For some reason, when I was a kid, Mom was intent on my memorizing the names of the Old Testament kings … in chronological order.
She had even drawn out a chart, on poster board, with
at the top.
And then 2 lines branching out, with
of the Judah kingdom on one side and
of the Israel kingdom on the other.
Plus a bunch more names were under each branch.
Some of the kings, I’d heard of before, and some of them … well, no one had ever heard of.
“PEKAHIAH” … I rest my case.
And then, right next to each name was a chess-piece drawing of a king:
So a guy like DAVID was a gold king (obviously),
AHAB was a green king (duh),
and JEHU was striped.
I think you get the picture.
And for a time, this poster somehow made its way into our bathroom. I’m guessing the theory being that I would learn names while brushing my teeth or combing my hair (which were both, sadly, rare occurrences).
But eventually, I did memorize the chart. Because, you see … there was a dollar bill waiting for me at the end of each list of kings.
(Ah, Bribes and the Bible, now there’s a book I could write—mostly from my own employment of this method as a parent.)
And at the end of all that memorizing, and of the receiving of my just rewards, I was surprised at just how much of the information I retained … especially from those images of gold, green, and stripes.
So that later, much later, when I’d hear stories about David (good king), I’d think, “Wait a minute, didn’t he do something inappropriate with Bathsheba? And didn’t he have a man killed? Are you kidding me?”
And I’d also ponder Manasseh (bad king) and say, “Hold on, that guy repented in jail. He should get some credit for that. Right?”
And then, one day much much later, it occurred to me. Maybe it would have been more accurate to have all of the kings colored in stripes.
Just like all of us … striped.
Looking forward to the day—with some Help—when we become gold.