Power gave her ‘titles’ while wealth gave her influence. Athaliah let power and wealth rule her life.
She had it all but all that she had was still not enough. Her only ambition in life was to get to the Top and to stay there. However, with the success of gaining power came the fear of losing it. Athaliah lived her life in fear. She was afraid that everything she worked for would be taken away. She knew it was more difficult to keep wealth than it was to get it. She was fearful that her fame would wane and success would fade. She was fearful that a new young leader would bring about new ideas and attract new people.
She was afraid that new leadership would threaten her influence and change things in her environment.
Athaliah was much like us – shrewd, cunning, ambitious, and ruthless. She was much like ‘Kenneth Star’ and the Conservative Right digging up dirt just to get control over congress. She was much like the mass media and entertainment industry that broadcast sex and violence just to get good ratings and reviews. She was much like our local drug dealer who sells dope to pregnant women and children just to make a buck. Athaliah was much like some of our police officers that use excessive force just to experience the joys of power. She had the qualities of our racial hate groups who ‘scapegoat’ minorities for the ills of society. She was much like abusive husbands and vindictive wives who can’t get over old gripes and lay aside their bitterness. She is even like some of those in the church, trying to control policy and procedures and manipulate God’s people.