Hezekiah Reigns in Judah
29 Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.
Hezekiah Cleanses the Temple
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 and said to them, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the LORD, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place. For our fathers 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 habitation of the LORD and turned their backs. They also shut the doors of the vestibule and put out the lamps and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the Holy Place to the God of Israel. Therefore the wrath of the LORD came on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes. For behold, 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, in order 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 the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; and of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the 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 and consecrated 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 uncleanness that they found in the temple of the LORD into the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took it and carried it out to the brook Kidron. They began to consecrate 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 consecrated the house of the LORD, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished. Then they went in to Hezekiah the king 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 showbread and all its utensils. All the utensils that King Ahaz discarded in his reign when he was faithless, we have made ready and consecrated, and behold, they are before the altar of the LORD.”
Hezekiah Restores Temple Worship
Then Hezekiah the king rose early and gathered the officials of the city and went up to the house of the LORD. And they brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom and for the sanctuary and for Judah. And he commanded the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the LORD. So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests received the blood and threw it against the altar. And they slaughtered the rams, and their blood was thrown against the altar. And they slaughtered the lambs, and their blood was thrown against the altar. Then the goats for the sin offering were brought to the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them, and the priests slaughtered them and made a sin offering with their blood on the altar, to make atonement for all Israel. For the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel.
And he stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David and of Gad the king’s seer and of Nathan the prophet, for the commandment was from the LORD through his prophets. The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. Then Hezekiah commanded that the burnt offering be offered on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song to the LORD began also, and the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded. All this continued until the burnt offering was finished. When the offering was finished, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshiped. And Hezekiah the king and the officials commanded the Levites to sing praises to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed down and worshiped.
Then Hezekiah said, “You have now consecrated yourselves to the LORD. Come near; bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the house of the LORD.” And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all who were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings. The number of the burnt offerings that the assembly brought was 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the LORD. And the consecrated offerings were 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep. But the priests were too few and could not flay all the burnt offerings, so until other priests had consecrated themselves, their brothers the Levites helped them, until the work was finished—for the Levites were more upright in heart than the priests in consecrating themselves. Besides the great number of burnt offerings, there was the fat of the peace offerings, and there were the drink offerings for the burnt offerings. Thus the service of the house of the LORD was restored. And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because God had provided for the people, for the thing came about suddenly.
2 Chronicles 29 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Sometimes watching someone else fall is enough motivation to change course. The ramifications of choices of another can be something that brings about a resolve personally to make choices we don’t do the same.
This could have been the motivation for the incredible leadership of Hezekiah. He was one king who brought about great reforms to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. There is no doubt part of his godly choices was based upon the way he was raised. His mother was Abijah, a daughter of Zechariah who was mentioned by Isaiah in Isaiah 8 as a faithful witness. Her friendship with the powerhouse prophet Isaiah would have made an impact on her. Consequently, that impact was passed onto her children.
But the other reality was not soon after Hezekiah took the throne he watched as the Northern Kingdom fell. The rogue nation had given into idol worship and was overrun by the Assyrians 6 years after the crown rested on his brow. The consequences of the Northern Kingdom’s demise was a living example of those who rejected God and His commands. Hezekiah was determined to follow God and would go to whatever necessary reforms needed within his kingdom.
Throughout the stories of Hezekiah, we see a king who had an incredible prayer life. He was attuned to his God. He brought about civil and religious reforms even going so far as removing the high places, which few kings would do. The Temple of God whose doors had been nailed shut during his father’s reign were reopened. The Passover would be reinstituted. Hezekiah was most concerned about living in obedience daily.
Revival burst forth across the nation of Judah.
2 Kings 18 sums up his life:
“He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. 6 For he clung to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.”2 Kings 18:5-6
God’s desire is the same for each of us. And He will go to whatever length to bring us into such a state of obedience even at the cost of watching someone else who has walked away from Him. Our actions today are a statement of our heart. They also are fodder for what tomorrow looks like and how closely not only we will follow but others as well.
2 Chronicles 29 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
In the first month…
There were many decisions that needed attention when coming into power as a king. Certainly, there would have been personal decisions, political decisions, military decisions and economic decisions. There was so much to do.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.Luke 12:48b NASB
It makes me think of our current political culture. A new president is evaluated based on how much he or she accomplishes in the first 100 days. It’s a measurement that started with FDR when he signed a ridiculous 76 bills into law during his “First 100.”
For Hezekiah, it would be his first 30 days. What would he do? Where would he start to address all of the issues of the past? He would begin with the highest priority that would affect everything else – spiritual worship.
In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them.2 Chronicles 29:3 NASB
It’s a basic but powerful message. When you are given responsibility and authority, where are your priorities? Do you try and repair the issues that plague you by focusing on everything else instead of your faith? Trust me, I have learned recently that when we obsess over fixing some issue in our life without taking it to God, it will, many times, result in heartbreak. Jesus is not just the highest priority. He is the lens through which we view our priorities. He will be faithful to direct our steps.