Lesson 13

The Curtain Falls on the Southern Kingdom

(2 Chronicles 35-36)
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Introduction: Last week we ended our story with King Josiah taking the throne of Judah when he was still a boy. He instituted reforms with the result that God's written word to His people(the Pentateuch)was discovered hidden in the temple. The word of God was shared with the people, and they "took the pledge" to obey. This week we continue our study of this story. Let's dive in!

  1. Passover


    1. Read 2 Chronicles 35:16-18. The finding of the Law caused Josiah to start celebrating the Passover as it had not been celebrated since the time of Samuel. Why do you think the finding of the Law cause this celebration?


      1. What relationship do you see between the Law and Passover?


    2. Read 1 Corinthians 5:7-8. What do you think "yeast" represents? (Sin - "malice and wickedness.")


      1. How is Jesus our "Passover lamb?" (The Passover celebrated the protection of the Israelites from the death angel that killed the eldest son of in the Egyptian households. ( Exodus 12:21-27) The sacrifice of the lamb, and the blood on the doorpost, protected the people from death. So, the blood of Jesus protects us from eternal death that otherwise would come to us as a result of the Law. Finding the Law and celebrating Passover educates the people about the law and about grace. The letter to the Corinthians says, "Good news, Jesus has died for you. Don't let sin continue in your life.")


    3. Let's go back a minute to 2 Chronicles and read chapter 35:1-3. Where was the ark? (It was not in the most holy place of the temple where it was supposed to be.)


      1. Read Exodus 25:21-22. What did God direct should be in the ark? (The "Testimony" appears to be the Ten Commandments ( Deuteronomy 10:5). The Book of the Law (the Pentateuch) was supposed to be beside the ark ( Deuteronomy 31:26).)


      2. How careful had the people been with the most sacred articles that God had given His people? (It sounds like a complete mess. The ark is not in the temple and the Law is missing.)


      3. Josiah not only was instrumental in locating God's word and restoring God's "stuff," he put the people on the road to incorporating God's words into their lives. What would be the modern parallel to finding the Law, the ark and beginning the observance of Passover? (Reading a Bible you can understand, getting the connection between law and grace, and then experiencing the practical reality of a changed life.)


  2. The Neco Challenge


    1. Read 2 Chronicles 35:20-21. Did Pharaoh Neco want to fight with Judah? (No.)


      1. Where was Neco going? ( 2 Kings 23:29 tells us Neco was going to help the King of Assyria. Our lesson explains that Neco was allied with Assyria against Babylon. All Neco was doing was marching to help his ally.)


      2. Why would Josiah oppose Egypt passing through?


      3. Read Jeremiah 46:2. Did Josiah have to oppose Pharaoh Neco? (This text in Jeremiah reveals that Neco was defeated by Babylon. To the extent that Josiah thought he was helping Babylon, it seems that Babylon needed no help.)


    2. Turn back to 2 Chronicles 35:21 again. Note that Neco says he has a message from God. What do you think about this? Do you agree that God could speak through an Egyptian Pharaoh? Do you think God did speak through Pharaoh?


      1. Do you think Josiah thought this was true - that Neco had a message from God? (Since Josiah did not retreat, I doubt he believed Neco.)


        1. Since Neco is hurrying on to defeat, do you think God told him to hurry and get beaten?


      2. In 2 Kings 18:25, King Sennachrib of Assyria told King Hezekiah and Judah that God had told him to march against Judah. Did God give a message to Sennachrib or was he lying? (It seems he was lying because, 2 Kings 19:35, God sent an angel to destroy Sennachrib's army.)


    3. Since Pharaoh Neco and the Assyrians were allies, you just couldn't trust any of them with their stores of messages from God, right?


    4. Read 2 Chronicles 35:22-24. Now, who do you say was speaking through Pharaoh Neco? (This says the message was actually from God!)


      1. How do you explain God using an ungodly king of a foreign country to give Josiah a message?


      2. How do you explain this end to Josiah's life?


      3. Josiah had been a thoroughly good King. He made one mistake, not listening to a Pharaoh who said he had a message from God, and he dies as a result. Is this fair? (Josiah simply put himself in the wrong battle. It was true that Judah should not have been involved in a fight between Egypt and Babylon.)


        1. Is there a lesson in this for us today? (Yes. Even if you are righteous, you need to be careful not to be involved in fights that do not concern "God's business.")


  3. Jehoahaz, etc.


    1. Read 2 Chronicles 36:1-4. Why does Neco have such power in Judah? (This seems to be another result of Josiah's meddling in the wrong battle. Although Neco was defeated in his battle against Babylon, he still was able to assert authority over Judah because he had killed its king.)


      1. Parents, what kind of an impact did Josiah's decision have on the life of his son, Jehoahaz?


    2. Jehoahaz reigned three months, about long enough to get his crown fitted correctly. We then see a succession of kings in Judah after him. Let's read 2 Chronicles 36:14-16.


      1. Why does God encourage us to do His will? (This text says He had "pity" on His people. God knows that following His way is for our benefit.)


      2. What was the reaction of the people to God's Word and His prophets? (They laughed at them.)


        1. Which is worse, to have someone disagree with you or to laugh at you?


        2. What is the ultimate result of laughing at God? (Verse 16 tells us there comes a point when "there is no remedy" against God's wrath. It is a sobering thought.)


  4. The End


    1. Read 2 Chronicles 36:17-20. Solomon's temple is gone! That magnificent, gold covered, house of God. Why would God allow His temple to be burned and the treasures of His temple stolen? (God did not live there any more.)


      1. We see the utter destruction of an entire nation. Those who survive are taken captive. Is it possible that this kind of thing can happen to you (me) if we turn away from God and laugh off His messages of warning?


    2. Read 2 Chronicles 36:21. To what does God compare the desolation of Judah? (The Sabbath rest. The Sabbath rest concept applies to more than the weekly cycle of time, it also applied to the cultivation of the land. See Leviticus 25)


      1. I subscribe to the "young earth" school of thought - that our earth is around 6,000 years old. What ideas come to mind when you consider that God allowed the destruction of Judah and then allowed a "Sabbath" rest for their desecrated land? (The Bible does not have a specific text to support the entire idea, but those who speak of the possibility of the soon coming return of Jesus, so that the righteous spent the seventh millennium ( Revelation 20:4) in heaven with Him, are engaged in a line of thinking consistent with our story. This is not a bizarre idea.)


    3. Friend, this is a sad lesson. A promising young king who has been faithful to God is killed. His descendants turn away from God and laugh at God's efforts to bring them back. The result is destruction and slavery. How about you? Are you paying attention to God's words? Does the will of God make a difference in your life? If you are not seeking God's will, now is the time to turn back.


  5. Next Week: We start a new quarter and a new series of lessons about the Second Coming of Jesus.

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