The Heart of God: The Decline of Judah (2)
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
Read and meditate on 2 Chronicles 21-26 and Isaiah 1.
Consciousness of God and His covenant continued in Judah, for the most part, throughout the next several generations of kings. There is evidence of slippage, but decline is followed by revival, at least for now.
1. The period did not begin well. Jehoram seemed set on following in the steps of the kings of Israel (2 Chron. 21). What steps did God take to keep Judah within the framework of His covenant? How do you see both the grace and justice of God at work here?
2. Ahaziah was not an improvement, and Athaliah – Judah’s only reigning queen – was worse. But God worked through the faithfulness of two people to bring His people to revival (chs. 22, 23). Explain. How should their faithfulness encourage us?
3. How do the prophets function during this period? Are they merely preachers? Explain.
4. Review 2 Chronicles 24.15-17. How do you explain what happened here? What warning is there to us from Joash’s example (cf. 1 Cor. 10.13)?
5. Isaiah began his work as a prophet during the final days of King Uzziah. From what you see in Isaiah 1, how would you describe the spiritual condition of Judah at this time? How do you see this epitomized in Uzziah’s transgression (2 Chron. 26.16ff)?
The temptation to turn away from the Lord and to follow the temper of the times is always present, and always strong. Only the Word and Spirit of God (the prophets) can keep us safe within the framework of God’s covenant. If we put our trust in men, even if they appear outwardly to be faithful, wise, and strong, we will always end up disappointed. How do you see this borne out in the lives of Joash and Uzziah?
Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks proud things,
Who have said,
“With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own;
Who is lord over us?”
“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the LORD;
“I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”
The words of the LORD are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.
You shall keep them, O LORD,
You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
The wicked prowl on every side,
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
T. M. Moore
Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documents provides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your Goddevelops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).
Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.