JUDGES, KINGS, & PROPHETS
STORY FROM DEUTERONOMY, JOSHUA, JUDGES, 2 SAMUEL, 2 KINGS
PROPHECIES FROM 2 SAMUEL 7, ISAIAH 7, 9, 40, 53, 61, PSALM 22, MICAH 5, AND ZACHARIAH 12
The people of Israel continued on their journey back to the Promised Land. God covered the Tabernacle with a cloud during the day that changed to a pillar of fire at night. When this cloud moved they followed it and set up camp wherever it stopped.
But when the people of Israel got closer to Canaan, they would not enter the land because they were afraid of the people who lived there. God’s punishment for not trusting Him was to make them wander in the dessert for forty years. This was a time filled with struggle and complaints against Moses and God.
As Moses neared the end of his life, he reminded the people of Israel of all of God’s promises, laws, and commandments. Moses challenged them, “You must love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength, for He is your life!”
Then Moses said to Joshua in front of all of the Israelites, “Be strong and courageous! Now you will lead these people into the land God promised us. Do not be afraid or discouraged; God will never leave you or forget about you.” (If you remember from a previous story, Joshua was Moses’ assistant who went up the mountain with him to meet with God.)
After Moses died, Joshua became the new leader of Israel and led them to recapture the Promised Land from their enemies. As the Israelites entered the land, God told them to drive out all the people who lived there because they were full of evil. But the Israelites didn’t listen and eventually started worshipping the false gods of the people who remained in Canaan. This led into many other sins. Because of their disobedience, God removed His protection and allowed other nations to come into Canaan and overpower them.
As they were defeated, the people of Israel began to suffer, so they begged God for help and forgiveness. God once again forgave them and sent leaders, called judges, to lead them in defeating their enemies. (These are not like judges we have today but more like generals.) Battle after battle, Israel conquered their enemies at every border. In victory the people would worship God, but soon after the people would turn away from God again and live their own way.
Unfortunately this became a pattern from generation to generation. The people of Israel would come to God and worship Him when they needed help, but when things were going well, they returned to worshipping other things. This was a time where everyone did what was right in their own eyes.
Because other nations were ruled by kings, the people of Israel complained to God, saying, “We want a human king we can see to rule over us.” So God appointed a king named Saul to rule Israel. However, because of Saul’s disobedience, God eventually removed him as king.
Then God searched for a king who would love Him and live in His ways. He chose a young boy named David. When David grew up and was made king, God blessed him and the Israelites greatly. David deeply loved God and tried to live in his ways. God told David, “One of your descendants will rule Israel forever—His kingdom will never end!”
Solomon succeeded his father, David, and became the wisest and richest king in history. Solomon prayed to God, “Give me your wisdom so I can rule the people the right way.”
God answered his prayer and gave Solomon great wisdom; in fact, rulers traveled from all over the world just to hear him. Solomon wrote books, such as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, that are full of the wisdom God gave him.
Under Solomon’s leadership the people of Israel enjoyed peace and great prosperity. The Temple was built in the capital city of Jerusalem to replace the Tabernacle. This temple was a more-permanent symbol of God’s presence remaining with the people.
However, later on Solomon married foreign wives who led him into worshipping false gods. Because of Solomon’s failures, God allowed civil war to break out and the Israelites divided into a northern kingdom called Israel and a southern kingdom called Judah. Eventually kings that worshipped false gods led both of these kingdoms.
Because of their rebellion, God removed His protection from both Israel and Judah and allowed other nations to come in and conquer them. The Israelites were forced out of the Promised Land, and many were taken away to be slaves once again.
During the time of these kings, God sent prophets as messengers, calling people to return to His ways and follow His commandments. These prophets warned the Israelites what would happen if they continued to rebel against God. They also told people about a coming King, one who would rule forever and save them—a Messiah.
God gave the prophets visions of what this Messiah would be like. (Listen carefully to these, as they will tie into some future stories.)
Prophets, such as Isaiah, told them that ...
He will be a descendant of King David.
a virgin will give birth to Him in Bethlehem.
a messenger from the wilderness will challenge people to prepare for His coming.
He will bring good news and healing to the poor, brokenhearted, and sick.
He will do no wrong, living a life without sin.
He will be beaten, whipped, and wounded—all so we can have peace, healing, and forgiveness.
He will be silent when faced with accusations. He will be put on trial and thrown in prison.
His hands and feet will be pierced. He will be killed like a criminal, then buried in a rich man’s tomb.
God will lay the punishment and guilt for all of our sins on Him. His life will be made an offering for us.
Because of Him, many will be made right with God.
After these prophets, God did not speak to humans again for 400 years.