The Heart of God: The Decline of Judah (4)
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 34-36 and Micah 6, 7.
Judah’s end is as inglorious as that of Israel. The revival under King Josiah, following a period of decline, was sincere, but shallow. Upon his death, the nation began its final slide down the watershed of unbelief, disobedience, and destruction.
1. How would you describe the role of the Word of God, including the prophetess, in the revival initiated by Josiah? Can revival occur without a return to the Word of God? Explain.
2. We note that, as with Solomon and Hezekiah, the revival under Josiah began with a spiritual focus (2 Chron. 34-36). Meditate on 2 Chronicles 35.7-9. What’s wrong with this picture, and what does this portend?
3. Review 2 Chronicles 35.20-27. What’s wrong here? What was Josiah thinking? How do you see Josiah repeating the same mistake of Solomon, Uzziah, and Hezekiah?
4. Summarize the final days of Judah. Why did this happen? But the period ends on a hopeful note (2 Chron. 36.22, 23). Explain.
5. Micah’s words to Israel in chapters 6 and 7 of his book appear to be to Israel as a whole, that is, both Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom). His words are both descriptive and prescriptive. Explain. Pay attention especially to Micah 7.18-20. Comment on the covenant connection implied here between Abraham, David, and Christ.
Unlike the fall and utter destruction of Israel, Judah entered into a period of decline. As we see at the end of 2 Chronicles – written after the period of exile, to reconnect the people with their covenant heritage – Judah would be restored. But, as we shall see, that restoration will be much less pronounced than what they knew under such kings as Solomon, Joash, Uzziah, Hezekiah, and Josiah. Yet it would abound with types and prophesies pointing to an even greater period of covenant blessing to come. What would you say is the most important message to take away from Israel’s experience as a kingdom?
Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts;
Look down from heaven and see,
And visit this vine
And the vineyard which Your right hand has planted,
And the branch that You made strong for Yourself.
It is burned with fire, it is cut down;
They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.
Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand,
Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.
Then we will not turn back from You;
Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!
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.