KING HEZEKIAH HONOURS GOD
Scripture: 2 Kings 18:13-37, 19:1-37; 2 Chronicles 28:1-3, 29:1-36, 30:1-14, 32:1-23
Memory verse: 2 Chronicles 15:2
"The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you."
We are restored to fellowship with God when our sins are forgiven. When we sin after that, if we are truly sorry, ask forgiveness, and stop that sin, Jesus restores our fellowship with Him. Explain that this week they will learn about the restoring of a building and of some people.
Hearing God’s Word
King Ahaz of Judah was not a good king. He encouraged the people to worship idols and even sacrificed his own son to false gods. What a wicked king!
Judah Forgets God
When Ahaz died, his son Hezekiah became king. Hezekiah did not as his father Ahaz had. What does the Bible say about Hezekiah? (Ask a student to read 2 Chronicles 29:2.) Explain that “his father David” means Hezekiah was a descendant of David, but his actual father was Ahaz.
Hezekiah Opens The Temple
One of the first things Hezekiah did when he took the throne was to open the temple in Jerusalem. In the first month of his reign he opened the temple and repaired it. King Ahaz had closed the doors of the temple, and no one had worshiped there for a long time. The people had been worshipping idols and offering sacrifices to false gods. It had been many years since a sacrifice was offered to the one true God. The temple was now cold, dark, dusty, and empty.
Ask: “Why do you suppose the people let the temple get in such bad shape?” (Allow discussion.)
The people had neglected the temple because their hearts were no longer filled with love for God. Because of their sin, the people forgot about God. When they forgot about God, they quit caring about God’s house.
The Temple Is Cleansed
Hezekiah knew things had to change before God would be with His people again. Hezekiah called the priests and Levites together. He told them they had failed God and the people by not doing their duties as they should. Their hearts no longer felt love for God. They had not even tried to keep the people from worshipping idols.
King Hezekiah told the priests and Levites to get their hearts right with God. The priests and Levites listened to him. They knew they had not been good examples to the people. They had not taught God’s Word to them or helped them learn how to serve God. They decided to seek God and do what He wanted.
First the temple had to be cleaned. It took about 16 days to get the temple completely clean. All the idols were thrown out. Then the sacred vessels were cleaned, repaired, and put back into place.
When everything was ready, King Hezekiah invited the city leaders to a worship service. They brought offerings to God, confessed their sins, and asked God to forgive them. Then Hezekiah ordered music – harps, cymbals, lyres, and trumpets. At last the temple was again filled with rejoicing and worship to God.
Passover Is Celebrated
Now that the temple was clean, King Hezekiah kept the Feast of the Passover. (Briefly review the first Passover.) Hezekiah wanted everyone to share in this special time of remembrance. He sent messengers through all Judah to invite the people to the celebration. They were excited and everyone made plans to go to the Passover celebration. (Ask a student to read 2 Chronicles 30:12.)
Hezekiah even sent letters of invitation to the people in the cities of Israel, the Northern Kingdom. What did the invitations say? (Ask a student to read 2 Chronicles 30:10, 11.) Many of them just laughed and mocked the messengers. However, some went. They wanted to worship the one true God and re-establish a relationship of love, trust and obedience with God.
After celebrating the Passover, the people went all over Judah and broke down the idols they had been worshipping. They knew these idols were in disobedience to God. They had completely changed their way of thinking. Now they wanted to obey and serve only the one true God.
Assyria Threatens Judah
During the same time, the country of Assyria was very powerful. But Assyria hadn’t bothered Judah before. They charged Judah huge sums of money in exchange for their freedom. When Hezekiah began to rule Judah, he stopped these payments. This made the Assyrians angry. When they threatened him, Hezekiah gave them some money. But in order to do this he had to take gold from the temple. Still this didn’t satisfy the Assyrians. They prepared to attack Judah.
King Hezekiah realized that money would never protect Judah. They needed God’s help for only God could protect the small southern Kingdom of Judah against the mighty Assyrian army.
How did Hezekiah encourage the people? (Ask a student to read 2 Chronicles 32:7, 8.) He told them not to be afraid because God was with them and was stronger than all the soldiers of the mighty enemy army.
Sennacherib (Sun-NACK-uhr-ib), the king of Assyria, didn’t give up easily. He tried to frighten the people of Judah. He sent messengers to scare them and tell them they could not be delivered because Assyria was stronger than their God. He reminded them of the countries Assyria had already conquered. He also mocked the true God and made fun of Hezekiah for trusting God.
The people didn’t answer Sennacherib. Hezekiah had told them to say nothing. Instead, Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah took their problem to God in prayer.
God Delivers His People
What do you think happened then? (Ask a student to read 2 Chronicles 32:21,22 to the class.) God sent an angel into the enemy’s camp. The next morning nearly the whole Assyrian army was dead and Sennacherib went home in disgrace.
Shortly after this, King Sennacherib was killed in his own land by some of his own sons while he was worshipping one of his idols. Sennacherib’s boasting proved to be untrue. God proved His power over the Assyrians in an unmistakable way.
Ask: “Why did God save Judah from destruction?” (Allow discussion.)
God helped the people because they had turned away from their sins and turned toward God, committing themselves to serving and obeying God and only God.
Honouring God Today
It is just as important for us to serve and obey God today as it was for Judah long ago. We need to be sure our hearts are right with God. If they aren’t, we will fall for Satan’s traps. Soon we will forget about serving God. We’ll be sinning and after a while, we won’t even feel bad about it. When we neglect to read and study God’s Word every day, we lose the desire to learn about God and live for Him. God’s Word tells us how to live so our lives will bring honour and glory to Him. If we read our Bibles and pray each day, God will show us what He wants us to do. He’ll give us strength to do what’s right, even when we face problems or trouble.
When we serve God and obey His Word, we can be sure that He is with us. Our memory verse tells us this is true. (Repeat the memory verse several times with the students.) If we trust Him, God will help us with our problems just as He helped Judah. When we honour God, He will honour His Word by giving us victory.
Accepting God’s Word
God is so concerned with our obeying Him because He loves us. Everything God commands us to do is for our own good. We are infinitely important to God. We are so important that Jesus came to earth, lived a sinless life, and died a very cruel and painful death – just so we can be forgiven our sins and have a relationship with God. By accepting His love and sacrifice, we can be forgiven our sins, escape eternity in hell, and know our Creator personally.
Ask if there are any who need to have a right relationship with this loving God. Pray with each one who desires to receive salvation. Then instruct them in the basics of Christian living and encourage them to share about their decision for Jesus with someone this week.
Mandinka Chief's Perspective
The chief shared that most Mandinkas are hard-working farmers. He even showed us the hoe he used at his farm. He mentioned that at times up to 60 farmers will form a group farming system. The main crops are cassava, corn and rice, which are planted after the rains begin. The chief had a word of advice for today's Mandinka youth who are moving to the cities: "Let's go back to our farms and work hard.”
The chief wanted us to know that he was an active Muslim. Quranic sayings were mounted above the doors of his house. On the floor, skins of animals slaughtered for sacrifice during Eid al-Adha served as his prayer mats. He explained that these mats brought blessings to his prayers and that the hairs of the skins pray for him. Three ears of corn hung over a Quranic verse above his home’s main entrance to assure him that he would have seed to plant. It was easy to see that animism is the underlying force of the Mandinka's brand of Islam.
The exchange was cordial. We stepped outside and the chief and his two sons posed for a picture. A relational bridge was established; we left feeling good about making a Mandinka friend.
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Mandinka’s Deliverance
1. Set free from demonic control.
2. Shift trust from ancestral spirits to faith in Jesus Christ alone.
3. The Bible and its teaching to replace idols, charms and demonic ceremonies.
"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you" (James 4:7-8).
Study 13 | God's Character/O.T. Kings | africaatts.org/go-teach