Lessons from Athaliah on Seeking Godly Counsel

Athaliah was the daughter of Queen Jezebel and King Ahab. They were the monarchs that rejected God and introduced the worship of a god called Baal in Israel- even going so far as to kill the majority of God's prophets. 

After lots of shuffling of monarchs, when they died, Athaliah's son (Ahaziah) became king. However, the Bible says that:

"He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother advised him to do wickedly. Therefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab; for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction " (2nd Chronicles 22:3-4)

Athaliah, therefore, has much to teach us on the importance of seeking godly counsel. Prefer to listen rather than read? No problem, I've got you covered! Simply press play on the audio below:

The Bible contains many scriptures about the importance of seeking counsel and instruction from others. My personal favourite is "without counsel plans go awry, but in a multitude of counselors, they are established" (Proverbs 15:22). However there are other scriptures that confirm this as well, such as:

  • Proverbs 12:15 (The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise)
  • Proverbs 19:20 (Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days)
  • Proverbs 4:13 (Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life)

So we see that, according to those scriptures, seeking counsel has positive consequences such making us successful, wise and prolonging our lives. But Athaliah's advice had the direct opposite effect for her son. Let's explore why:

#1 Athaliah did not give godly advice

2nd Chronicles 22:3 says Athaliah's son, Ahaziah, "walked in the ways of the house of Ahab" upon her advice. This clearly shows that her advice was not godly. It was based on the opinions of man and the culture of the time, when the Word of God clearly tells us not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). This shows us that if and when we ever need to seek counsel, we need to make sure that it is coming from somebody godly. This goes deeper than just seeking Christian advice, though, it also means someone:

  • Who is willing to lay aside their opinion of what the situation calls for if it does not line up with scripture or what is right
  • Whose primary concern is your spiritual well-being and so will only instruct you in the way of the Lord, even if it goes against what you want to do/hear
  • Who is willing to prayerfully consider your situation in order to speak, as an oracle of God, into your life

#2 Athaliah did not learn from the past

As previously mentioned, Athaliah's parents came to very violent ends as a result of their idolatry (Jezebel, for example, was literally thrown from a tower and then her corpse was eaten by dogs!). Both deaths were also both in line with prophesies that were given through God's prophets; yet Athaliah still somehow did not realise that they were not the best examples to follow. She therefore clearly shows us that, when we are seeking to be mentored, we need to make sure that we are following the advice and example of someone who:

  • Has already done what it is that we are seeking to do successfully or
  • Failed at it and so can tell us what not to do

#3 Athaliah was not willing to break out of her comfort zone

As discussed when studying Jochebed, our breakthroughs tend to lie on the other side of risk. Although Athaliah saw the consequences of her parents' idolatry it was probably easier for her to stick to what she knew, rather than worshiping God (who, to her, was a foreign god). The issue with that is that her unwillingness to break free of her comfort zone also led to her son's destruction- and later her own (2nd Chronicles 23). This shows that, just because the counsel is godly, it may not always be easy to carry out. In fact, it may be counter-intuitive, challenging and/or risky- causing us to have to lean on God in order to change. However, the good news is that, if it truly has God's backing, we will succeed.

So what about you, lovely? How do you make your decisions? Whose advice do you seek and why? Does their counsel line up with the afore-mentioned markers of good advice (i.e. godly, rooted in experience and requiring you to grow both personally and spiritually)? Or do they always seem to steer you wrong like Athaliah? If it's the former- great! But if it's the latter, I would strongly urge you to consider doing something about your circle of influence. From personal experience, I know that this can be painful, but I also know that peace and prosperity (in so many areas) will be waiting for you on the other side.