“You’ll be safe with Noah,” Della assured as her shaky hands adjusted the cap of the veil on Carrie’s strawberry-blonde head.
Carrie looked at her aged mother. If she didn’t know better, she would have guessed Della to be nearly seventy. Her gray eyes were markedly lined with age and worries, and in them she wore only the expression of doubt and regret. Her once brilliantly red hair had dimmed many years ago and was all nearly gray by now. Della Nelson was only forty-three years old.
“But what about you guys?” Have you heard anything?” Carrie whispered.
“I think we’ve lost him for now,” Della answered. “Jack sent Tony to Chicago to follow up on a lead, but that’s all we know.”
—from Book 1 of the Caselli Family Series, The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise© 2010, 2017 Ta`Mara Hanscom.
This is part of a conversation that Carrie has with her mother shortly before marrying Noah Hansen. For many years Carrie and her mother, Della, and her half-sister Charise have been hiding for their lives from Della’s brother-in-law.
Della’s husband Jack and his son Tony have done their level best to keep their family safe. Carrie’s marriage to Noah, along with her resultant name change will keep Jack’s deranged brother from finding them—if only for a little while. In a desperate attempt to hide her identity, Carrie honors her mother’s request to keep the family secrets from her new husband, Noah Hansen.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 niv 1984
Poor Carrie. If only she had known that there is a vast difference between “honor” and “walking in the ways of her mother” she would have never deceived her husband.
The Scriptures tell us that King Ahaziah “walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother 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.” 2nd Chronicles 22:3-4 niv 1984 (See 2nd Chronicles 18-23 and 2nd Kings 8:16 – 2nd Kings 11 for the complete account.)
Carrie’s decision to deceive her husband will eventually be her undoing.
Like Carrie, I’m sure King Ahaziah thought he was doing what was right and honorable by falling in lock-step with his mother, but the account in Scripture says that it was his “undoing.”
“Honor your father and your mother…”
The fifth commandment is probably the most misunderstood commandment out of all ten of them!
In the house of Ahab, for instance, we find familial dysfunction that repeats itself down through the generations. King Ahab of Israel married Jezebel in order to make an alliance with the King of the Sidonians. Jezebel’s father, Ethbaal, was a king-priest, and required his family and national subjects to worship the deities he supported, and those were Baal and Asherah.
The worship of Baal and Asherah is just about as evil as anything you can imagine. Baal and Asherah worshippers often burned their children to death during sacrificial offerings.
Ahab knew that Jezebel didn’t worship Israel’s God, but he didn’t care. He built special temples for her worship, forsaking the God of his own people. Unfortunately Jezebel’s religion caught on and dragged the kingdom of Israel deep into sin.
Meanwhile, the kingdom of Judah was doing pretty good—up until King Jehoshaphat decided to form an alliance with Ahab and married his son, Jehoram, to Ahab’s and Jezebel’s daughter, Athalia. When Jehoshaphat died, Jehoram “put all his brothers to the sword.”
When Jehoram brought Athalia home to the palace, she influenced the worship of the false gods Baal and Asherah in Judah, the same as Jezebel had done in Israel. The Scriptures say that Jehoram “did evil in the eyes of the Lord,” and that when he passed away “it was to no one’s regret.” It was then that his youngest son, Ahaziah, assumed the throne.
Ahaziah’s mother had grown up watching the evil practices of Ahab and Jezebel, and apparently she’d learned very well. Athalia knew exactly how to advise Ahaziah, and she manipulated every situation possible. Ahaziah probably thought he was “honoring” his mother by listening to her advice and the counsel of her family members, but it eventually led to a bloody end for him.
King Ahaziah reigned only one year in Jerusalem and then was killed by a man out to destroy all the Baal worshippers he could find. After Ahaziah’s death the Scriptures report that “there was no one in the house of Ahaziah powerful enough to retain the kingdom.”… except, of course, for Athalia. When Athalia saw that her son was dead she decided to murder the royal sons (yes, her own grandsons!) of Judah in order to secure herself a place on the throne.
But the Scriptures say, “Honor your father and your mother.” That’s right. Honor is a good thing. But in that command the Lord God is NOT saying, “Follow in their ways.”
Webster’s dictionary defines honor like this: “high regard or great respect given.” Ahaziah could have given his mother honor by politely saying, “Mom, I love you but I refuse to worship your phony gods.” By “walking in her ways” Ahaziah broke the first two commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before Me; and 2) You shall not make for yourself an idol.
God’s intention within the Ten Commandments was never to put us into situations where we have to break commandments in order to keep commandments.
King Ahaziah had a half-sister, Jehosheba, who took Ahaziah’s baby son, Joash, and with the help of her husband, hid the baby away—saving his life and the Davidic royal line, preserving the way in which Jesus would come to us. When the little baby Joash was old enough, the priest, Jehoiada brought him out of hiding and made him king of Judah. Queen Athalia was put to death for her sins and “all the people of the land rejoiced. And the city was quiet, because Athaliah had been slain by the sword.” As it was with her son, Athaliah had brought so much destruction and grief into the kingdom of Judah that when she passed away it was “to no one’s regret.” As it is with any heartache or hardship, people are relieved when it’s been removed.
Honor your father and your mother. Honor is a very good thing. But remember, honor doesn’t necessarily mean that you walk in their ways.
© 2011, 2017 Ta`Mara Hanscom
Check out my books at www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com