By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 29-32
Key Scripture Verses: 2 Chronicles 31:20-21 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.”
There is a definite pattern in 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles of good kings and bad and how their reigns went. When the people followed God closely, they prospered; and, when the people did not follow God but worshiped idols, it brought their downfall. Judah went through a series of kings with this pattern. There were a few good kings and a lot of kings influenced by evil. This section tells us about Hezekiah who was one of the good ones.
Hezekiah took the throne at age twenty-five and was king of Judah for twenty-nine years. He quickly turned Judah around with a spiritual revival at a time when they really needed it. His father Ahaz had not trusted God to help when Judah’s rivals had attacked and had adopted the idol worship of the Assyrians. Hezekiah did the complete opposite.
Hezekiah had the Levites re-consecrate themselves and to purify the temple for worship. They offered burnt offerings to the Lord, they worshiped with David’s musical instruments, praising God with music. They praised the Lord with psalms and worshiped him. They confessed their sins, consecrated themselves to God, gave thanks, restored peace and fellowship among the people, and restored the worship service of the temple.
Hezekiah reminded the people of how God had taken care of them when they were faithful to him. He reminded them of the Passover and reestablished the Passover feast. And the people responded with a zeal that put even the Levite priests to shame and that inspired the priests to rededicate themselves to their work, increasing their faith.
The scriptures indicate that there was joy in Jerusalem to such a degree that had not been enjoyed by the people since the days of Solomon (2Chronicles 20:26).
And for this time the people were right with God. To recap this for ourselves: the people confessed their sins, they got rid of false gods and worshiped the God of their ancestors who had proven his love and compassion for them, they remembered to give thanks, they remembered to praise God, they remembered to worship with music, praise, and prayer. They gathered as a community of believers and they worshiped as one body.
We, too, can be right with God by doing the same things. We can choose to follow him or we can choose to defy him with idolatry. We have had lesson after lesson through the scriptures and many of us have learned this for ourselves the hard way. He really does love us. He really does want what is best for us. He is forgiving and compassionate. We need only accept his gift. He calls us. He seeks us. He stands at the door and knocks. May we invite him in to stay.