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5 ways to make your King Josiah Bible story more interesting

Saturday night I was up until 11:30pm working on my lesson. I was preparing to tell the story of Josiah cleaning the temple. The problem was I didn’t feel like the lesson was quite “there”.

Have you ever had that feeling?

The information for your lesson is researched, and yet you are pretty sure the kids are going to be bored out of their minds listening to it.

bored

Yeah, that’s where I was. I just couldn’t get it right.

As much as I wanted one, there wasn’t a dramatic plot point to keep the story suspenseful. No one was on the verge of dying. No one was being chased. The story in and of itself wasn’t all that ‘interesting’.

There are places like this in the Bible. The stories aren’t that…fascinating. The truth that is communicated is incredibly valuable, but the story isn’t blockbuster movie material. In fact, sometimes, the stories are rather bland.

So, sitting here on Monday night, after I’ve taught the lesson I’d like to offer 5 ideas on how to make Josiah’s story slightly more interesting…

1. The Assyrians were closing in

Assyria had taken the northern kingdom of Israel less than a century before Josiah’s reign. And with their movements south it seemed only a matter of time until they conquered the Kingdom of Judah.

Here’s how it’s stated in The New Oxford Annotated Bible:

Historical-Context-Josiah-Reforms

This means Josiah is the king during a time of great uncertainty in Judah. He has no idea what’s going to happen…including if Assyria is going to carry his people, and possibly him, away captive.

Not only that, but the country has moved to religious ‘syncretism’ … which essentially means they are allowing all of the foreign gods of Assyria to hold the same high honor as the Lord. They are worshipping a mirage of different gods.

They figure…”if worshipping their gods will keep the Assyrians happy, then that’s what we will do!”

It’s under all this that Josiah is ruling. It’s with this pressure that he decides to destroy all false gods and to tear down all the places of worship that the people have created.

That’s a pretty bold move if you ask me.

Josiah follows God’s command to destroy all the idols of Assyria, even as they watch him do it.

2. You don’t mess with the Assyrians

Following closely on the previous point, the Assyrians were some bad peeps….if you know what I mean.

Ancient Assyria was known for having some of the most advanced weapons of the day. Their military strength wasn’t in question. In fact, they detailed their conquests quite meticulously.

In fact, one of the early Kings of Assyria claims to have conquered 42 different kings. He wrote:

“I carried away their possessions, burned their cities with fire, demanded from their hostages tribute and contributions, and laid on them the heavy yoke of my rule.”
http://www.ushistory.org/civ/4d.asp

burnedcities

If that’s not enough, the Assyrians were also well-known for their use of torture.

I won’t go into detail here, but hopefully you get the picture.

The Assyrians weren’t to be trifled with.
(I thought the word “trifled” would be fun to use)

3. Josiah had a terrible family life

What if you’re dad was so evil, that his employees took him out?

Like, literally killed him.

That’s what happened to Josiah. As an eight-year-old boy his dad is executed by his own staff and then Josiah is made king.

Can you imagine?!

A second grade boy, hears that his dad has been killed, and then is made the king. How crazy is that!!

We tend to gloss over details like this in Scripture because, well… it’s a Bible story. But if you stop to realize that these were real people…that Josiah was a real 8-year-old boy, it changes the story dramatically.

Josiah proceeds to do what had to be pretty unnatural. He does exactly opposite what his dad would have done. Josiah follows God’s commands.

4. The book they found in the temple was in Moses’ handwriting

I’m not a Bible scholar by any means, but in my research it seems a fair amount of people believe that the Book of the Law that Josiah’s men found was the book of Deuteronomy, in Moses own handwriting.

What an incredible idea!

Moseshandwriting

The people in Josiah’s day would certainly have heard of Moses. Moses to them, would be like George Washington to American kids today. Every student today learns of our first president. To the Israelites, Moses was a historical giant. This was the man who had led the children of Israel out of Egypt and across the Red Sea. At this point, Moses was nothing short of a legend.

So to find the Book of the Law, as written by Moses must have been incredible.

5. Josiah was the Best of the Best

Let’s end on a positive note here.

Josiah went down in history as one of the greatest Kings in all of Israel’s history. The same history that includes the likes of King Solomon and King David.

Listen to what 2 Kings 23:25 says:

“Before him there was no king like him … nor did any like him arise after him.”

Josiah was one of the greatest kings in the history of Israel.

And he became king when he was eight!

Doesn’t that give an elementary Sunday School kid some hope? Even as a boy, Josiah began to leave a legacy that would be talked about thousands of years after his death. This king who is sandwiched in right before Babylon comes and takes Judah captive, is one of the greatest kings of all time.

It doesn’t matter where you are placed in history, or how old you are at this moment. God is ready to do great things through you if you’ll obey him.

You can be a King Josiah today!

 

I hope you found some of this helpful. These points helped me tell this story in a way that was at least a little more interesting than just reciting the facts as they are stated in Scripture.

Now it’s your turn to go tell King Josiah’s story. Inspire your audience to live a life that pleases God regardless of what anyone else thinks!

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