Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 23:1-3
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We have been studying the lives of various kings who ruled during the declining years of Israel and Judah. Last week, we learned how the righteous ruler Hezekiah turned the nation of Judah back to God. Sadly, he failed to disciple his son, Manasseh, the longest serving king. He sat on the throne for 51 years. Unfortunately, he was also Judah’s most wicked king. He built shrines to Baal and Ashtoreth right in the Temple, filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, consulted magicians and mediums, and even sacrificed his own child to the god Molech by burning him alive. The wickedness of Manasseh eradicated any good done during his father’s reign.
When Manasseh finally died, his son ruled only two years before being assassinated. This made Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, king of Judah at the age of 8. Unlike his grandfather, Josiah was interested in serving God. But after 53 years of idolatry, God’s law had been forgotten. Josiah started by having the Temple repaired, much like his ancestor King Joash. During the repair of the Temple, a scroll containing the Law (probably Deuteronomy) was discovered. The High Priest had it sent to King Josiah, who had it read in his presence. Upon hearing God’s law, the king ripped his clothing in grief. He knew just how far the nation was from God.
Josiah turned to God, inquiring how to proceed. One of the Temple officials was married to a prophetess. She confirmed that God was indeed going to destroy Judah as Israel had been destroyed, but because of Josiah’s heart, it would not happen under his reign. Josiah assembled all Judah at the Temple, read the rediscovered Law, and had the people commit to follow it. Then, he removed and destroyed every vestige of pagan worship in the Temple, in Jerusalem, in Judah, and even in the now desolate former kingdom of Israel in the north. Josiah even outdid David by reinstituting Passover, which hadn’t been celebrated since the days of the judges!
Though Josiah knew Judah’s fate was sealed, he sought to do all the good he could while he could. It wasn’t enough for him to remove the bad from the kingdom, he chose to replace it with the good (celebration of the Lord’s feasts). Because of Josiah’s leadership, Judah was able to experience one last great revival just a few years before its capture by Babylon. Like Josiah, we know today that eventually things aren’t going to end well for our planet. We can choose to shrug our shoulders and give up, knowing the world is getting worse, or we can choose to do all the good we can while we can. The life of Josiah shows us the better choice.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
In following Christ, it’s not enough to just stop doing bad things. We have to start doing good things! What are some good practices you would recommend someone try who is trying to quit bad, destructive habits?
Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?
What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?