JUNE 25-July 1
The KINGDOM era comes to an end when God sends His people out of the Promised Land and into exile. For years, the prophets have repeatedly warned both Israel and Judah of this imminent possibility. As they leave the Promised Land, we are reminded of Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden. Both stories exhibit God’s just judgment of sin.
Exile comes to the northern kingdom of Israel in 2 Kings 17 when the nation of Assyria conquers Samaria, the capital city of Israel. This takes place in 722 BC, following the reign of Hoshea, Israel’s final king. We are told the reason God chooses to allow this to happen to His people: “They despised [the Lord’s] statutes and His covenant that He made with their Fathers...They went after false idols...and followed the nations that were around them. They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God.” (2 Kings 17:15-16) The same fate comes to Judah in 586 BC. Because some kings led the people of Judah to worship God, their exile comes later than Israel’s. In multiple waves, the Babylonians, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, force the people of Judah into exile. This happens fully and finally in 2 Kings 24-25 when the Babylonians conquer Jerusalem and destroy the Lord’s temple.
The end of 2 Kings and beginning of the EXILE era leave us wondering about God’s promise to bless all the nations of the earth through Abraham’s line, to deliver His people through a Messiah from the line of David, and to redeem humanity from sin. The Israelites wonder as well, and write about it, which is the reason we included readings from chapters 1 and 5 of Lamentations.
FOR THIS WEEK'S SERMON OVER EZEKIEL 16 & 2 KINGS 17, LISTEN BELOW:
OLD TESTAMENT MOVEMENT
THE EXILE OF THE ISRAELITES
2 Kings 18:28-37;
2 Kings 19:1-19, 35-36
Unlike most kings of the southern kingdom, King Hezekiah worships God. He removes the high places of worship to other gods and commits to stay true to God’s truth. In this passage, he trusts God against unbelievable odds and Judah experiences God’s deliverance in a mighty way.
King Sennacherib, a notoriously cruel king of Assyria, is threatening Judah. He taunts the people with many lies, explaining the reason God will not be willing or able to deliver them. He entices the people to surrender and vividly relates the horror that will come upon them if they refuse. He even declares, “The Lord Himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.” God calls Hezekiah to encourage the people to trust Him. Hezekiah displays the family ingredient of Modeling by displaying trust in God to his people. We, as parents, need to model godly responses in the face of adversity. What responses are we modeling?
- What was the people’s response after hearing all of the lies of King Sennacherib? Hint: 2 Kings 18:36. Why did they respond that way? Why was this wise advice?
- Who did Hezekiah seek council from? (2 Kings 19:2-7) What did the prophet say?
- When the king receives a threatening letter from the enemy, what does he do with the letter (1 Kings 19:14-19)?
- When the enemy, Satan, tempts us to despair in difficult circumstances, what can we do?
Activity 1: Truth and Lie Activity
On large sheet of paper, draw a happy face and a sad face and label “Happy” and “Sad.” Explain that telling the truth generally makes us happy because it is pleasing to God and lying makes us sad. Discuss some of the different statements in the story in a simplified form. Decide whether they are truth or a lie. Write on the appropriate side and pray that God will help your family to tell the truth.
Activity 2: Trusting God Activity
Supplies: 1 gallon-sized Ziploc bag (don't use off brand), bamboo skewers, shower cap & goggles (optional).
Fill a gallon bag halfway full of water. Ask your children if they trust you. Pick a “victim” volunteer and place the water sack on their head. You can give them a shower cap and goggles for extra fun. Holding the sack in place, challenge your family to think of some things that they worry about. As each one is mentioned, plunge a skewer through the bag of water and out the other side. In each case, comment on how the bag is holding the water. Take turns trying it. Talk about some issues your family is facing that could make you worry. What is worry? What do we do when we are worrying? Does worrying help? What can you do instead? Is God willing and able to handle problems? Write down your needs as a family and pray daily for God’s help.
Small Group Discussion
- What example is there to follow?
- Do we earnestly pray as the Israelites do in Lamentations 5:21?
- Where do you place your hope?