Judah Taken into Captivity – II Chronicles 36


We serve a God whose characteristics and qualities exist in perfect balance. God is love, but God is also justice. These characteristics seem to be opposing qualities, yet in God alone, they exist in perfect balance. God’s justice demands that no sin is ever overlooked or dismissed, but that all sins are punished. In fact, His holiness demands that sin is destroyed. That consuming wrath towards sin is counterbalanced by God’s incredible love for us, demonstrated by His patience and sometimes-seemingly-delayed response towards sin. At times, it might be easy to convince ourselves that God doesn’t see sin or that He doesn’t care whether or not people sin, but these are total lies. 


Our story today is a reminder that God sees all sin, and that sin leads to punishment - terrible punishment. The day of judgement came for those living in Judah, and it was awful! A day of judgment is coming in the future, but there is a way of escape! Only Jesus can protect us from the wrath of God because Jesus has already paid the penalty for our sins!


In His mercy, God reminded the people of Judah that their punishment would last for only 70 years and that one day, He would return them to their land. God is also merciful to us. “The Lord is not slow to keep his promise. He is not slow in the way some people understand it. Instead, he is patient with you. He doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed. Instead, he wants all people to turn away from their sins” 2 Peter 3:9. Let’s challenge one another to keep short accounts with God and to make sure that we are ready for the great and terrible day of the Lord that is coming.


Activity – Playdough – give kids dough to play with. Provide objects for making impressions on the dough. Let kids make an impression with some object and ask others to guess what object they used to make the impression.


Discuss: 

  • How did you make marks in your playdough? By pressing objects into the dough
  • In order to make a mark, the dough must be soft. God also wants to imprint His likeness on our hearts, so it’s important to have soft hearts. Did the people of Judah have soft hearts or hard hearts?
  • How can you tell whether someone’s heart is soft or hard? Whether they listen and obey; whether they love God
  • Over and over again, God tried to get the attention of the people of Judah but they refused to listen. God says that He is able to take hearts of stone and turn them into soft hearts. If you have a story of how God changed your heart, this would be a great time to tell it. Or let one of the kids share how God changed his/her heart.
  • Remind kids that Jesus died for our sins so we don’t have to. When they give their hearts to God, He makes them soft and responsive. Invite kids to talk to you if they have any questions about how God re-makes our hearts.
  • Our God is a God of hope. Did you notice how God promised the people that their punishment would be for only a short time and that He would bring them back to their homes after 70 years? God also wants us to have hope. What do we hope for? That when we give our lives to Him, we will become like Jesus; that we will get the Holy Spirit; that we will one day go to live with God forever; that He will always be with us.