Choices That Determine Destiny - Lesson 8

By Dudley Chancey

Choosing Wisely While Young

Text: 2 Kings 22-23:30

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student can explain that choosing wisely starts at a young age
  2. The student can describe "repentance" in their relationship with God
  3. The student will take action in their lives once they make a good choice

Preparation: (Some items are for extra work if time allows)

  1. Bible for every student (NIV is used for quotes and handouts in this series)
  2. Copies of student handout
  3. Bible concordances or Bible computer program
  4. Chalk or markers for board work


The story of Josiah is one of action. The story is filled with action words stemming from a discovery of what God truly wanted in the lives of his people. Josiah as a young person acts on God's laws. He chooses to be all that God meant him and the Israelites to be. God's providence is evident in the story. Josiah's obedience in the rediscovered law pleases God. The Bible says there wasn't a king before or after Josiah that turned back to the Lord as Josiah did.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (5 minutes)

  1. Prayer time (ask for requests, ask for answered prayers)
  2. Check calendar of events coming up
  3. Connect any students visiting, to individual students and the youth group

Review from Lesson #7: (5 minutes)

  1. Go over the answers to the handouts. Take these up if you are using them for some type of reward (mission trip credit).
  2. Give a one-minute summary of Joshua's choices in last week's lesson.

Learning Experiences: (20 minutes)

  1. Remember the two general points that provide a background for our story (see Lesson #1 for a more detailed description).
    1. First, we will be studying a method of making godly choices in our everyday living
      1. The 4 C's. Consider the choice. Compare our attitudes and actions to God. Commit to God's ways. Count on God's protections and provision.
      2. We are studying principles rather than rules.
    2. Second, we will see how much the people we hangout with influence our lives.
  2. The Bible study today comes from the book of 2 Kings. We meet Josiah, an eight-year old kid that became the king of Judah. We don't know much if anything about what happened the first 18 years of his reign as king. In that 18th year, his life and the lives of his people are changed forever. We do know that while he was very young he walked in the ways of the Lord-not straying to the right or left. His choices kept him straight ahead for God!
    1. Choosing young
      1. Many students may think that serving God is for adults-that adults are the only ones that can do it. This is not true. The story of Josiah is one more example of God using young people to accomplish his will at a time when God's adults were worshipping idols, practicing pagan religious activities, and even killing each other (2 Kings 21: 23). It is interesting to note that the Bible says that Josiah did what was right in God's eyes, (2 Kings 22:2) and yet when the Book of the Law is found (18 years after he began his reign) he is upset because he and the people of Judah were not keeping the whole Law (2 Kings 22:13). You have to wonder what the Israelites were doing at the temple. The Book of Law is found while men are repairing the temple. That would be like someone working in our church and finding a Bible. While you should be able to find a Bible in our churches, the interesting part here is that they had not been reading the Book of Law (in essence, their Bible). Because Josiah chooses to turn totally to the Lord and respond to the Law God lets him know that he has heard him (2 Kings 22:19). God expects us to be diligent in everything He has asked us to do. Learning to choose right as a young person pays off later in life for Josiah as he chooses to do right as an adult.
    2. Repentance-a good choice to get right with God
      1. When Josiah realizes he and others have not been keeping all of the Law, he tears his clothes and humbles himself before the Lord (2Kings 22:11) (see More Background on tearing clothes and sackcloth). A point to be made here, is the urgency of Josiah. He didn't sit around and try to see if he had been doing some things right, or try to justify what had been going on for 18 years under his reign. Repentance begins inside and moves one to"turn around" to go in a different direction (see More Background on repentance). This is a great time to share the Gospel. Because of what Jesus did for us, Christians can repent of all the wrong doing in our life and come humbly before God and ask for forgiveness. Repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand.
    3. Choosing to change

      Assignment: (2 minutes)

          1. Pass out the handouts to take home. Encourage the students to fill in the answers to the questions about Josiah sometime during the next week and bring these back to class with them. The "fill in the blanks" section is straight out of the text for today's lesson. This assignment will give students time to "be in the Word." The following may help you next week as you go over the thought questions:
            1. Let the students share some of their dreams. Challenge them to include God-especially while they are young. Let them know they need all the "God" they can get while they are young-because it can get pretty dangerous out there.
            2. 4C's. This is not a perfect process, but it is better than nothing, and that is what most students are using to make choices. Take advantage of this and share with students how they can walkthrough this process for every important decision in their lives.
            3. You might have everyone write their most prized possession on a card. Take these up and see if students could give it up for God. Talk about how easy it is to get caught up in materialism—America's idol of choice.
          2. Read 1 Samuel 17; 24; 2 Samuel 11-12:25; 23:8-17. The story of David for next week.

      Evaluation: (5 minutes)

          1. Ask students to explain the providence of God in Josiah's life.
          2. Ask students to name one principle from the lesson today.
          3. (After class) Have an intern or another adult evaluate your teaching. Occasionally, ask some students to blind review the class. Ask questions like, "What was the main goal of the class tonight?" "What really made an impression on you tonight about the lesson?"

      Further Resources:

      (You do not have to have these to make these lessons work)

      Bundschuh, R. & Finley, T. (2001). High school talk sheets psalms and proverbs-updated! 50 discussion starters for high school youthgroups. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company.More Background: Tearing Your Clothes — Tearing clothes was an expression of deep sorrow, a customary manner of showing grief. The following tore their clothes for several different reasons: Joseph's brothers in Genesis 37and 44. Jacob in Genesis 37. Joshua and Caleb in Numbers 14; Joshua in Joshua 7; David and his servants in 2 Samuel 13; Mordecai inEsther 4; Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14. Several places in the Bible where people tore their clothes also records these same people putting on sackcloth and even spreading ashes or dust on their heads or even their whole bodies. Sackcloth — cloth made of black goats’ hair, coarse, rough, and thick, used for sacks, and also worn by mourners (Genesis 37:34; Genesis 42:25; 2 Samuel 3:31; Esther 4:1-2; Psalm 30:11, etc.), and as a sign of repentance (Matthew 11:21). Also marked by fasting and sitting on an ash heap (Isaiah 58:5). The shape of the garment could have been either a loose-fitting sack placed over the shoulders or a loincloth.Repentance — A feeling of regret, a changing of the mind, or a turning from sin to God. What was demanded was a turning from sin and at the same time a turning to God. For the prophets, such a turning or conversion was not just simply a change within a person; it was openly manifested in justice, kindness, and humility (Micah 6:8; Amos 5:24; Hosea 2:19-20). Jesus also differed from His predecessors in His proclamation of repentance. He related it closely to the arrival of the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15) and specifically associated it with one's acceptance of Him. Those who were unrepentant were those who rejected Him (Luke 10:8-15; Luke 11:30-32); those who received Him were the truly repentant. In His name repentance and forgiveness were to be proclaimed to all nations (Luke24:47).

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