2 Chronicles 29:1-29:36
…Because It Was Done So Quickly!
2 Chronicles 29
The reason I chose this present passage to begin the New Year is given to us in verse 17.
Everything that was carried out in this chapter occurs in the first month of the Jewish religious calendar, which corresponds with our March/April.
What a fantastic way for us to begin the New Year!
In other words, to start by taking the holy decision to correct and renew our lives and to carry out works worthy of such correction and consecration.
On the first day of their year under the leadership of their new King Hezekiah, the Israelites began the purification of the Lord’s Temple and completed this cleaning in sixteen days.
2 Chronicles chapter 29 describes a spiritual revival, a unique, amazing spiritual reformation, and a formula is given to us, a model if you will, so that WE, TOO, can taste and enjoy by the grace of God a spiritual REVIVAl.
The recipe is very simple and 3-fold:
-consecration and purification
-sacrifices and offerings
-worship and singing.
Nothing new, nothing fancy, nothing unknown, nothing different, but the same old recipe of God that always works.
Think about it: what does revival mean?
In Greek the word carries the idea of rekindling the fire; we push aside the ashes, re-light the fire and keep the fire hot and strong by throwing a lot of kindling wood. Anazopureo: Ana-again, Zo-life, Pur-fire.
Let us take a look at this revival’s characteristics in the PROPER order.
First, a few things about King Hezekiah:
When Hezekiah became King, at 25 years of age and reigned for 29 years, the condition of the whole country, Jerusalem and the Temple, was pathetically tragic, and perhaps it brings to mind the condition and state of many churches today:
1.The doors of the temple were closed and sealed shut, see verse 7.
This symbolizes the total lack of approaching God.
Especially when we don’t carry out the verse, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,” Hebrews 4: 16.
His father Ahaz did all this! 2 Chronicles 28: 24.
2.Lamps that had been put out, verse 7.
This shows the lack of witnessing: “In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven,” Matthew 5: 16.
3.They did not burn incense, verse 7.
Prayers were not raised to the Holy Presence of God: “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice,” Psalm 141: 2.
4.They did not present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary, verse 7.
The burnt offerings in the book of Leviticus is an amazing and unique symbol of total dedication where they would offer their best. They would offer it every day, morning and evening in Old Testament times, and in the New Testament, Romans 12: 1-2.
All of these things were missing from the Temple, and all of these things are clear signs of God’s people distancing themselves, with painful and dire consequences, verses 8-9.
So what did EXIST in the Temple that was the heart of religious life in the Old Testament?
There were impurities, there was dirt and dust, there was rubbish, there were cobwebs, there was rust on the furnishings, his father had taken away all the sacred furnishings so that the Priests could not carry out worship to the Living God, 2 chronicles 28: 24 – but above all else there were unclean idols.
How greatly must young Hezekiah have suffered, how great a number of tears he must have shed, seeing his idolatrous father and the frightening impertinence and indifference of the people!
How great must young Hezekiah have suffered seeing the doors of the Temple sealed shut, being able to do absolutely nothing, hoping that the time would soon come that he would take over power and make drastic changes, and perhaps in this way he would rekindle and awaken the zeal of the worshippers which had by this time grown cold, it had completely vanished.
So then, what did the King do?
It all starts with consecration, verse 5.
We cannot speak of a church and of working for God without a consecration, a self-cleansing, a transparency, a holy life.
The consecration, the purification comes before service to God, verses 5, 11!
Neglecting consecration is a great sin because God (who is Holy) has honored us by giving us the great holy right to serve him and he must therefore expect from us analogous and holy response.
Consecration means I step aside, to straighten things out, to live differently.
Consecration means I am with the Lord. The Lord dresses me, he adorns me, he guides my every move, he guides my day, he guides my every breath.
Consecration means that I have the confidence to ask the Lord everyday:
Do you like my life? Do you take joy in it? Do you take pride in it?
What does holy mean?
Look at your Bible, the HOLY Bible says, we have the HOLY city of Jerusalem, the HOLY Temple, the HOLY furnishings, the HOLY saints of the New Testament.
Why all these things?
What do all these people and things have in common being described as holy?
Answer: They all belong to God!
ILL. Surgical tools that before and after every operation are put into a sterilizing chamber of high heat, which kills all the dangerous microbes and pathogens, and in this way the tools and even surgical scrubs are sterilized.
We are the tools in the hands of the Holy God and we must be holy in order to be used successfully by Him!
2 Tim. 2:21 (note the order: first holy, then useful)
ILL. The animal called ermine and inhabits upper northern Europe. Its hair is snow white. When hunters find its nesting ground, its home, they smother it with tar, which is pitch black, then when the hunting dogs chase the ermine, it will run to its home but not enter it so that it will not dirty itself. The ermine would rather be caught than to dirty itself by getting tar on its white fur.
Consecration is to the inner self what good health is to our outer human body.
In the following verses, 9-19, the work of the Levites and priests is described.
The fourteen Levites who took part are mentioned by name not because they were the heads of their families, but because they were the more zealous and most active out of all the others.
When God wants to carry out his holy and sacred mission, he doesn’t care who are the prominent and most famous in the public’s eyes, but rather who are the most holy and zealous, who stand out in their zeal and their dedication.
The fourteen Levites not only dove in and got straight to work, but also succeeded in bringing together the rest of the Levites, and altogether began the mission in accordance with the King’s edict and of course in agreement with the Word of God, verse 15.
When they completed the God-favored work that would bring favor to God they immediately went to inform the King, verses 18-19.
If we really want REVIVAL, if we really want a change for the better, an improvement, if we really want God’s blessing in our church, we too must definitely begin at the same point they did:
We must begin by consecrating and cleaning ourselves!
We must clean out whatever rubbish we have in our lives first and then in the church.
I believe the order shown in the Bible is:
-Lord revive me, Psalm 138: 7
-Lord revive us, Psalm 85: 6
-Lord, revive your deeds, Habakkuk 3: 2
We must also clean out the religious garbage we have accumulated, our fake piety and devotion, our OWN ideas and perceptions, our OWN plans, our OWN agendas, which only HINDER the worship of our Holy God, a worship “in spirit and truth.”
Revival will not come if we do something new or smart, if we invent some way of attracting new people to our church.
Revival will not come if we try harder and add some more new ministries in our church.
Revival will come with the same old way, the only right way, the way of God, 2 Chronicles 7: 14!
Repentance and confession, and then dedication, Romans 12:1-2.
On the next day, bright and early in the morning, King Hezekiah is in the Temple.
Is the Temple ready? It is, and the King, who cannot be held back, greatly hurries to worship God and to straighten out his own state of affairs and the state of affairs of the entire nation with him.
So, he wastes no time trying to gather his people, and that’s why in this stage of the story he calls only the city officials so that he can begin the process as soon as possible, verse 20.
The first thing they did was to offer sacrifices for the sins of all, not only of the royal family but of all the people, verses 21-24.
The narrative in verse 23 is very moving…
The King and the rest of the leaders laid their hands on the goats, which were about to be sacrificed, in this way confessing that they were sinners, and at the same time expressing their wish that their sins would be transferred upon the animals.
We can do the same.
We can lay our sinful hands and touch our savior Jesus Christ in faith that He suffered for us, and in our repentance and confession we give him all of our sins.
At the same time, along with the sacrifices, the worship of God with music and singing began, verses 25-36 (especially verses 27-28), as David and the prophets had established it, according to the Lord’s command, verse 25.
Look at the humble worship and profound devotion of Hezekiah (kneeling) and all his people, verse 29, and note two more things:
1.Even when we are sorry for our sins we must not stop the worshipping of the real God.
2.It is not enough to be present in a place where God is worshipped if we, too, will not worship him, and of course not with the outward appearances of devotion, but with all of our heart, soul and mind.
It is not with animal sacrifices and rituals but when we bring to sacrifice our faults, weaknesses, bad habits, our hearts become a clean sanctuary where worship is given to God that is pleasing to him, with an aroma emanating with our genuine love.
All of them enjoyed it and rejoiced, verse 36, because the religious revival had already begun and the people had returned to God!
It was done so quickly and without objection.
They all saw the hand of God intervening, and it was plain to see, and he changed the hearts of the people, and the way God saw his people had changed!.
What will we do then?
I hope we will do what Gypsy Smith did.
ILL. Gypsy Smith, a British evangelist during the late 19th and early 20th century said the way to have revival is to draw a circle around yourself, get down on your knees and pray, “Lord send a revival and let it begin inside of this circle.”