Hezekiah and Josiah – II Chronicles 29, 34 & 35

Picture all the violence, the hate-filled talk, the shootings and dissension we regularly witness in the news. Then, imagine that into the midst of that evil, a righteous leader emerges, who genuinely loves God and who works to bring justice and peace to our land. He urges everyone to return to churches to worship God, and suddenly churches across the land are filled to capacity. Can you imagine what that would feel like??

This is what it felt like to be living in the midst of II Chronicles 29. Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, was an evil king, who led the people to worship false gods in the vilest ways. Onto the scene walked Hezekiah. His first official recorded act was to open the doors of the temple and repair them (II Chron 29:3). Hezekiah had a heart for God. II Kings 18:5-7 says, “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” Hezekiah was a breath of fresh air, who purified the temple of the Lord (II Chron 29:15-19) and reinstituted sacrifices, worship (29:21-30), and the observance of the Passover feast (30:1-27). As a result of Hezekiah’s leadership, Israelites who had attended the Passover celebration tore down places of pagan worship throughout Judah and Israel (31:1). That’s what godly leadership does – it empowers people to do works of service – to confront evil and to do good.

Maybe the people of God thought that they were turning a corner and that finally, things were going to be different. If so, their hopes were short-lived because after only 29 years, Hezekiah died. His son and grandson, who followed him as kings, were evil men, who reinstituted evil practices in the land. Hezekiah’s grandson was so evil that after 2 years as king, he was assassinated by his own officials.

By God’s grace, Hezekiah’s great-grandson, Josiah, became the next king when he was only 8 years old! When he was only 16, he decided to seek God for himself (II Chron 34:3), and his pursuit of God impacted the entire nation for good. When he was 20, he began getting rid of all the places where people worshipped false gods (34:3), and when he was 26, he followed his great-grandfather’s example and began purifying and repairing the temple (34:8). During this process, a priest found the Book of the Law (the Old Testament), which had been ignored and forgotten for some time. They began reading the book to Josiah, who tore his robes and wept when he realized how terribly his nation had forsaken the Lord (34:14-21). That’s what happens when we interact with the living Word of God – our sins are revealed; we accurately see who God is, and we see the gulf that separates us from God. Because of Josiah’s repentance and humility, God extended peace to His people for Josiah’s lifetime. 

What can we learn from these stories?

  • Even these godly men were flawed. Hezekiah became prideful (II Chron 32:25), and Josiah wouldn’t listen (35:22). These weren’t perfect kings. Only Jesus is a perfect king.
  • We can’t inherit faith from our parents or grandparents. Each person must decide for himself to follow the Lord. Blessings await those who seek God.
  • Regular interaction with God’s Word is a necessity for those who want to follow the Lord. God’s Word shows us who God is and who we are. It points out bad motives and bad thoughts and prompts us to repent and to be humble.

Game – Relay Race with Baton Pass – run relay race where kids must exchange a baton. Use different “batons,” – some easy to handle and some large, bulky, and hard to handle.

Discuss – let kids color while you discuss.

  • Which batons were easy to handle?
  • Which batons were harder? Why?
  • Ps. 78:4 & 7 – “we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done…. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”
  • How many kids know that their moms and dads follow the Lord? How can they tell? They might notice their parents talk about Jesus, talk to Jesus, read His Word, repent when they do wrong, etc.
  • How many kids know that their grandparents follow the Lord? How can they tell?
  • Explain that just because their parents or grandparents follow God, kids aren’t automatically followers of God. They each must decide for themselves whether they will follow the Lord. Faith in God is a hard baton to pass. We have an enemy who doesn’t want us to pass the baton of faith. He wants to destroy people. He wants to destroy kids.
  • Jesus loves kids. He said, “Let the little children come to Me” (Matt. 19:14)
  • Do you think a kid can decide to follow Jesus?
  • How do you know when a kid has decided to follow Jesus?
  • If a kid wants to follow Jesus, what should s/he do? Talk to God in prayer. Tell Jesus you know you are a sinner. Tell Jesus thank you for dying for your sins. Tell Jesus you want to follow and serve Him all your life.
  • What can you expect after you decide to follow Jesus? You can expect His Holy Spirit to enter your heart. You can expect to feel guilty when you do something wrong (called conviction). You can expect to feel great joy when you tell on yourself to God (called confession). You can expect to feel conviction when you read God’s Word. You can expect to begin to care more about others. You can expect to begin experiencing victory over sin.

Additional questions:

What did you learn about God/Jesus?

  • God sees all the wrong people do.
  • God knows how much we need a perfect king, so He sent His own Son to be our king.
  • God loves us to worship Him with our whole hearts.
  • God gave us His Word to teach us about Himself and to convict us so we can turn from sin.