2 Chronicles 29:1-19 (NRSV)
Hezekiah renews worship of God
Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old; he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, just as his ancestor David had done.
In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites and assembled them in the square on the east. He said to them, "Listen to me, Levites! Sanctify yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and carry out the filth from the holy place. For our ancestors have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God; they have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the dwelling of the Lord, and turned their backs. They also shut the doors of the vestibule and put out the lamps, and have not offered incense or made burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. Therefore the wrath of the Lord came upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he has made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes. Our fathers have fallen by the sword and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger may turn away from us. My sons, do not now be negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence to minister to him, and to be his ministers and make offerings to him."
Then the Levites arose, Mahath son of Amasai, and Joel son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; and of the sons of Merari, Kish son of Abdi, and Azariah son of Jehallelel; and of the Gershonites, Joah son of Zimmah, and Eden son of Joah; and of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel; and of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; and of the sons of Heman, Jehuel and Shimei; and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. They gathered their brothers, sanctified themselves, and went in as the king had commanded, by the words of the Lord, to cleanse the house of the Lord. The priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and they brought out all the unclean things that they found in the temple of the Lord into the court of the house of the Lord; and the Levites took them and carried them out to the Wadi Kidron. They began to sanctify on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the vestibule of the Lord; then for eight days they sanctified the house of the Lord, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished. Then they went inside to King Hezekiah and said, "We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the table for the rows of bread and all its utensils. All the utensils that King Ahaz repudiated during his reign when he was faithless, we have made ready and sanctified; see, they are in front of the altar of the Lord."
Ah! I truly admire King Hezekiah's desire to return his people to the true worship of God and to restore the temple.
His example is a good one for all of us who know and love the Lord because it is a reminder that we are able to positively influence those around us by our example and witness.
Sometimes as Christians I fear that we keep our mouths shut because we don't believe that sharing Christ will matter. We're afraid that nothing will change. We're afraid that people will make fun of us.
But, Hezekiah is a reminder that when we share our love of God it can be contagious. When we strive to be good leaders, people will follow. When we ourselves are true worshipers, it inspires others to worship as well.
Hezekiah called the people to "sanctify themselves." But, on this side of the cross we know that we are only sanctified by the Blood of the Lamb.
I don't know about you, but I've tried to sanctify myself. I try to be good, but I fail time and again. I have a sin-sickness called sin and without the love and grace of God it would be eternally terminal.
But, Love gave Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sin and gift us with eternal life. Now, we know that Jesus' blood is the antidote for our sin-sickness.
As we put all of our hope in Him, we learn that we are loved and forgiven by God. We can't out sin, out fox, or out run the love of God that has been revealed to us in Christ Jesus!
Today, I want to invite all of us to turn into the open arms of God. No matter what you may think, you CAN come to God. You've not messed up so bad that God won't forgive you. You've not hurt others so bad, that God doesn't want you. You're not such a "bad person" that you can't be a Christian.
These are lies that the world tells us, but they are not true. The Truth is that God loves you. Jesus died for you. And the Holy Spirit wishes to fill up your heart with love, joy, and peace. The Truth is that as soon as you ask God to forgive you, YOU ARE FORGIVEN, and because you are forgiven you will inherit eternal life.
Shake off the lies my friend. GRACE IS WAITING FOR YOU.
Let us pray:
Good and gracious God, I come to you admitting that I have messed up. I have sinned. I have done wrong. I have hurt people and hurt myself. I'm not proud and I need you help. Please forgive me of my sin and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Please help me to start all over again. I believe that Jesus did die on the cross to forgive my sin and grant me eternal life. Thanks for doing that for me. I know that you can make things right. I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you just prayed that prayer for the first time, today you are a Christian! I would be so honored if you would take a moment to let me know that you put all of your hope in Jesus today by clicking YES in the upper right hand corner of this blog in answer to the question, "Did God save you today?"
I also pray that you will tell a Christian friend about your decision, so that s/he can help you find a good Bible believing church to attend where you can be baptized and grow in your faith.
Congratulations! Your salvation is our good news. Please share the good news with someone today!