Bible Lesson: Josiah helps Judah return to God's Word

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Bible Lesson - Josiah helps Judah return to God's Word
The following lesson was adapted to meet the needs of a small group of students ranging from age 5-11.  Students discover how the Bible helps people to know God and how to live a life that pleases Him.
Bible Story: Josiah helps Judah return to God’s Word
Scripture:  2 Chronicles 34-35
Target Age Group: Age 5 – 11 (U.S. K – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
Supply List:  Bibles, small scrolls with memory verse printed on it for memory verse activity printed on them, pens, pencils
Learning Goal:  Students will learn that the Bible helps people to know who God is and how they should live a life that pleases Him.
Learning Activity #1:  Activity pages
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse:  Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;  He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”
Memory Verse Activity:  In advance make small scrolls (enough for each student) with the memory verse printed inside and tie with ribbon or yarn.  Before students arrive hide the scrolls in the class room.  When it is time to start the Bible lesson have the students search for the scrolls.  Recite the memory verse together.

Bible Lesson:  Josiah helps Judah return to God’s Word

(Begin with prayer)
Direct the students to hunt for the hidden scrolls and return to their seats.  Open the scrolls together and recite the memory verse.  Have the students put the scrolls away until after the lesson and begin the Bible lesson.
Have you ever lost something that was very special to you?  How did you feel when you realized that you had lost it?  Did you ever find it?  How did you feel when you found it?
If you or I lost our Bible (and we only owned one) how would we feel?  Would we search and search for it until we found it or would we just forget about it if we could not find it?
God’s Word is a very special gift that He has given to us.  The Bible helps us learn who God is what He has done and how we should live our lives to please Him.
We live in a time where if we lost our only Bible we could use our computers and read God’s Word on it.  We can turn on our radios and listen to Bible teachers tell us what the Bible says.  We can come to church and listen to our pastors teach us from God’s Word.
What if you or I only had the one Bible that we lost and couldn’t find and decided no longer to worry about having lost it?  In Psalm 119:11 (NIV) it says:  “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” If your Bible is hidden under your bed and not hidden in your heart what do you think your attitudes and actions at home and school will be like?
God’s Word helps us to know what pleases God and what doesn’t.  Let’s open our Bibles to 2 Chronicles 34 and begin our lesson for today.
Let’s read verse 1.  How old was Josiah when he became king?  (8)
God’s people had been given His laws and promises and were told that if they obeyed His laws they would be blessed.  If they disobeyed His laws they would be punished.
God’s people the Israelites were divided into 2 kingdoms.  The northern kingdom was called Israel and the southern kingdom was called Judah.  None of the kings in the northern kingdom pleased God.  They were wicked and led the people in their kingdom to sin against God.  God must punish sin.  After many years of sending prophets to warn the people in the northern kingdom to turn from their sin and be rescued from punishment the people still chose to sin against God.  He kept His promise to punish disobedience and the northern kingdom was attacked by the country Assyria and the people that survived were taken as prisoners to Assyria.
The southern kingdom had many good kings and some wicked kings.  When the good kings were ruling God’s people they helped them to do what pleased God.  When the wicked kings were leading the people they led the people to do sinful things against God.  The wicked kings created idols for the people to worship and turned away from obeying God’s laws.
When Josiah became king at 8 years old the southern kingdom was in a very bad situation.  The kings before him were wicked and God’s people were not worshiping the True God according to His laws.  They were worshiping false gods.  God blesses obedience to His Word.  What does God do when people disobey?  He must punish them.
Josiah did what was right in the sight of the LORD.  The Bible says that he walked in the ways of his father David.  This doesn’t mean that David was his father, (Amon was his father) but it means he is from his family (great 14x grandfather, show a list of Judah’s kings).  David was a good king who was a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22)
When Josiah was 16 he began to seek the Lord.  (1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.) When Josiah began to seek the Lord he could see that Judah and God’s city Jerusalem were not in a condition that pleases God.  When Josiah was 20 he began to clean up the wickedness that was everywhere.  He had all the carved statues that God’s people were worshiping crushed into powder and scattered it over the graves of those who had worshiped the statues.  Not only did Josiah clean up Jerusalem he traveled to other cities where God’s people were worshiping false gods and destroyed the altars and carved statues.
When Josiah was 26 he sent men to repair the temple.  While the men were cleaning up the temple and repairing it Hilkiah the high priest found the Book of the Law.  He gave it to a man named Shaphan who took the Book to King Josiah.
Shaphan began to read the Book of the Law to Josiah.  When he heard the words he tore his clothes.  He knew that God’s people had not obeyed His laws and would face great punishment for their sin.
Josiah knew that God was very angry with the wickedness of His people.  Josiah sent Hilkiah and others to a prophetess named Huldah to find out what God was going to do.
(If time permits and you have students who can, read what Huldah said in 2 Chr. 34:23-28.)
Huldah the prophetess said that God was going to bring disaster upon the people and the land because they turned away from Him and became very wicked.  God was not going to punish Josiah because his heart was tender and he humbled himself before God and wept when he realized how wicked he and God’s people had been.  God said that Josiah would die in peace and would not see the disaster God was going to send on the land and the people.
Josiah wanted to help God’s people turn away from sin and live lives that please Him.  He gathered the people and read God’s law to them.  Josiah made a promise (covenant) before the Lord to walk after Him and keep His commandments with all his heart and with all his soul.  He made all the people gathered before him join him and keep the promise to obey God’s law. While Josiah was king, God’s people obeyed God’s law.
Because God’s people had turned away from Him they were not obeying His laws and had not celebrated Passover like God told them to.  Josiah helped God’s people obey His laws by celebrating Passover exactly as God had commanded in the Book of the Law (Exodus 13).
God’s people were told to celebrate Passover so they would never forget that they were slaves in Egypt.  When it was time for God to rescue His people He told them to put blood from a lamb on the outside of their door frames.  When the LORD passed through the land, whoever didn’t have blood on the outside door frame the firstborn son would die.  All who had the blood on their doorposts were safe.  On that night God rescued His people and led them out of Egypt.
God wanted His people to celebrate Passover every year so they would remember how once they were slaves in Egypt and God rescued them.  They may not have understood but each time they celebrated how God rescued His people many years ago, He was preparing them for His promised Savior.  We know that Jesus is God’s promised Savior who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Jesus shed His blood so all who believe in Him are rescued from the punishment of sin.
Josiah was king for 31 years and then he died.  Josiah was the southern kingdom’s last good king.  He did what pleased God.  He helped God’s people to turn away from wickedness and obey His laws.    
As we learned from Josiah’s life in God’s word we can follow his example.  First, we need to read His Word.  Thankfully we all have access to a Bible.  It’s not hidden or lost.  As we read God’s word we need to obey His Word.  Second, as we obey His Word we too can help others know what God’s word says.  We can share the Good News that Jesus died on the cross for sins, was buried and rose again.  
God used Josiah to make a difference in the lives of His people.  God can use us to help others and make a difference in the world that He has placed us in.
Let’s pray.  Father, thank you that you have given us Your Word so we can know You and how to live a life that pleases You.  Help us to read and study the Bible so we can love you more and obey you.  Give us the strength to help others by sharing the Good News and helping others know what your Bible says.  In Jesus Name, Amen.
Review Questions:

  1. How old was Josiah when he became king? (8)
  2. What was the condition of God’s city and His people? (The land was filled with carved statues and altars that worshiped false gods)
  3. How did Josiah clean up the land?  (The carved statues and altars were destroyed and the dust was scattered over the graves of those who worshiped them)
  4. What did Hilkiah find when the temple was being repaired? (The Book of the Law)
  5. When Josiah heard the Book of the Law read what did he do? (He tore his clothes, sent Hilkiah to Huldah to seek God’s instructions)
  6. How did Josiah help God’s people? (Answers will vary-He helped the people obey God’s law)
  7. (Personal not to be answered out loud) Where is God’s word hidden for you?  Are you hiding it in your heart by reading it and studying it? Or is it hidden under your bed?

Image courtesy of Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media

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