Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hezekiah: How Do You Get a Happy Heart?

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 29


From the Journals of Hezekiah



Photo Courtesy
I couldn't believe the mess in the temple of the Lord. Why my father had shut the doors and not allowed worship there is beyond me.

Now that I am king, I will change all of that.

I had ordered the Levites and priests to clean and dedicate themselves and the temple to the Lord. 

Our fathers were unfaithful and did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God. Even I could see that. Our fathers had turned their faces away from the Lord's dwelling place and turned their backs on him. 

They had shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. Unbelievable. How could they do this?

Now God's anger has fallen on those of us here in Judah and Jerusalem. God has allowed us to become something that other people laugh at and mock. No other people wanted anything to do with us. As a result, many of our people have been killed by those who hate us.

I called the Levites and priests for a meeting and said, "I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel to try and turn his fierce anger away from us. The Lord has chosen you to do a job, to lead our people in worship of him. Don't neglect any of your work."

I was very happy to see the Levites and priests take my words seriously. They started their work immediately. 

Sixteen days later the Levites came to my chambers. One stepped forward and said, "King Hezekiah, we have done as you asked. We purified the temple of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table for setting out the bread dedicated to the Lord, with all the necessary pieces that go on it. 

"We have prepared and dedicated to the Lord all the necessary pieces that King Ahaz had removed while he was unfaithful to the Lord. Those items are now in front of the Lord's altar."

Just as quick as the words were spoken, I felt a joy in my heart as if the Lord let me know we were pleasing Him.

The next morning I told the city officials to meet me at the temple of the Lord. We joined the priests, to present sacrifices to the Lord for a sin offering. This we did not just for ourselves, but for all the people of Israel.

The Levites who had been appointed to lead a praise time with cymbals, harps, and lyres just like king David was told to do by Gad and Nathan the prophets stood ready. 

I gave the order to start the sacrifice. As the priests offered the sacrifice, the Levites led singing to the Lord. Trumpets and other instruments of David played along. Everyone in the temple bowed in worship while the singers sang. What a glorious sound. We didn't stop until the sacrifice had been completed.

Even after the sacrifice stopped, the people continued to sing praises and bow in worship of the God of Israel. 

What amazed me the most was the sound of the people's voices. Here that haven't worshipped the one true God for so many years, thanks to my father. Yet they sang with such conviction, praising the Lord as he deserved.

So I said to them, "You have now dedicated yourselves to the Lord. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of the Lord."

And they did! The people brought sacrifices and thank offerings and all who's hearts were willing brought other offerings.

I don't think my heart ever has felt this happy. 


************************************************
1.  Why was the temple a mess?
2.  Who did Hezekiah ask to clean it up?
3.  Did the Levites and priests want to obey Hezekiah?
4.  Did the people want to obey Hezekiah?
5.  What did the people do after the temple was cleaned up?
6.  Why was Hezekiah's heart so happy?

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