The Decline of Judah and the Importance of Transmitting Our Faith
Updated: Aug 19
Shiloh Sunday Service (November 25th 2018)
Speaker: Evangelist Eric Burton
Sermon: "The Decline of Judah and the Importance of Transmitting Our Faith"
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 17:13-14
After the death of King Solomon, the Davidic kingdom was divided into the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel as the prophet Ahijah had prophesied (1 Kgs 11:29-33). The immediate cause for the division of the kingdom was Solomon’s idolatrous ways. Jeroboam became the first king overall in the northern kingdom of Israel and the standard of “bad kings.” In the northern kingdom of Israel, there were a total of 19 kings and all were wicked. In the southern kingdom of Judah, there were 20 kings in whom three were evaluated as good kings who “walked in the ways of David” (2 Chron 17:3; 2 Kgs 18:3; 2 Kgs 22:2). David is the first king in the 2nd period of Jesus’s genealogy and he became the standard of the “good kings.”
Jehoshaphat was the 4th king in the southern kingdom of Judah and he is described as having followed the example of his father David’s earlier days" (2 Chron 17:3-4). The phrase “David’s earlier days” refers to David’s reign in Hebron before he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Jehoshaphat followed the commandments of God and did not seek the Baals but actually destroyed idols throughout the land of Israel (2 Chron 17:6). Because of Jehoshaphat’s commitment to do the will of God, he was given great wealth and honor (2 Chron 17:5). However, Jehoshaphat made a crucial mistake by making an alliance with King Ahab in the north through marriage (2 Chron 18:1). This marriage was between King Jehoshaphat’s son and Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah, who worshiped Baal. It was through this marriage that Baal worship was introduced to southern Judah. Jehoshaphat repented and brought the people back to the Lord through a second religious reformation (2 Chron 19:4). Still, Jehoshaphat was unable to cut ties with the kings of Israel. He aligned himself with the north by building ships with King Ahab’s son Ahaziah to sail and make lots of money. However, God destroyed the ships and they were unable to sail (1 Kgs 22:48-49). Although he was a good king, Jehoshaphat was unable to transmit his faith to his son, his grandson, and even his great grandson, and were all taken out of the genealogy.
Hezekiah was the 13th king in the southern kingdom of Judah and he is described as having done right and walking in all the ways that his father David had done (2 Kgs 18:3). During his reign, Hezekiah carried out a very powerful religious reformation and he repaired the temple (2 Chron 29:3-7). By repairing the temple, Hezekiah reinstated God as their King. Also, in repairing the temple, he revived worship and prayer and consecrated the Levites and the priest so that they can serve in the temple. He also started giving thanksgiving offerings and sacrifices and kept the Passover. Hezekiah was able to perform such a great reformation because he “clung” to the Lord (2 Kgs 18:5-6). After conducting a great religious reform, God gave Hezekiah a fatal disease and said to him, “set your house in order, for you shall die” (2 Kgs 20:1). God suddenly pronounced death upon Hezekiah so that Hezekiah would come to trust and rely on Him all the more, so that He can grant Hezekiah the blessing of a miraculous cure. Hezekiah turned to God and prayed, and his life was extended by 15 years (2 Kgs 20:6; Isa 38:5). After having his life extended, Hezekiah became prideful but after being rebuked by God he repented about his prideful ways and lack of thanksgiving. However, just as the case of Jehoshaphat, King Hezekiah was not able to pass down his faith to his son Manasseh.
Josiah was the 16th king in the southern kingdom of Judah and he is described as having walked in the way of his father David” (2 Kgs 22:2). Josiah was truly an upright king and not only did he walk in the ways of David, but he also “did not turn to right or the left.” Josiah performed a religious reformation by destroying all idols as well, repairing the temple, and most of all discovering the Book of the Law. After discovering the Book of the Law, Josiah gathered all the elders, priests, prophets, men great and small and all the inhabitants to him and he read the Book of the Covenant in front of the people (2 Kgs 23:1-2). Although King Josiah was an upright king, he was unable to transmit his faith and his sons were taken out of the genealogy.
Conclusion: The main reason why Judah was kicked out of the promised land and taken captive was because they were not able to pass on the faith to their children. The sins continued and eventually Judah’s decline was inevitable. Even the good kings were not able to pass on their faith. However, the Father of Faith, Abraham, was able to pass on the faith to even his 4th generation: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Therefore, it is important to pass on the faith to our children, to people around us, and to those spiritual children whom we evangelize. This transmission of faith is very important and we must continue this work of transmitting our faith so that God’s kingdom may be established here on earth.