Josiah to the Fall of Judah

It's Time to Grow Lesson 8   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Warning Signs
Yellow Construction Paper
Black Markers or Crayons
1. Give each student a sheet of yellow construction paper, a black marker or crayon, and a pair of scissors.
2. Demonstrate how to make the common sign for "warning." It is a yellow triangle with a bold black boarder and a bold exclamation point in the center (Do an Internet search for "warning sign" to see several examples.)
3. Let the students make their own warning signs.
ASK: Why do people put up warning signs? (To protect people and warn them of possible danger)
ASK: What might happen if someone ignored a warning sign? (They could get seriously hurt or even killed!)
4. Transition to the Bible lesson.
In our lesson today, we will see how God patiently sent Judah several warnings. Some of Judah's kings listened to God's warnings, but many did not. When God's people chose to ignore God's warnings, they suffered the miserable consequences of divine judgment.
Memory Verses
2 Chronicles 36:15–16 KJV 1900
And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.


What are warning signs for? Why would something have a warning sign or label?
I’m going to show you a few things that you may find at home and you tell me by lifting up your signs if it should have a warning or not. Signs up for a warning and down if it doesn’t need one
Show items, let the kids say why it would need the warning.
I am going to teach the lesson and anytime you hear a warning. without saying anything just raise your signs.
ASK: What country took Judah into captivity? (Babylon.)
Babylon eventually took Judah into captivity. Babylon controlled all the land for miles and miles around Judah. Judah was like a little island surrounded by the Babylonian Empire. But Babylon could not touch Judah until God let them. As long as Judah remained true to God, it would not be overrun by Babylon.
Israel's last good king will help us see the patience and love God showed His people.

Hezekiah to Josiah

A godly king would reign on the throne of Judah and lead the people to worship the Lord God, Then an ungodly king would bring idol worship back and ignore the commands of the Lord. That was the pattern for the kings who ruled in Judah.
After King Hezekiah came King Manasseh. King Manasseh began his reign when he was only twelve years old, and he reigned for fifty-five years!
2 Chronicles 33:2 KJV 1900
But did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.
(Hang your head and sigh.) That's not a very good report. God actually allowed King Manasseh himself to be captured and carried away by the king of Assyria. Then Manasseh did something kings don't normally do.
King Manasseh learned that God was in charge. When he returned to Judah and resumed the throne, he got rid of the foreign idols and repaired the altar of the Lord God.
After his death, King Manasseh's son, Amon, took the throne. Let's see how he did.
2 Chronicles 33:22–24 KJV 1900
But he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; And humbled not himself before the Lord, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more. And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house.

Josiah’s Reign

And that brings us to Amon's son, Josiah. Josiah was different from his father and grandfather.
2 Chronicles 34:1–2 KJV 1900
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
(Lead your class in applauding Josiah.) Finally, a godly king ruled Judah again! The Lord praised King Josiah for his faithfulness.
ASK: What was unique about Josiah? (He was only eight years old when he began his reign.)
Just like King Joash, Josiah was very young when he came to the throne. But just because he was young, doesn't mean he couldn't please the Lord.
When King Josiah was about sixteen years old, he really began to seek the Lord God. When he was twenty years old, Josiah got rid of all the idols in the land.
He tore down the high places of worship to false gods and the altars to Baal. The Bible says he ground them into dust! He completely destroyed idol worship!
Then Josiah set his heart on repairing and cleaning the temple. After the wickedness of King Manasseh and King Amon, the temple had been broken and neglected.
One day as the men worked on the temple, the priest Hilkiah went into the temple treasury to get the money to pay the workers. He found something hidden. It was a scroll. Hilkiah handed it to the scribe, who took it to the king.
"Your majesty," the scribe began. "The builders are diligently doing all you commanded. They have been paid for their work with the money brought into the temple treasury. While we were bringing out the money, we came across this book “Please read some of it to me," said Josiah.
Perhaps the scribe read from the book of Deuteronomy. We don't exactly know what section of the Law the scribe read. Whatever he read, it moved King Josiah to tears.
2 Chronicles 34:19 KJV 1900
And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
ASK: What was the king showing by tearing his clothes? (He was very upset.)
Josiah's heart was convicted! He was saddened by the wicked things the nation of Judah had already done and by the things they had failed to do! He was probably also fearful of the things God would do if the nation didn't turn their hearts back to God.
God had sent Josiah a big warning! God sent the warning through the book of the Law. God sends you warnings from His Word too. If our hearts are tender, like Josiah's heart, we will hear the warning and make changes in our attitudes and behaviors.
Josiah sought counsel so he could understand the Word of the Lord. He wanted to know what God was going to do to His people because of their disobedience. He sent some men to Huldah, a woman through whom God gave His messages to His people.
God said, "l will bring trouble on the people living here just like it says in the book of the Law. I will bring terrible things because My people left Me and worshiped other gods. I will pour out My anger on My people, and no one will be able to stop Me.”
God then told the messengers to go back to King Josiah and tell him that because he showed sorrow for the sin, God would not bring terrible things on His people until after Josiah had died. Josiah must have been glad that God was showing kindness to him.
Josiah was a godly king. He listened to the Lord. He followed His commands. He got rid of the idol worship and led the nation in following the Lord. King Josiah observed the Passover too. He ordered the priests to put the ark of the covenant into the temple and to prepare the priests for serving God in the temple.
Josiah gave the Israelites thirty thousand sheep and goats for their passover sacrifices. He also gave the people three thousand cattle for burnt offerings. By giving away so many animals, King Josiah showed that celebrating Passover and worshiping God were very important.

The Fall of Judah

In an attempt to keep the city of Judah safe from the Egyptian invaders, King Josiah led Judah into battle. Josiah had no instructions from the Lord to go into battle, but he went anyway, disguised as a plain soldier. He was shot by an arrow and died later. The whole nation mourned greatly for godly King Josiah.
In the next twenty-two years, Judah had four kings. Jehoahaz was the son of
Josiah. He reigned for only three months! He was carried away captive by the Egyptian army. Then his brother, Jehoiakim, took the throne. He was an evil king, and God allowed him to be carried away in chains by the Babylonians! After Jehoiakim came Jehoiachin. He reigned for only three months also! Again, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon captured and carried him away!
Zedekiah was the last king of Judah. He was evil too. God sent a warning to Zedekiah through the prophet Jeremiah.
2 Chronicles 36:12–14 KJV 1900
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord. And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel. Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
ASK: What was Zedekiah's response to God's warning? (He hardened his heart. He would not humble himself.) READ: 2 Chronicles 36:19, 20.
ASK: What was the consequence of ignoring God's warning? (The Babylonians burned the temple and palaces, broke down the walls, destroyed everything, and either killed or carried the people away captive.)
So the king of Babylon knocked down Jerusalem's walls, took the people of Judah captive, and burned their temple. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon even took some of the gold and treasures of God's house and carried them to Babylon too.
God's people would be in captivity for seventy years for being disobedient to Him.
Our memory verses are from the end of 2 Chronicles. They are a good summary of what happened to Judah. God warned them, but they mocked God and rejected His warnings. God is patient. God tried again and again to turn the peoples' hearts back to Him. God is also pure and holy. He cannot tolerate outright rebellion. He must punish sin.
King Josiah learned the importance of reading God's Word and obeying the Lord. God wants us to read His Word too. As we do, God will show us the sins in our lives. He will also teach us about Himself and His wonderful love for us, especially the love He showed in sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.
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