In the last study on King Ahaz, we saw the depths of Ahaz' wickedness
as his worldliness and unfaithfulness to the Lord lead the nation of
Israel into one of their darkest periods ever. It was however, as I'm
sure you remember, what we called the 'darkness before the dawn.' For
the reign of Hezekiah his son, stands in direct contrast to that of his
father Ahaz. Hezekiah's reign was the light of revival and it certainly
shone brightly set against the backdrop of Ahaz' wickedness. This brief
study then will examine Hezekiah's actions in bringing about revival
and faithfulness to Israel once again. This study will be taken from 2
Kings chapter 18 and 2 Chronicles 29-30.
What do you worship instead of God?
2 King 18:1-4 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel,
Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and
he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah
daughter of Zechariah.
He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father
David had done
. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down
the Asherah poles.
He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to
that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was
Following on from his father Ahaz, Hezekiah became King at the ripe old
age of 25 years old... Now that's a lot of responsibility on a young mans
shoulders but thankfully he had a lot of wisdom packed into those 25
years. How is that possible you ask? Well, the answer comes in verse 5
and 6 for we read -
Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like
him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him;
he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.
The NASB says that 'he clung to the Lord'. I like that! Hezekiah's
wisdom and ability to lead Judah came directly from the Lord. Unlike
his father, He followed the Lord with all his heart and the Lord
directed his steps into the ways of righteousness. That of course is
also the meaning of his name for Hezekiah means 'strengthened of
Jehovah'. But getting back to those first few verses, what is it that
Hezekiah did as soon as he became King? We read that he began his reign
by breaking down the false gods and false forms of worship that had
arisen within Israel. In particular, we read that the Israelites had
begun to worship the bronze snake that God had used as a means of
healing in the days of Moses.
They even gave it a great name - 'Nehushtan' - which means 'the bronze
thing'! Always remember that that which God blesses and uses while our
eyes are on Him, He will also curse when it replaces Him. So is there
any 'bronze thing' in your life that you look to instead of the Lord?
The Steps to Revival
Now, after destroying 'the bronze thing', we read of several steps that
Hezekiah put in place which lead to the revival in Judah. These are
listed in 2 Chronicles chapter 29 and 30. They are as follows -
Opened the doors of the house of the Lord
vs 3 In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened
the doors of the temple of the LORD and repaired them.
As we noted in the last study, Ahaz, Hezekiah's father had shut the
doors of the temple so that worship, offerings and instruction from
the Lord would be stopped. Plain wicked. We read that 'in the first
month of the first year' of Hezekiah's reign he opened them again.
No mucking around with this guy! He was here to please His God, not
man. Now, the doors of the church may be open physically, but if
the true gospel is not being preached then they are still closed
spiritually. Hezekiah opened the doors of the temple so that
worship of the right God, in the right way, could proceed. A good
place to start.
Repentance and consecration amongst the leaders
vs 4-5 He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in
the square on the east side and said: 'Listen to me, Levites!
Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the LORD,
the God of your fathers. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary...'
We see next that Hezekiah made sure that things were right at the
top! The leadership of Israel needed to repent
and be consecrated. They had allowed practices which were contrary
to the word of the Lord to take place. So cleansing had to start
with them. It was D.L Moody that said 'The best way to revive a
church is to build a fire in the pulpit!'
The house of the Lord cleansed
vs 15-17 When they had assembled their brothers and consecrated
themselves, they went in to purify the temple of the LORD, as the
king had ordered, following the word of the LORD. The priests went
into the sanctuary of the LORD to purify it. They brought out to
the courtyard of the LORD's temple everything unclean that they
found in the temple of the LORD. The Levites took it and carried it
out to the Kidron Valley. They began the consecration on the first
day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the month they
reached the portico of the LORD. For eight more days they
consecrated the temple of the LORD itself, finishing on the
sixteenth day of the first month.
The next part was cleansing the house of the Lord. In all this took
16 days to do! I can only imagine the state of idolatry that they
had allowed. Obviously today there is no one 'house of the Lord'
except believers themselves. We need to remember that our bodies
are the temple for the Holy Spirit. That alone can be quite
convicting. Is your 'house' clean for the Lord? Paul wrote:
'Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not
your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with
your body.' (1 Cor
See also 2 Tim
-21 concerning cleansing and it's relationship to 'being useful to
Offerings and worship restored
27-30 Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on
the altar. As the offering began, singing to the LORD began also,
accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of
Israel. The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the singers sang
and the trumpeters played. All this continued until the sacrifice
of the burnt offering was completed. When the offerings were
finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and
worshiped. King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to
praise the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So
they sang praises with gladness and bowed their heads and
Next it was important that the sacrifices, offerings, and worship
be restored. What Israel had had, was a religion devoid of any true
offering to the Lord. We see also in the next chapter that the
Passover was celebrated once again. Talk about leaving out the most
important element! It is a picture of Christianity without Christ.
It is, unfortunately, a picture of many churches throughout the
world that simply become some kind of social club, totally leaving
out the essential elements upon which communion with God is
achieved. Hezekiah was wise enough to make sure that all was
established as it should according to the word of God, so that true
worship could once again be given to the one who deserves it all.
May we see this as well!
The results of consecration
2 Chron 30:6-12 At the king's command, couriers went throughout Israel
and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which
'People of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of
Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who
have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. Do not be like your
fathers and brothers, who were unfaithful to the LORD, the God of their
fathers, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. Do not
be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; submit to the LORD. Come to the
sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the LORD your God,
so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. If you return to the
LORD, then your brothers and your children will be shown compassion by
their captors and will come back to this land, for the LORD your God is
gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you
return to him.'
The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as
, but the people scorned and ridiculed them. Nevertheless, some men
of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to
. Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of
mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered,
following the word of the LORD.
So the couriers were sent out proclaiming 'return to the Lord! - Do not
be stiff-necked.' Because of the state of the peoples hearts we read
that many 'scorned and ridiculed them' but 'some men' repented, humbled
themselves and went to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. We live in
difficult times and the church in the west is in a mess. It is hard
enough being a Christian at the best of times without having such
conflicting messages presented by different churches and leaders
as we have today. But nether the less, God will always have His 'some
people'. He will always have His 'some' that are willing to consecrate
themselves and follow His ways. May you be one of the 'some'. May you
also be able to be used by the Lord - to be willing to go out to
encourage the people back to the Lord. The only thing that stopped
repentance and revival coming initially to Nineveh in the days of Jonah
was Jonah's reluctance to go to them. We all need to remember that.
Vs 26 There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon
son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in
Jerusalem. The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and
God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling
I'll just end with this encouraging verse. What was the end of
Hezekiah's actions? Well, it was great joy, great unity, and great
revival amongst those of Israel who were willing to consecrate
themselves. In fact, the word of God says that 'since the days of
Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in
Jerusalem'. It was true revival for the people (without any animal
). Hezekiah was an awesome man of God that brought about tremendous
change within the nation of Israel. Places, people and circumstances
may change, but the principles of renewal outlined in the word of God
do not. May we learn from them for our own lives.
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.
The incident is recorded in Num 21:8-9 and it is a wonderful
picture of the healing that comes from looking in faith to what
Jesus did on the cross. See John 3:14-15. It was however, never
meant to be worshipped in and of itself! The human heart is strange
like that. It always likes something it can 'see'. Nearly all forms
of false religion have its idols and false worship of images. The
Roman Catholic Church must have its pictures of baby Jesus, its
statues of Mary and its crucifixes with Jesus still on the cross.
Nothing has changed even though the second commandment of the big
ten should prevent such things (Ex 20:4). This is no different from
apostate Israel in the times of Hezekiah.
It is essential to always keep your eyes on the giver of any gift,
and not the gift itself. God warned the Israelites in Deut 8:7-18
that he would give them wealth and prosperity but they had to be
very careful that they didn't then look to that wealth and forget
the Lord. The Lord may give you a great pastor of your church. If
so, thank Him for that. But don't worship your pastor! Sometimes
the Lord uses an author or teacher to help us. That's fine but
don't let that person take the place of the Lord! It can even be
your own spiritual gift. The Lord may enable you to teach or preach
or something else. Great... Good for you! But always remember that it
is the Lord's gifting and enabling, not yours.
I've just recently been reading 'My Calvary Road' by Roy Hession.
In it he gives his testimony concerning his life and journey with
the Lord. At one point he writes 'I discovered that revival doesn't
come by doing some big thing, but rather by being cleansed of
little things, That is, in effect, what Naaman had to see; 'My
father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst
thou have done it? How much rather then when he saith to thee, wash
and be clean?' ' (2 Kings 5)
Fellowship with God and with one another is based on 'walking in
the light'. (1 John 1.5-10) That is, not hiding things from the
Lord (because He sees all anyway!) but by being transparent and
open about our ways - willing to repent where and when it is
One of the local pastors where I live recently wrote an article for
the newspaper for all to read. It was entitled - 'You need more
money.' In it he took a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes out
of context and wrote that 'money is the answer for everything.'
Now, even a brief reading of Ecclesiastes would show the casual
reader that Solomon wrote against this kind of thinking - but here
it is, published in the local newspaper for all to see by a well
known pastor. I wonder what those in the world think when they see
us craving that which they desire. It's just plain wrong! It's
Laodicea all over again. All I can say is make sure your heart is
right with the Lord and that you are following His truth, not mans.
Sorry, couldn't resist a little, not so subtle dig at what people
used to try to passed off as revival a few years ago - that is the
so called 'Toronto Blessing'. When true revival occurs, as we see
from the time of Hezekiah, then there is repentance and
consecration, not chicken noises!