2 Chronicles 29 (NLT)
Hezekiah Rules in Judah
Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the king of Judah,
“May you live in interesting times,” the old Chinese curse (fortune?) goes. Certainly Hezekiah lived in interesting times! Three years after he came to the throne, the Assyrians set siege to Samaria, the capitol of the Northern Kingdom. Three years later, Israel fell. What a clear lesson to the young king! See what happens when God’s people dismiss God’s Word and worship idols!
and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done.
Hurray! Another good king!
2 Kings 18:5-7 (NIV)
Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.
Hezekiah Reopens the Temple
3 In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple of the Lord and repaired them. 4 He summoned the priests and Levites to meet him at the courtyard east of the Temple. 5 He said to them, “Listen to me, you Levites! Purify yourselves, and purify the Temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary. 6 Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God. They abandoned the Lord and his dwelling place; they turned their backs on him. 7They also shut the doors to the Temple’s entry room, and they snuffed out the lamps. They stopped burning incense and presenting burnt offerings at the sanctuary of the God of Israel.
8 “That is why the Lord’s anger has fallen upon Judah and Jerusalem. He has made them an object of dread, horror, and ridicule, as you can see with your own eyes. 9 Because of this, our fathers have been killed in battle, and our sons and daughters and wives have been captured.
“He made no attempt to blame on God the calamities which had overtaken the nation.”
–G. Campbell Morgan
10 But now I will make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer! The Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him, and to lead the people in worship and present offerings to him.”
12 Then these Levites got right to work:
From the clan of Kohath: Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah.
From the clan of Merari: Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel.
From the clan of Gershon: Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah.
13 From the family of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeiel.
From the family of Asaph: Zechariah and Mattaniah.
14 From the family of Heman: Jehiel and Shimei.
From the family of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15 These men called together their fellow Levites, and they all purified themselves. Then they began to cleanse the Temple of the Lord, just as the king had commanded. They were careful to follow all the Lord’s instructions in their work. 16 The priests went into the sanctuary of the Temple of the Lord to cleanse it, and they took out to the Temple courtyard all the defiled things they found. From there the Levites carted it all out to the Kidron Valley.
17 They began the work in early spring, on the first day of the new year, and in eight days they had reached the entry room of the Lord’s Temple. Then they purified the Temple of the Lord itself, which took another eight days. So the entire task was completed in sixteen days.
Eight days just to carry out all the rubbish and trash and stuff. Reminds me of those “Hoarders” shows on television . . .
The Temple Rededication
18 Then the Levites went to King Hezekiah and gave him this report: “We have cleansed the entire Temple of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table of the Bread of the Presence with all its utensils. 19We have also recovered all the items discarded by King Ahaz when he was unfaithful and closed the Temple. They are now in front of the altar of the Lord, purified and ready for use.”
20 Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials and went to the Temple of the Lord. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, and seven male lambs as a burnt offering, together with seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the Temple, and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, to sacrifice the animals on the altar of the Lord.
22 So they killed the bulls, and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. Next they killed the rams and sprinkled their blood on the altar. And finally, they did the same with the male lambs. 23 The male goats for the sin offering were then brought before the king and the assembly of people, who laid their hands on them. 24 The priests then killed the goats as a sin offering and sprinkled their blood on the altar to make atonement for the sins of all Israel. The king had specifically commanded that this burnt offering and sin offering should be made for all Israel.
Look at how carefully King Hezekiah works! He gets up early to take care of things. He orders the work to be done according to the instructions of God. He includes more than the required sacrifice, and he does not forget praise and worship . . .
25 King Hezekiah then stationed the Levites at the Temple of the Lord with cymbals, lyres, and harps. He obeyed all the commands that the Lord had given to King David through Gad, the king’s seer, and the prophet Nathan. 26 The Levites then took their positions around the Temple with the instruments of David, and the priests took their positions with the trumpets.
27 Then Hezekiah ordered that the burnt offering be placed on the altar. As the burnt offering was presented, songs of praise to the Lord were begun, accompanied by the trumpets and other instruments of David, the former king of Israel.
Psalm 43:4 (NIV)
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
28 The entire assembly worshiped the Lord as the singers sang and the trumpets blew, until all the burnt offerings were finished. 29 Then the king and everyone with him bowed down in worship.
To WORSHIP is to:
- quicken the conscience by the holiness of God,
- feed the mind with the truth of God,
- purge the imagination by the beauty of God,
- open the heart to the love of God, and
- devote the will to the purpose of God.
30 King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to praise the Lord with the psalms written by David and by Asaph the seer. So they offered joyous praise and bowed down in worship.
31 Then Hezekiah declared, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, bring your sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings to the Temple of the Lord.”
Hebrews 13:15-16 (NIV)
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
So the people brought their sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings, too. 32 The people brought to the Lord 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 male lambs for burnt offerings. 33 They also brought 600 cattle and 3,000 sheep and goats as sacred offerings.
34 But there were too few priests to prepare all the burnt offerings. So their relatives the Levites helped them until the work was finished and more priests had been purified, for the Levites had been more conscientious about purifying themselves than the priests had been. 35 There was an abundance of burnt offerings, along with the usual liquid offerings, and a great deal of fat from the many peace offerings.
So the Temple of the Lord was restored to service. 36 And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had done for the people, for everything had been accomplished so quickly.
Hezekiah was wise in making worship such a priority. “Every human being’s first priority should be to acknowledge God’s worth. That, for example, is how the ten commandments begin (Exodus 20:3-6), it is the reason for Jesus’ obedient death on the cross, and it is the chief characteristic of the community in heaven (Revelation 4:1-5:14; 22:1-9).”
–Martin J. Selman
Time to worship. May it always be a blessed time, a joyful time, a cleansing time.
George Askins was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States as an adult. A Methodist, he became an itinerant preacher, mostly in Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky. He died in 1816. HERE is one of his pieces, “Brethren, we have met to worship.” It is sung in bluegrass gospel style by the MacDonald Family Singers
1 Brethren, we have met to worship
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
2 Brethren, see poor sinners round you
Slumb’ring on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving,
Can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers,
And our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
3 Sisters, will you join and help us?
Moses’ sister aided him;
Will you help the trembling mourners
Who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior,
Tell them that He will be found;
Sisters, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
4 Let us love our God supremely,
Let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners,
Till our God makes all things new.
Then He’ll call us home to heaven,
At His table we’ll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself, and serve us
With sweet manna all around.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.