Before my Sunday School kids dived into our short set of lessons on the Kings of Judah we wanted to give them an overview of the Kings of Judah. I made it similar to the Kings of Israel trading cards, slightly different questions, but same format.
Then I set to studying the kings of Judah, and learned all sorts of information from these guys. There are some definite trends you can see, and lessons to be learned, especially interesting after having just reviewed the Old Testament and learned about Jonah.
I learned from the Kings of Judah: A good parent does not guarantee a good son
Over and over again we see examples of a good king who follows God and builds up his kingdom being followed by a bad king who does all sorts of despicable acts. What the Bible doesn’t say, is it because the father didn’t teach his son how to follow God and be a good king? Or was it because the son just didn’t listen at all? We don’t know. I am curious though, and more aware of the importance of my choices as a parent.
I learned from the Kings of Judah: Watch who you marry
Jehoram married Athaliah the daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. You remember them? They’re the ones who tried to kill all the prophets of God and Elijah. Not exactly the nicest people around. Jehoram married their daughter and when he died she took over. She killed everyone she could find of the royal family. Only one boy survived because his nurse hid him (side note, if you are going to attempt a coup, make sure you kill everyone, that is a very important history lesson, and the joke of more than one book I’ve read). Not exactly a good influence.
I learned from the Kings of Judah: You may start well, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll end well
Joash started out great. At 7 years old he became king and rejected the evil practices of his mother (Athaliah) and repaired the temple, followed God. Then the priest who had taught and raised him died, and he forgot all of it. Every single word, and started worshipping other gods, sacrificing things you really shouldn’t sacrifice, and this is the same boy who repaired God’s house.
Uzziah followed God for most of his life. He was so proud of his holiness he tried to do the priest’s job. He was punished for his sin and pride with leprosy.
You don’t always end well.
I learned from the Kings of Judah: Starting poorly doesn’t guarantee it’ll end poorly
Manasseh the son of Hezekiah was the worst king of Judah. God actually saw his choices and said, “I’m done with you people,” and Manasseh was captured and thrown in prison. While there he remembered all his father had done, and all he had been taught. He repented and turned back to God. That’s an impressive change of heart.
A saying I love says: “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”
The challenge for kids: Which King of Judah will you be?
As I studied these passages I noticed there were 3 kings of Judah who became king around 7 years old. That’s a little younger than most of the kids in my class, they’re mostly 8 or 9 with a few 10-year-olds. It’s a rather daunting thought being in charge of an entire country. Which king are you going to be?
Will you be Joash who started out well and ended poorly?
Will you be Josiah who followed hard after God all the days of his life?
Or will you be Jehoiachin and be evil from the day you are crowned king?
Who will you be?
Kings of Judah resources
- list of the Kings of Judah with Bible verses
- Kings of Israel and Judah list
- Josiah lesson
- Joash lesson plan
- Uzziah lesson
- Hezekiah lesson
- Kings of Judah trading cards (printable for this lesson)