Lesson: King Josiah of Judah Part #1

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The kings of israel Sunday School Bible Lessons for childrenThis lesson is Part 1 in the study of King Josiah.  It continues the study of Israel’s kings.  King Josiah is the last southern king who does what pleases the Lord.  His successors are wicked and are taken captive by Babylon.  The captivity of Judah follows on the heals of the Assyrians taking the Northern Kingdom captive (2 Kings 17:7-41).    Believers can find many applicable truths from God’s Word by studying the lives of His people during the reigns of Israel’s kings. A day is coming when God will judge the world because of wickedness (Isaiah 13:9,13 Micah 5:15, Zephaniah 1:14-18).
Believers like Josiah can live as salt and light in the wicked world that we are placed in.  Living a righteous life will not stop the day of God’s wrath but can make a difference in the lives affected by our obedience to Jesus.  As you teach this lesson students will discover that God’s Word can transform their lives when they respond with  repentant and obedient hearts.
This Bible study is only a guide.  Be sure to modify the lesson to the needs of your students. Click here to see all the Bible lessons in this series.

Bible Story Title: King Josiah Part #1
Bible Passage:  2 Kings 22, 2 Chronicles 34:1-29)
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List:  Bibles, Building blocks(cardboard bricks, Legos, wooden blocks or whatever you have available to build for learning activity #1), visuals to help teach the lesson, lesson notes, pencils/pens
Learning Goal:  Students will learn that God is pleased when a person hears God’s Word and responds with a humble, obedient heart.
Learning Activity #1:  Divide class into two teams.  Play a relay race.  (Line team one up on one side of the room.  When you give the signal to begin one student runs to the other side of the room where the blocks are laying and they take one block and place it on the ground.  They run back and tag the next student.  Let them race for 1 minute to build a structure as high as they can.  The second team has one minute to take apart the structure one block at a time.  The building team gets a turn to rebuild to any blocks left and continue to build for 30 seconds this time.  The second team gets 30 seconds to remove blocks (one at a time).  The first team gets to build again for 15 seconds and then the second team gets their 15 seconds to remove the blocks (one at a time).  Use this activity to review the history of idolatry that the kings of Israel have participated in.  A wicked king would reign and build up altars and create objects so the people would worship idols.  A righteous king would reign and use his reign to tear down and destroy the wicked altars and idols.  A wicked king would come back into power and rebuild the evil places of worship and then another good king would tear them down. Allow students to recall kings that were wicked and built altars to idols and kings that tore down the altars.  God’s people were in a cycle of sin that would eventually lead them to be captives in a foreign land as a result of their wickedness to God and His punishment for their sin.
Learning Activity #2: Sing Trust and Obey (Teach the lyrics if this is an unfamiliar hymn)
Learning Activity #3:  Create notes for the students to follow along with as you teach the lesson.  For each principle about God’s Word leave a blank for the students to fill in as you come to it. (A simpler preparation is to just write the principles on the board or a large sheet of paper with blanks that can be filled in by the students.)
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse:  2 Kings 22:19 “Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and this people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in My presence, I have heard you declares the LORD.”

Bible Lesson:  King Josiah

The Book that we hold in our hands should be our most treasured possession.  This Book is alive.  What does it mean when I say that?  The Bible is the Word of God.  Let’s read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  The Bible is God’s words to each of us.  When we read them His Holy Spirit instructs us and teaches us what He wants us to learn.
Listen to what Jesus said about God’s Word:  “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:4
The lessons we have been studying about Israel’s kings show us how desperately evil man can be when they do not live a life that obeys God’s Word.  Only when a person makes the study of God’s word as important to his/her daily life as we make eating meals, can we truly know how God’s Word feeds us and strengthens us.
Let’s turn to 2 Kings 22.  In our building block activity we likened the building up to the kings that built altars to worship false gods and the tearing down as the kings who came into power and removed the wickedness from the kingdom.  Hezekiah used his reign to make reforms and turn the hearts of the people back to God.  Manasseh his son started out as a very wicked king.  Review some of the evil things he did during his reign (2 Kings 21).  He repented of his wickedness before God and God forgave him.  He worked to remove the wicked idolatrous things he had built during his reign (2 Chronicles 33:12-20).  After Manasseh’s death his son Amon was a wicked king who worshiped idols and only reigned for 2 years.
If you were living during this time in history what do you think life would be like for you? (Allow responses) How do you think people could worship a false god by throwing their own child into a pit of fire as an offering to that god?
Sin darkens the hearts of every man, woman, boy and girl.  Sin causes people to do the most wicked things. (Ephesians 4:17-19) Without the One True God ruling over our lives we are all capable of doing wicked things.  (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 7:17-24)
Let’s jump right back into the building, un-building, building, un-building cycle we have been seeing in our study.  Read 2 Chronicles 34:1-2.
As we study about King Josiah we are going to learn unchangeable truths about the Word of God.
Josiah became a king when he was 8 years old.  That is very close to how old your are right now.  What kind of young man was Josiah?  (Godly, did what was right in God’s eyes)

1.  God’s Word is Light.

As a young king someone who was caring for him must have had a godly influence in his life. (Some Bible Scholars believe the high priest Hilkiah was the one who taught Josiah and influenced his life.)   Someone was sharing the Word of God with Josiah so that he would know how to live a life that pleases God.  A life that pleases God doesn’t happen by accident.  Our natural instincts lead us to live selfish, wicked lives.
God’s Word lights our path.  When we hear God’s Word and obey it causes us to seek Him and He uses His Word to give us more light to see Him more clearly.  (Psalm 119:105) Read 2 Chronicles 34:3a (the first part of the verse).  How old is Josiah at this point?  (16 years) Who did Josiah seek?  (The God of his father David)  The Godly influence from Josiah’s younger years affected him and caused him to seek the Lord.  

  • When God puts someone in your life as a Godly influence He is giving you light so that you will seek Him.  No one can come to Jesus unless God draws him.  (John 6:44, 65) When God reveals His Light (the Truth of His Word) through Godly influences He is drawing (calling) you to seek Him.  Will you choose to seek Him and follow Him?

2.  God’s Word cleanses.  (Psalm 119:9-11)

Let’s read the second half of verse 3-4.  How old is Josiah now?  (20) It has been four years since he began to seek the Lord.  Over that time period Josiah could see that the way God’s people were living did not represent the God he was following.
Once again we see a Godly king tearing down the wicked altars and carved idols that the people worshiped false gods with.  Josiah wanted to purge (cleanse) the kingdom of the wickedness that did not please God.

  • As we read God’s Word He shows us things that we are doing in our lives that don’t reflect who He is.  When we hear and obey God’s Word He cleanses us and enables us to stop doing the things that don’t please Him.   What sinful habit is God showing you that you need to get rid of in your life?

3.  God’s Word is Eternal.  (2 Kings 22:3-10)

Read 2 Kings 22:3.  How old is Josiah?  (8+18=26)  The next thing that we learn about King Josiah’s reign is that he sends Hilkiah to hire men to repair the temple.  While the temple was being repaired Hilkiah found the Book of the Law. (Many believe it was the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch) or just the Book of Deuteronomy) Deuteronomy 31:26 “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God.  There it will remain as a witness against you.”  (It is possible that when Solomon had the temple built the Book of the Law was placed in the cornerstone of the temple.)
If Hilkiah ‘found’ the Book of the Law it makes us realize that in many ways God’s people had ‘lost’ the Book of the Law.  Their lives did not reflect the life that God told them to live.  This discovery of Hilkiah’s is similar to many people’s lives today.  They have a copy of God’s Word and it’s not actually lost.  It’s right where they left it collecting dust because it is never opened and studied.
Whether the Bible is collecting dust on a shelf or not, God’s Word is eternal.  (Psalm 119:89, 160, Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:23-25)  If we choose not to read God’s Word it doesn’t change the fact that what God has spoken in His Word will not come to pass.

  • Where can your Bible be found?  Is it collecting dust or is it something you pick up and read and study every day?

4.  God’s Word requires a response.  (2 Kings 22:11-20, 2 Chronicles 34:19-28)

Read 2 Kings 22:11.  How did Josiah respond when he heard God’s Word read?  (He humbled himself-tore his robes)  Read  verse 13.  What did he tell Hilkiah and the other attendants to do? (Inquire of the Lord about what is written in this Book) Why did Josiah think that God was angry with His people?  (Because they had not obeyed His Words and lived according to His laws)
Read verse 15.  What did Huldah the prophetess say God was going to do?  (Bring disaster upon Judah because God’s people were disobeying His Word)
Josiah is spared of God’s coming punishment because he responded with a humble heart when he heard the Words of God.  Let’s read what God says about Josiah response in verses 18-20.
How these final verses apply to you and me:

  • No one is without excuse before God.  All men, women, boys and girls are under God’s judgment (punishment) because of sin.  (Romans 1:18-20, 3:23, Ephesians 2:1-3)
  • God has made a way for men, women, boys and girls to be saved.  He sent His sinless Son Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of all.  He was buried and three days later God raised Him from the dead.  As Josiah heard and believed God’s Words it’s the same for us today.  If we hear and believe that Jesus is the Savior for our sins we are rescued from the punishment of our sins.

As we prepare to close in prayer what is your response to our study of God’s Word?  What changes has He shown you that you need to make in your life?  Will you take this time that we are still before Him and talk to Him about what He has shown you?  If you have not been saved please speak to us after we pray and we can show you from the Scriptures how you can know that your sins are forgiven by faith in Jesus.
Close in prayer.
Review Questions:
(Choose your students’ favorite review game to answer the questions from this lesson)

  1. How old was Josiah when he became king? (8)
  2. When did Josiah begin to seek God? (16)
  3. Name a principle of God’s Word from this lesson on Josiah.
  4. How did Josiah respond when he heard God’s Word read?  (Tore his clothes, sent Hilkiah to find out what was written)
  5. Why was Josiah spared from God’s coming punishment?  (He had a humble responsive heart to God’s Word)
  6. What new thing did you learn from our lesson today?
  7. How are you going to put into practice what you learned?
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