June 18-June 24
Whereas last week we read about the kings who ruled in the northern kingdom of Israel, this week our reading turns to the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah. The kings of Judah arise from the family line of David, through which the promised Messiah will eventually come. Though there were no good kings in Israel, this is not the case in Judah. Of the 20 kings who rule throughout the history of Judah, eight of them can be categorized as “good,” striving to lead God’s people into worship of and relationship with Him. This has always been God’s desire -- to live in loving relationship with His people for His glory.
The account of Judah’s kings provides a lesson similar to that of the life of King David. No human is perfect and sinless. Even the “good” kings sin, failing to perfectly uphold God’s will and Law. They are counted as “good” because their hearts long to seek after the Lord and lead His people to do the same. Joash, also called Jehoash, repairs the temple in Jerusalem (2 Kings 11-12); Hezekiah tears down all the high places and altars to false gods in Judah (2 Kings 18); Josiah discovers the book of the Law -- likely Deuteronomy -- and has it read to all the people of Jerusalem, as well as leads the people of Judah to remember God’s work in leading them out of Egypt through the Passover celebration (2 Kings 22-23). In reading about these kings, we see glimpses of what the Lord has always wanted from His people. God wants His people to have hearts that long for Him above all else. The same is true today. Though no human today is perfect or sinless, the Lord desires for humanity to have hearts that continually seek Him, long for Him, and rely upon Him.
FOR THIS WEEK'S SERMON OVER 2 KINGS 22-23, LISTEN BELOW:
OLD TESTAMENT VISUALIZED
THE KINGS & REIGNS OF ISRAEL & JUDAH
2 Kings 11:1-21
The story today highlights the family ingredient of Service or “What needs to be done?”. The southern kingdom of Judah was under the control of wicked Athaliah, mother of the former king. When Athaliah seized control, she proceeded to destroy the royal family. However one son, Joash, was saved and hidden away with his nurse for six years by his aunt. During this time he was in training with his uncle, the priest Jehoiada. In his seventh year, it was time to move forward. Jehoiada sent word for the commanders to be brought to him. They proceeded to make a covenant and pledge their loyalty to the new king, Joash. Jehoiada instructed them with specific plans for the kingdom takeover. All those involved complied. In this story we see a pattern of people seeing what needed to be done and doing it, all for the Lord. Following this pattern in our family and instructing our children to watch for what needs to be done in each and every situation will train them to obediently follow the Lord’s path.
- Make a list of the bolded story characters using face pictures. Indicate by their expression whether they were evil or loved God.
- Look at your pictures. Of those who loved God, what did each do to answer the question, “What needs to be done?”.
- What was the result of their obedience in service?
- Thinking question: Would God’s plans have been stopped if any of these groups of people had not obeyed?
Activity 1: Story Set
Focus on verses 4-12. Work together to make a story set using Legos or pictures of each scene.
Activity 2: Live It Out
Using card stock or magnetic refrigerator magnets, make a display sign reading, “What needs to be done?”. Practice answering this question during family chores, as you are leaving or coming home, and as you live life this week. Help each family member see their role.
Activity 3: Service With God’s Help
Supplies: dirty pennies, small bowls, salt, vinegar, cotton swabs. Challenge: Using ¼ cup vinegar and a swab, scrub a penny clean. When it doesn’t work, challenge them to rub harder. Next, explain that in order to really get pennies clean, help is needed. Add 1 tsp salt to vinegar and stir. Try again and pennies will shine. The salt is like the power of the Holy Spirit. Doing what needs to be done can be challenging. Adding the power of the Spirit takes our efforts and multiplies them to make our lives shine for God’s glory.
Source: Adapted from Mama to 6 Blessings.
Small Group Discussion
- What sin is there to avoid?
- Is there an example from which to learn?
- Have you ever made a covenant with God?