The Shepherd’s Love - Lesson 42
Josiah and the Final Years of the Kingdom
2 Chronicles 34-36
Isaiah 45:3 or Phil. 2:10-11
God promises His chosen people a glorious future, but the realization of that comforting hope seems painfully distant. Although there are moments of brightness during the reigns of Josiah, the wheels set in motion during the final years of Hezekiah's reign and the succession of evil kings have made God's discipline inevitable. As a grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die, so Judah must "die" as a nation before God can restore a holy people for Himself." 2 Chron. 32:7
Thank You, Father, for the cross through which we have died to sin and its power. Thank You for raising us up to a new life and a living hope through Christ. Keep us walking in the light of Your wonderful hope and promises. We love You, precious Lord and King!
1. Read 2 Chronicles 34.
A. Describe Josiah's attitude toward God. What action reveals it?
B. 1. When the book of the law was found, how did Josiah react?
2. What did Josiah already know about God, His ways and His character?
3. (Personal) How does your knowledge of God influence your attitude and actions from day to day?
C. What did Huldah, the prophetess, prophesy concerning...
1. Judah as a nation? (vs. 23-25)
2. Josiah, the king of Judah? (vs. 26-28)
D. How did Josiah, as a shepherd of God's people, respond?
E. (Personal) As Christians who know of God's grace and mercy, we may sometimes presume upon His goodness and fail "to treat Him as Holy." (See Numbers 20:12-13). Ask Him to show you if you indeed put Him first in your life, seek Him and all His ways, and then look to Christ in you to be your holiness. What is He showing you?
2. Read 2 Chronicles 35:1-6, 15-18.
A. 1. In the preparation of the Passover celebration, we see the Levites, under Josiah's leadership, setting the same priorities He has given to the church today. What is the sequence seen in verses 3b and in 2 Corinthians 8:5? (Remember also Matthew 22:37-40)
2. (Personal) Apply the above message to our own life. Explain its significance in regard to our moment-by-moment life in Christ.
B. Because Judah was diligent in learning to know God and His ways, what was the result?
3. Read 2 Chronicles 35:20-25.
A. What seems to be the basic reason for Josiah's untimely death?
B. As God used Neco to warn Josiah, He may use unexpected ways to speak to us. He may even use a person or circumstance that we would regard as an "enemy". How can you be sure to hear His messages to you? (See also Psalm 46:10, Isaiah 30:18-21, John 5:30b, 7:17, James 1:5-8).
C. How was Josiah honored in his death? What does this tell you about his leadership?
4. Read 2 Chronicles 36:1-21. Josiah was Judah's last godly king. Now follows a succession of brief reigns of weak kings while Judah gradually loses its independence. Two sons of Josiah, Joahaz and Eliakim (or Jehoiakim) and a grandson, Jehoiachin, each "did evil in the sight of the Lord." (See also 2 Kings 23:30-35)
A. What did God allow Nebuchadnezzar to do to His people?
B. Why did this take place? (vs. 15-17 and Deut. 8:18-20)
C. How long would Judah be in exile? Why?
5. Read 2 Chronicles 36:22-23. God give His people a hopeful glimpse into the future. What will He do to and through Cyrus, king of Persia?
6. Read Isaiah 45:1-13 and 20-25.
A. 1. God has chosen a "foreigner" and will use him mightily to accomplish His purposes. What does He promise Cyrus in Vs. 1-13?
2. Why is God doing this?
B. In verses 20-25, God's promise takes us further into the future. Look also at Roman 14:10-11 and Philippians 2:9-11. What is the wonderful event that we can look forward to together with Him?
C. Do you know God better after reading this passage? What did you learn about Him?
7. Read John 12:24-25. Relate these verses to the history of Israel and Judah. (Personal) Where do you see a similar work of God in your own life?
SUGGESTED HYMN: Dying with Jesus... Living with Jesus
Next: Lesson 43