Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about King Josiah to teach kids about the importance of studying the Bible.
Needed: Bibles, strips of paper with clues written on them, construction paper, hole punches, ribbon, and craft supplies
Intro Game 1: The Case of the Missing Bible
Prepare a clue hunt around the church or your meeting area. The clues can be strips of paper hidden in a room. The clue on each strip of paper gives the students a hint as to where to find the next strip of paper. The last clue should lead the students to your Bible. Introduce the clue hunt by telling students that you left your Bible somewhere and give them the first clue.
Intro Game 2: Follow the Leader
The teacher chooses a Leader. Students must follow the Leader in every way, going where they go and doing what they do. Play for a specified amount of time and then, choose a new Leader. Play until everyone has had a chance to be Leader or until students lose interest. After the game, explain that today’s lesson is about why we should study the Bible. When we study the Bible, we are learning how to play Follow the Leader. God and Jesus are our Leaders, and the Bible tells us everything we need to know to follow Them. The Bible tells us how we can live the way Jesus lived and how we can do the things that God is happy for us to do.
Say, We’ve been reading and learning about the kings and prophets of Israel. Remember that the people of Israel actually had two kingdoms, Judah and the new country of Israel, because the country of Israel had split when King Solomon’s son, King Rehoboam, wanted to make the people work too hard.
Usually, both kingdoms had bad kings who didn’t believe in God and didn’t do the right things God wanted them to do. They believed in fake gods and did wrong things. But once in a while, there would be a good king who loved God and did the right things. One of those good kings was King Hezekiah, whom we learned about last time. His great-grandson, King Josiah, was another good king.
(Read 2 Kings 22-23:7 with your students, or read the following story as a summary.)
Josiah became king of Judah when he was only eight years old, and he followed God’s rules exactly right.
How would you like to be the king or queen when you’re only eight years old?
When Josiah grew up, he saw that God’s Temple church was starting to fall apart because no one was taking very good care of it. He ordered the priests to pay workers to fix the Temple church.
Why do you think King Josiah wanted the Temple church to be fixed and not fall apart? (Josiah wanted the Temple to be fixed so that people could go there and worship God.)
While they were cleaning and fixing the Temple church, Hilkiah the priest found the Bible. No one had seen the Bible for a very long time because the priests and kings that came before hadn’t been following the Bible. They didn’t believe in God or follow His rules, and so they put the Bible away and forgot about it. No one knew where it was until they started cleaning and fixing the Temple. Then, the priest, Hilkiah, found it again.
Hilkiah gave it to King Josiah, and when King Josiah read it, he was afraid, and he was sad.
Why do you think King Josiah would be afraid and sad when he read the Bible?
King Josiah was afraid and sad because when he read the Bible, he saw what God’s rules were and he knew that people had not been following God’s rules. Instead of believing in and worshipping only God, most people believed in fake gods and did the wrong things that God didn’t want them to do. Josiah was afraid that God was going to punish the people for not believing in Him and following His rules.
So, King Josiah sent Hilkiah the priest and his servants to the woman prophet, Huldah, to ask her what they should do. Huldah said, “God is going to punish the Israelites for not believing in God or following His rules. But because King Josiah does believe in God and listens to God’s rules, then God will wait until after King Josiah is dead. Then, He will let another country conquer Judah as a punishment to them.”
Hilkiah, the priest, told King Josiah everything Huldah said. Then, Josiah made it a rule in Judah that people could only believe in and worship the real God. He wouldn’t let anyone worship the fake gods anymore, and he made everyone follow God’s rules in the Bible.
The Bible tells us that King Josiah was one of the greatest kings there ever was because of how much he loved God and did the right things that God wanted him to do.
Do you all love God?
Do you want to do the right things that God wants you to do?
Where can you find God’s rules for what He wants you to do? (In the Bible.)
God gave us the Bible so that we would know how much He loves us and so that we would know what His rules are. If we love God and are careful to follow His rules in the Bible, then God will be happy with us, just like He was happy with King Josiah.
Craft: Devotion Diaries
Let children use construction paper, hole punches, ribbon, and craft supplies to make their own Devotion Diaries. Students will tie construction paper into a booklet with ribbon and then, decorate the covers with markers, stickers, or whatever else you have available. Encourage students to take their booklets home and record Bible verses, prayers, and important things they learn about God in them.
Game: Sword Drill
Give each student a Bible. Then, call out the name of one of the books of the Bible. The student who finds that book first wins. To make it a little more difficult, you can call out the chapter and verse of a book or the name of a Biblical person or event.
Remind students how important it is to read and study the Bible on their own so that they can know it well.
Father God, thank You for giving us Your words in the Bible. Help us to read the Bible and study it and follow it so that we can serve You the best we can, just like King Josiah. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Kings and Prophets.