Preteen Bible Lesson – Following God (Josiah)



The Point: What decisions do I need to make right now so that I can bring glory to God when I’m 18?

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 34; 1 Timothy 4:12

Lesson Overview:

What were you doing at age 8? You were probably doing homework for school and playing with friends, but you definitely weren’t getting ready to become king! That’s the story of Josiah. He became king at age 8, and he reigned for thirty-one years. Josiah did many great things for the nation, but the most dramatic was a return to worshipping and obeying the Lord after finding the Book of the Law during Temple repairs.


Guess Who?

Before service, find pictures of adults in your church (pastor, parents, worship leaders, etc.) when they were in elementary school.

Arrange the pictures on a wall in your preteen ministry space and assign each picture a number.

As preteens enter, give them a note card and pen.

Have them look at the pictures and try to guess who each individual is.

They will write the number assigned to the picture and their guess.

When they’ve written a guess for each question, they can turn in the notecard.

Give prizes to the first to get them all correct or all preteens who guess some of the pictures correctly.


Before service, pass out a sheet of paper/cardstock and a marker to each preteen

Did you like checking out these pictures of some well-known adults when they were in elementary school? Can you imagine what they were like at that age?

Let’s start our time together with a little art project.

Each of you should have a marker and a piece of paper.

I want you to think about your life when you were 8 years old and draw a picture about that time of your life.

What did you look like?

What was your favorite thing to do?

Did any major events happen like getting a new pet, new house, or glasses?

I’ll give you a few minutes to think and to draw the picture of your 8-year-old life. Ready…set…go!

Give preteens several minutes to draw the picture that describes their 8-year-old life.

When most of the preteens have finished, move on to the next section of the teaching time.

Let’s see and hear about what you were doing when you were 8 years old.

(Call on a few preteens to show their pictures and tell about their 8-year-old self.)

You all did a great job describing what was happening when you were 8, but I noticed that none of you mentioned becoming king or president.

Were any of you elected president when you were 8 years old? No??

Today, we’re going be talking about Josiah.

The crazy thing about Josiah is that he became king of Judah when he was just 8 years old!

What would you do if you were declared President of the United States when you were only 8 years old?

What rules or laws do you think you would make? (Pause for responses)

Those are some interesting laws!

If it were me, I’d make school illegal and ice cream would be the official breakfast for all Americans!

It would’ve been easy for Josiah to start making some crazy laws like that, but that’s not what he did.

It was pretty common for young men—like 12 or 14 years old—to become king.

Most of the time, these kings would just do what their parents had done.

They would sit on the throne and make sure that the people followed the rules that his father had made.

But Josiah was different. Listen to what the Bible says about Josiah when he became king.

Read 2 Chronicles 34:1-2

Josiah’s father, Amon, was a wicked King and so was his grandfather, Manasseh.

Both of them worshipped idols and led the people away from God rather than closer to God.

So, when Josiah became King, everyone was watching to see what he would do.

Would Josiah act like his father and grandfather? Or would Josiah do something different?

The Bible says Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed in the step of his ancestor David, who loved the Lord.

At 8 years old, Josiah was probably terrified to be king of an entire nation, but decided to let his faith guide him in making decisions.

Let’s look at some of the things Josiah accomplished while he was King.

First, Josiah set an example by following God, and he destroyed the idols that had been built by his father and grandfather. 2 Chronicles 34:3-4 says,

“In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols. Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles and the idols. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.”

When Josiah was 16, he got serious about following God.

As Josiah grew closer to the Lord, he saw the idols that were coming between the people and God. So, he destroyed all of them.

He went throughout the entire country and destroyed everything that was used to worship idols.

When he was about 20 years old, Josiah wanted to give the people an opportunity to worship the One, True God.

The next big thing Josiah did was when he ordered that the Temple be repaired.

The people had turned to so many other gods and idols, but Josiah wanted the worship of the people to be focused back on God.

While they were repairing the Temple, the High Priest found a book in the Temple.

It was the Book of the Law, or what we have in our Bibles as the book of Deuteronomy.

Apparently, the people had lost this scroll or just forgotten about it. Can you imagine losing part of the Bible??

As Josiah read the Book of the Law, he quickly realized the people had not been obeying all that God had commanded. He called together all the people, and he read the entire Book of the Law to them.

In front of everyone, Josiah recommitted himself and the people to God. They made a pledge to follow God with all their heart and soul, and to obey His commandments.

When Josiah became king at 8 years old, the country was watching him to see what he would do next. Would he follow his father or would he do something different? Listen to the way the Bible describes Josiah’s rule as king:

Read 2 Chronicles 34:33

Josiah’s decision to hold onto his faith and follow God helped the rest of the nation to also follow God.

He was just an 8-year-old boy, but he changed the lives of thousands of people by pointing them back to the One True God.

By the time he was 26, the Temple was repaired and everyone had pledged to follow the Lord.

As a preteen, you are at a very critical point.

For most of your life, you’ve been attached to your parents and they’ve told you what to do and what to say. They have shaped the way you think about pretty much everything, including God and church.

But now, you’ve reached a point when you have to start thinking for yourself.

You are starting to make decisions about what you like and don’t like, what you want to do and don’t want to do, and what you believe and don’t believe.

This is a very important time for you and your relationship with God.

When Josiah was 8 years old, he had to make some decisions about how he would follow God.

It was time for him to take the things he knew about God in his head, and start living like he believed it in his heart.

When he did that, it changed who he was and everything he did. And that changed the world around him.

For you, it’s time for you to take what you have learned about God and start living it.

It’s time for you to make some decisions about who you will be, what will you do, and how you will glorify God in the next 10, 20, 30 years.

I want you to look at the other side of that paper that we used early for your 8-year-old self-portrait.

On this side of the paper, I want you to draw another self-portrait.

I want you to think about yourself at age 18 and draw a picture that describes what you want your life to be like then.

Maybe you’ll draw yourself graduating and heading off to college, playing sports for your high school or college, working in a job that you love, or maybe you’ll draw yourself leading a small group here at church.

You can also write some words that you hope others would use to describe the 18-year-old you.

I’ll give you just a few minutes to think and draw that picture. Ready…Set…Go!

Give preteens a few minutes to draw their 18-year-old self-portrait.

When you see that most preteens are finished, continue with the last portion of the teaching time.

Remind students to keep their self-portraits to use in Small Group.

Look at the picture that you drew of yourself at age 18.

Think about all the things that you’ll be doing and places you’ll be going. Here’s the last question that I want you think about as we close…

What decisions do I need to make right now so that I can bring glory to God when I’m 18?

In other words, how can I start owning my faith in God and living like I believe right now? And how can I keep that going for the next 10, 20, 30 years. Josiah made a decision to follow God.

It wasn’t his parents’ decision or any of the people around him. He owned his faith and lived it out. How can we do the same?

We’re going to head to small groups where you can talk about that question a little bit more.

Let’s pray. 


Read  1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

As a small group, practice memorizing 1 Timothy 4:12.

Use a dry erase board to write the verse.

Recite the verse one time and then erase one or two words.

Continue until the group can recite the verse without help.

You may also want to practice the verse by creating hand motions, rhythm/song, or other method.

Allow small groups to present their motions or song for the other groups if time allows.

After practicing the verse, discuss the following questions as a small group:

How do you think Josiah felt when he became king at 8 years old?

What was the spiritual condition of the country when Josiah became king?

Why do you think Josiah decided to “do what was right in the eyes of the Lord” and follow the ways of David?

What were some of the events/accomplishments that came from Josiah’s decision follow the Lord? How did those accomplishments help the people to turn back to God?

Why do you think it was important for Josiah to destroy everything that had been used to worship idols?

What was Josiah’s reaction when he heard the Book of the Law? Why did he react this way? For help, read 2 Chronicles 34:19-21

What are some ways that you are making decisions for yourself? What responsibilities or freedoms have your parents given you that you’ve never had before?

What does it mean to “own your faith”? Why is this so important?

How can living out your faith help others to do the same?

Note: Spend some time talking about doubts, questions, and other concerns that come with owning our faith. It’s not enough to just believe because mom and dad said it was so. Preteens need evidence to help them believe. Talk about how and when we can safely ask questions and express doubts in a way that will help us to find answers.


Liked this lesson? Then you’ll love this bundle of preteen curriculum we put together:

one year preteen bundle

2 Responses to “Preteen Bible Lesson – Following God (Josiah)

  • I’d like to view this lesson to show my pastor, but I can’t download the PDF. I’ve entered my email 3 times…..

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