Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
2 Chronicles 29:1-36
2 Chronicles 30:1-27
2 Chronicles 31:1-21
2 Kings 18:1-37
2 Kings 19:1-37
2 Kings 20:1-21
Chapter 28, Royalty and Ruin (Prophets and Kings)
Chapter 29, Royalty and Ruin (Prophets and Kings)
Hezekiah was a breath of fresh air among the kings of Judah. And his godly choices offered the ingredients for a whole new way of life for God’s people.
2 Kings 18:1-20:21
2 Kings 19:1-7
2 Kings 19:14-19
2 Kings 19:20-34
2 Kings 19:35-37
As a result of this lesson, students will learn that God is in control, and He honors and works through those who follow Him. We can trust Him in times of trouble.
Have you ever felt trapped—as if you couldn’t go anywhere because it wasn’t safe to go out? As if you could be harmed wherever you turned? As if a plague could break out at any moment?
Welcome to Jerusalem, 701 B.C.
Hezekiah was one of the good kings, but that doesn’t mean everything he did just went swimmingly (unless you’re thinking of the water tunnel he ordered dug under Jerusalem from the Gihon spring to the pool of Siloam). Because when you smash idols, tear down altars, and tell the Assyrian empire you’ll no longer pay them a hefty tribute, you’re bound to make a few enemies.
Judah thrived under Hezekiah’s rulership, growing in resources and wealth. Hezekiah repaired and restored the temple. Hezekiah prospered in battle, subduing the Philistines “as far as Gaza and its territories, from watchtower to fortified city” (2 Kings 18:8). But unprecedented trouble was brewing. In the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign, the northern kingdom of Israel, larger in land mass than Judah, fell to the Assyrian empire. Assyria hauled the people of Israel off into captivity. Then, in Hezekiah’s fourteenth year as king, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, began to attack the cities of Judah.
When Tiglath-Pileser III had waged war on the Philistine coast in 734 B.C., Hezekiah’s father, King Ahaz, sent silver and gold from the temple and royal treasuries in order to stay on Assyria’s good side. Judah continued to pay an annual fee for Assyria to leave them alone—until Hezekiah rebelled. Now, with Israel fallen, it was only a matter of time before the armies of Sennacherib, mighty ruler of Assyria, reached their capital city.
And so it was that the city of Jerusalem found itself under siege by the world’s greatest army. Archaeologists estimate that at that time Jerusalem measured about 125 acres (only about one-fifth of a square mile—compare it to New York City’s 843-acre Central Park), and was home to about 25,000 people. With that many people to feed and keep healthy in such a small space, and an army keeping people from going out, or supplies from coming in, time was not on Hezekiah’s side. For those trapped inside, a siege could only end in a few ways: starvation, disease, surrender, destruction, or some horrific combination of all four.
Sieges are all about forcing your enemy to surrender by making their life unbearable. Issues of food, water, and sanitation suddenly become paramount. Invading armies typically waited a significant amount of time before attacking the city itself, generally preferring to keep it as intact as possible. Fortunately for the people of Jerusalem, Hezekiah had taken advantage of the prosperous first years of his reign to build and reinforce walls around the city, making them 23 feet thick. To ensure plenty of water within the city, he had a 533-meter (about 1750 feet) tunnel dug from the Gihon spring outside the city walls to bring water into the city (and if you visit the City of David National Park in Jerusalem, you can take a very wet tour of it). To prevent the Assyrian army from having a fresh water supply outside the city, he blocked the springs and brook that supplied water outside the city. He told the people, “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria . . . for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:7, 8).
Whether conducting class over an internet app such as Zoom, or in person, make it so that you or another prearranged person can be heard but not seen. If conducting class through a video chat platform, you could sit behind the camera. If in a classroom, have everyone face away from you. Then, go through several actions for them to listen to closely and guess what you are doing. For example:
On paper or a smart phone or tablet, have your group make a list of the following. Then discuss:
With the Assyrians at the very gates of Jerusalem, everything hung in the balance. Would God’s people survive?
When we look back at the story of Hezekiah and the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem, it’s easy to think—even knowing what the Babylonians did a century later—“Well, of course they were fine in the end. Hezekiah trusted God, so God kept him safe.” But by the time Sennacherib’s army reached Jerusalem, they’d already conquered much of Judah, including the fortress city of Lachish. (If you visit the British Museum in London, you can see huge stone murals from Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh depicting the Assyrian army’s siege of the city and Judeans being taken into captivity.)
In the Annals of Sennacherib, discovered in the ruins of Nineveh in 1830 (and which can now be seen in the British Museum, the Israel Museum in London, and the Oriental Institute in Chicago—you may wish to pull up an image from the internet to share), the ancient king declared, “As for Hezekiah the Jew, who did not submit to my yoke, 46 of his strong walled cities, as well as the small cities in their neighborhood, which were without number—by leveling with battering-rams and by besieging with siege-engines, by attacking and storming on foot, by mines, tunnels and breaches, I besieged and took [them].”
No question, Hezekiah had stirred up a vicious enemy. And though he’d prepared in every way he could, he knew that surviving the siege would take a miracle.
Propaganda has always been a major part of war. In the event of a long, drawn-out siege, psychological warfare gets particularly potent, as the invading army tries to convince people to surrender.
Let’s read 2 Kings 18:17-37.
17 The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They came up to Jerusalem and stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. 18 They called for the king; and Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to them.
19 The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah:
“‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? 20 You say you have the counsel and the might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? 21 Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. 22 But if you say to me, “We are depending on the Lord our God”—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem”?
23 “‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them! 24 How can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 25 Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the Lord? The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’”
26 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.”
27 But the commander replied, “Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the people sitting on the wall—who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”
28 Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’
31 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!
“Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ 33 Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 35 Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?”
36 But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.”
37 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went to Hezekiah, with their clothes torn, and told him what the field commander had said.
Hezekiah was a brave and bold guy, but he was no smug action hero, casually strolling away as things explode behind him—as we see in the next few verses, 2 Kings 19:1-7.
1 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. 2 He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3 They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. 4 It may be that the Lord your God will hear all the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.”
5 When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’”
Meanwhile, Sennacherib sends Hezekiah a message with the same old “Where’s-your-Yahweh-now?” taunt, so the king heads to the temple to pray—2 Kings 19:14-19:
14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.
17 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”
God sent Hezekiah a beautiful, poetic message of assurance—right after sending the Assyrians a message of doom, as we find in 2 Kings 19:20-34.
20 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria. 21 This is the word that the Lord has spoken against him:
“‘Virgin Daughter Zion despises you and mocks you. Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. 22 Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! 23 By your messengers you have ridiculed the Lord. And you have said, “With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its junipers. I have reached its remotest parts, the finest of its forests. 24 I have dug wells in foreign lands and drunk the water there.With the soles of my feet I have dried up all the streams of Egypt.”
25 “‘Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it.In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass,that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone. 26 Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass sprouting on the roof, scorched before it grows up.
27 “‘But I know where you are and when you come and go and how you rage against me. 28 Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth,and I will make you return by the way you came.’
29 “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah:
“This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that.But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 30 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. 31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.
“The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
32 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria:
“‘He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here.He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. 33 By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city,declares the Lord. 34 I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’”’
In the records of Sennacherib that archaeologists have uncovered, he writes of his conquests against city after city. He tells how he conquered them all—all, that is, except one. Instead, Sennacherib boasts, “As for Hezekiah, I shut him up like a caged bird in his royal city of Jerusalem.”
Sennacherib’s words remind us that nothing in this world takes place without God’s oversight. Here’s the rest of the story that Sennacherib left out, from 2 Kings 19:35-37.
35 That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.
37 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.
Scholars speculate that Sennacherib’s soldiers died from an outbreak of plague. In the often squalid army camps of soldiers waiting out a siege, outbreaks of disease were common, and the lack of a reliable water supply wouldn’t have helped. Whether the army’s mass death resulted from God using natural causes, or they were simply struck down, God saved His people. We read the Bible today in no small part because of the faithfulness of Hezekiah, even when all hope seemed lost.
NOTE: Consider sharing a story from your own life when things seemed hopeless, yet God worked things out in surprising ways. Then, reflect on some of these questions relating to yourself.
This coming week, consider doing one or more of the following:
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
Be sure everyone takes time for personal applications before you end your Sabbath School time together.
Last week we studied the story of wicked King Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28) who literally closed the temple. But after his death, his son, King Hezekiah, chose the opposite path. He returned the people to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This week’s study includes two chapters (2 Chronicles 29 and 30) that describe the re-opening of the temple and its cleansing to prepare to worship God again. That’s when the festival called the Passover came back into practice, and what an incredible Passover it was! But things like this don’t just happen. There are steps we need to take as we prepare to praise and worship God. That’s our topic and Scripture passage for this week.
Let’s read 2 Chronicles 29:1-30:27.
29 Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. 2 And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.
Hezekiah Cleanses the Temple
3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. 4 Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, 5 and said to them: “Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. 6 For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and turned their backs on Him. 7 They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. 8 Therefore the wrath of the Lord fell upon Judah and Jerusalem, and He has given them up to trouble, to desolation, and to jeering, as you see with your eyes. 9 For indeed, because of this our fathers have fallen by the sword; and our sons, our daughters, and our wives are in captivity.
10 “Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense.”
12 Then these Levites arose: Mahath the son of Amasai and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah; 13 of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeiel; of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; 14 of the sons of Heman, Jehiel and Shimei; and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15 And they gathered their brethren, sanctified themselves, and went according to the commandment of the king, at the words of the Lord, to cleanse the house of the Lord. 16 Then the priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and brought out all the debris that they found in the temple of the Lord to the court of the house of the Lord. And the Levites took it out and carried it to the Brook Kidron.
17 Now they began to sanctify on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the vestibule of the Lord. So they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished.
18 Then they went in to King Hezekiah and said, “We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, the altar of burnt offerings with all its articles, and the table of the showbread with all its articles. 19 Moreover all the articles which King Ahaz in his reign had cast aside in his transgression we have prepared and sanctified; and there they are, before the altar of the Lord.”
Hezekiah Restores Temple Worship
20 Then King Hezekiah rose early, gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord. 21 And they brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. Then he commanded the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the Lord. 22 So they killed the bulls, and the priests received the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. Likewise they killed the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar. They also killed the lambs and sprinkled the blood on the altar. 23 Then they brought out the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them. 24 And the priests killed them; and they presented their blood on the altar as a sin offering to make an atonement for all Israel, for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering be made for all Israel.
25 And he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets. 26 The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 Then Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord also began, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David king of Israel. 28 So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. 29 And when they had finished offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed and worshiped. 30 Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped.
31 Then Hezekiah answered and said, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, come near, and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord.” So the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings. 32 And the number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. 33 The consecrated things were six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep. 34 But the priests were too few, so that they could not skin all the burnt offerings; therefore their brethren the Levites helped them until the work was ended and until the other priests had sanctified themselves, for the Levites were more diligent in sanctifying themselves than the priests. 35 Also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings and with the drink offerings for every burnt offering.
So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order. 36 Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people, since the events took place so suddenly.
Hezekiah Keeps the Passover
30 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel. 2 For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month. 3 For they could not keep it at the regular time, because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem. 4 And the matter pleased the king and all the assembly. 5 So they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner
6 Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the command of the king: “Children of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel; then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see. 8 Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. 9 For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.”
10 So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the Lord
13 Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14 They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron. 15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood in their place according to their custom, according to the Law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites. 17 For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the Lord. 18 For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone 19 who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.” 20 And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people
21 So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments. 22 And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.
23 Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness. 24 For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the leaders gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. 25 The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27 Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.
Preparing to Praise
What sparks your desire to praise God?
1. Why did Hezekiah choose to follow God, unlike his father Ahaz?
2. What changes needed to be made in order to restore worship to God?
3. Who (or what) would cause a revival in your church?
4. Rank (1-9) what makes a worship service awesome:
____ Great music.
____ An inspiring sermon.
____ When the focus is on God; not those leading worship.
____ Fellowship with others.
____ When it’s obvious God is present.
____ Engaging the head, heart, and body—all of me.
____ No barriers between people.
____ Other: _____________________________
5. What does it mean to return to the Lord?
6. If you had been invited to Passover, how would you have responded?
7. What could you do to be more committed to God?
8. Describe a time you participated in a spiritual feast.
What an amazing turnaround! From wicked King Ahaz to his devoted-to-Yahweh son King Hezekiah, the people of Judah followed the lead of their kings. That meant they joined King Hezekiah in renewing their covenant with God and opening the temple for worship. Does your church need a revival and celebration like this? Do you?
Hezekiah led his people in a revival that started by his opening the temple his father, King Ahaz, had closed. It also included cleaning out the temple and then preparing to reinstitute the religious festivals that had ceased. You probably don’t live in a country ruled by a king, nor are religious festivals part of your national operation. But you can still make applications to your life today, this week, and this month.
Praise is often combined with worship (as in “praise and worship”), but this time actually praise God. With the coronavirus pandemic, in-person worship gatherings ceased for social distancing reasons, not because of idolatry. But that doesn’t mean you can’t praise God.
Thankfully King Hezekiah was different from his dad. Invariably there will be some things in which you copy your parents and some things which you do differently—either by choice or by nature.
This is true for guys whose first role model for being a man often is their dad, but it could also be a guardian or caregiver. It’s also true for girls who look for qualities they admire for themselves or for others who will be significant in their lives. Each parent or guardian has their own strengths and weaknesses.
By Steve Case and Hubert Cisneros
A Place to Belong outlines the essentials for creating a great youth group. It features six chapters ready-made for youth leadership conventions or training in the local church. If you’re a youth director, here’s a resource you can use to train youth leaders in your conference. If you’re a youth leader in a church, you can use this yourself. And if you’re a young person, you can be a youth leader right now. Use this resource and put it into practice.
Jesus told his disciples that they would “be witnesses” when they received power from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Their witnessing would happen right where they were, and would spread out like the rings when you throw a pebble into a pond. That happens when you take the words of Jesus and relate them to your Youth Sabbath School outreach and mission.
To the Ends of the World
Your Youth Sabbath School
The Community Around Your Church
The World Beyond Your Community
We’ll suggest options for these four target groups. You may choose to follow all four or maybe start with one this month.
A. Your Youth Sabbath School
Personalize your Youth Sabbath School room. This means decorating and possibly constructing props or a set. Be sure to get permission from church leaders. Present your ideas to the church board, get feedback, and adjust. If your space is shared, this could call for more cooperation. Use your creative skills and some hard work to craft something unique for your Youth Sabbath School.
B. Your Church
After personalizing the Youth Sabbath School space, offer your talents and skills for one of your church’s children’s Sabbath School classes. Work with their leaders to help create special decor related to their theme for the next quarter.
C. The Community Around Your Church
Coordinate with some of the handy people in your church and offer to do some special projects in the community. Contractors may know of people needing assistance with minor construction or repairs. Offer to coordinate a Sunday project where Youth Sabbath School members help with the grunt work for a project. Another option is to join a Habitat for Humanity project.
D. The World Beyond Your Community
For low involvement but high response, join Maranatha’s $10 Church project by donating $10 per month. Enough people are donating that one or two churches are constructed each month.
If you want to go all out, join Maranatha’s Ultimate Workout summer mission trip for teens. It’s best if you get your whole church involved in sponsoring your group. Then you will not only represent your church, but you’ll also report back to them when you return. You could also gather a multigenerational group to join one of Maranatha’s family mission projects.
#Playbook Youth & Young Adult Leadership Convention
You are invited to join the North American Division Youth Ministries Department for networking and leadership training from September 3-5, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico! This event is open to all local church, conference, and union youth and young adult ministry leaders. It will feature a wide variety of seminars plus training for youth Sabbath School, Master Guide leadership, and much more.