Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Key Verse Thought: As you read the Key Verse, think about what it means to “depart from evil.” Read the following to help in the understanding: depart means “to turn away; to remove; to put away” and the word evil comes from the word that means “to make useless, to break; to live wickedly or contrary to God’s will; i.e. an attitude that rejects God’s authority.” Instead of evil, we are to do good (means “right; correct; virtuous”). Not only that, but we are to seek peace (remember that seek means “to look, search”). Christians are to stay away from things contrary to God’s will and instead search, choosing to do what is right or virtuous. We will learn about a king who rejected the evil things of his fathers, and instead chose to seek after the things of God – and he pursued them.
Emphasis: In this lesson, we will learn the importance of departing from evil, much like King Josiah, and choosing instead to do what is right.
Lesson Summary: After learning about the prophets Zephaniah and Habakkuk in our last two lessons, we can now better understand the condition of the people of Judah. Especially remember the reign of King Manasseh and King Amon and there will be no question about the state of Judah. They were living very wicked, idolatrous lives. Amon was a bad king and did evil in the sight of the Lord. He never humbled his heart as his father, Manasseh had. Remember that there was a conspiracy against bad King Amon after only two years. When he was killed, his son Josiah became king of Judah. “1. Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem … 2. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left” (2 Kings 22:1-2).
King Josiah was the last good king of Judah. We will learn today that he sought God while he was still young, and he removed much of the wickedness out of the land. He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. King Josiah made many great reformations, including repairing the house of the Lord. While repairs were made, a book of the Law was found. When the king heard God’s Word read, he rent his clothes in repentance. After the book of the Law was read to all of the people, a covenant was made before God, and King Josiah reinstituted the temple worship. He led all of Judah to make a covenant with the Lord to obey His commands. Not only did King Josiah remove idol worship out of Judah and Israel, he led the people to keep the Passover in Jerusalem.
King Josiah died in battle with Egypt, and his son, Jehoahaz, became king in his stead.
If you are teaching this lesson to younger children, the following is a craft idea to go with this lesson: