Summary: The fall of Judah looked like God had failed and would have to come up with plan "B", there is no plan "B", just the plan!
• SLIDE #1
• Last week we saw the fall of the Northern kingdom in 722 BC. It seems as though all is lost with God’s grand idea of creating a nation that would be like no other.
• Things are not looking good and in South either, it seems to be going from bad to worse.
• I cannot imagine how God must have felt as He looked down at His divided nation, with 10 of the tribes now overtaken by the Assyrians and the last two hanging on by a thread.
• As we have been exploring the Bible together through The Story, I hope that we are seeing the big picture that God loves us, has always loved us, and has been in pursuit of us ever since the fall in the garden.
• In The Story as we come to chapter 17 we begin in 2 kings 21.
• God had made promises to Abraham and Moses that He would show His love to all people and call them back to Himself.
• To David, God promised to bring the Messiah.
• Even though God’s people were disobedient and rebellious, and the kingdom was split into 2 smaller, weaker nations, God WILL fulfill His promises.
• Last week we touched on the subject of Judah, today we will dig a bit deeper into that nation since it is the only part of the Nation left.
• The Northern Kingdom was gone after 722, what will happen to Judah?
• SLIDE #2
• Let’s look at 2 Kings 21:1 together.
• 2 Kings 21:1–2 (NIV) Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah (HEF ZI BAH). He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.
• Let’s begin our journey be examining first…
• SLIDE #3
I. The good, the bad.
• The year would be about 686 BC, The good King Hezekiah dies and his son takes over the throne in Judah.
• The boy was 12. You think you may have some issues with raising your pre-teen, imagine them being KING!
• As we stated last week, you would think since Hezekiah was a good King that his son Manasseh would be good also, but from verse 2 we see that is not the case.
• As a matter of fact if you keep reading in the chapter, you will see that he reinstated all the idol worship that his father had gotten rid of!
• One wonders where Manasseh came up with all this evil. He did more evil than any other King of Judah!
• The nation continued to be led by evil leaders.
• Of the last 6 kings who followed Manasseh’s 55 year reign, 5 of them were evil in the sight of the Lord.
• The only one who was good was Josiah, a grandson of Manasseh, here is the kicker, he was 8 years old when he ascended to the throne!
• Josiah was an excellent King and in the 18th year of reign which would have been in about 622 BC, he ordered the Temple to be repaired. In the course of doing the repairs the Book of the Law was found.
• Josiah leads many reforms to try to get the people back in line with God.
• But after Josiah’s death, the final 4 kings were evil, including 2 of Josiah’s sons.
• The nation was continuing to spiral out of control, not learning a thing from what happened to the Northern Kingdom.
• As the last King of Judah, Zedekiah takes the throne, the nation is seemingly at a low point morally and spiritually.
• Zedekiah was an evil person, who led the nation deeper into the throes of evil.
• Just before we hit the end of the nation in 586, 2 Chronicles 36:15-15 reveals just how bad it was getting.
• SLIDE #4
• 2 Chronicles 36:15–16 (NIV) The LORD, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.
• This put God in an untenable position. This was the nation by which all the promises of the past would be fulfilled, but for God to continue to bless Judah would send a confusing message not only to Judah, but to the surrounding nations.
• The express purpose of God in His relationship with Israel was always to demonstrate that He is the one true God who wants people to come back into a relationship with Him!