More often than not, God’s chosen people ignored His command to worship Him exclusively. Again and again they rebuffed his prophets, disregarded his warnings, and pursued the evil ways and worship practices of their neighbors. Finally God’s judgment fell on Judah and Jerusalem.
- Read Deuteronomy 6:3-5. Read it in your translation of the Bible then read from The Message, as follows: “Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!“ Think of a typical week. List as many ways you can think of that you love God in that week, even in the mundane things of life.
- The events of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, are recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:11-20. He reigned from approximately 597 – 586 BC. King Zedekiah refused to accept the counsel of Jeremiah the prophet, who gave him messages of the Lord. He rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had taken an oath of loyalty.
a. What kind of a king was Zedekiah at the beginning of his reign, and how did he change as time went on?
b. In what ways did the people, leaders, and priests also change during Zedekizah’s reign?
c. In what ways did God respond to the sins of his people and why? How did his response change as time passed?
- As is often the case with God, the end of the story isn’t quite the end of the story. Notice how 2 Chronicles ends (2 Chronicles 36:21-23). Why would God do this and what does it communicate to you?
- Considering how much God loves his people and that his temple in Jerusalem was his chosen dwelling place on earth, what do you think it means that God was willing to destroy it because of the evil of sin?
What do you think this says about how seriously God views the sins of our culture – including any indulgence of sin by those of us who call ourselves Christians?
Suggested memory verse: Psalm 32:5
I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. (ESV)