Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
The Last Five Kings of Judah
October 16, 2015
Texts: 2 Chronicles 34:1-33, Jeremiah 22:1-19, 29:1-14, 2 Chronicles 36:11-14, Jeremiah 23:2-8
Recently courts in Oklahoma ordered the removal of a granite statue from the Capitol grounds. It was decided that the six-foot monument violated laws relating to government and religion. Because the Ten Commandments were inscribed on it, judges considered the monument to be religious. Others saw the statue as having a historic nature instead. The removal took place in the dark of night with workers protected by Oklahoma Highway Patrol. While the statue will be relocated, some seek to return it to its place near the Capitol and work to enact legislation that would protect similar monuments in the future, declaring that they hold historic value, not religious.1
This is not the first time tributes have been torn down. Statues, memorials, and monuments were removed centuries ago. When Josiah started his search for God, he brought down all the statues, images, and altars that had been used to worship Baal. Josiah did not, however, have this task take place under the cover of darkness to avoid controversy or conflict. He was intentional, not just removing them, but having them totally destroyed.
After studying our Sabbath School lesson this week, one might wonder how God’s message was ever passed down through the generations to us today. How did truth survive with such evil leaders, with kings whose only desires were for evil and self-gain? How was the influence of a king such as Josiah lost so quickly? What happened?
Another thought that might amaze us is that God loved those who continued to turn away from the message sent to them. When Josiah was king and people were led back to God, one might assume that revival would have lasted. But it didn’t. What did last, was the constant love and leading of God—a love that beckons people to choices that are contrary to what is popular, convenient, and self-serving—a love that makes plans for a future and a hope, as we read in Jeremiah 29.
God spoke to Judah through prophets such as Jeremiah. And ultimately, in Jeremiah 23, God tells about raising up a Branch, about Judah and Israel being saved and dwelling safely. Through all of the sin, leadership that turned people away from God and destroyed the principles on which truth is based, God never forgot the children, the object of that love. God has a plan. God works through imperfect humankind, through situations, through difficulties to draw us to love that is eternal.