- 2 Chron. 29:3-36; 30:1-27; 31:1-21
Each of us has only one life to live. It's one of the first lessons we learn—that people are born, they grow up, grow old and eventually they die—but it's also one of the easiest lessons to forget. We easily get wrapped up in life's little moments and, before you know it, a year(s) has passed! We look back and say, "Where did the time go? Seems like yesterday I..." Hezekiah is a great example of a person who took advantage of their one life to do what's right, and to make a difference for those around them.
Recall that Hezekiah's father was Ahaz. Ahaz was a wicked man who did a lot to stir up the anger of the LORD, even closing down the temple of GOD. Despite GOD's progressive discipline, the more Ahaz was in need, the more fiercely he rejected GOD. Thankfully, an evil man can have a righteous son, and that's exactly what happened with Hezekiah.
Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king. He wasted no time restoring the temple of the LORD and turning the hearts of the people back to GOD.
3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them. 4 Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, 5 and said to them: “Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. 6 For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the LORD our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the LORD, and turned their backs on Him. 7 They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. 8 Therefore the wrath of the LORD fell upon Judah and Jerusalem, and He has given them up to trouble, to desolation, and to jeering, as you see with your eyes. 9 For indeed, because of this our fathers have fallen by the sword; and our sons, our daughters, and our wives are in captivity.
10 “Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense.”
(2 Chron. 29:3-11 NKJV)
The Levites and, eventually, the priests got the message and got with the program. They did as Hezekiah ordered.
18 Then they went in to King Hezekiah and said, “We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, the altar of burnt offerings with all its articles, and the table of the showbread with all its articles. 19 Moreover all the articles which King Ahaz in his reign had cast aside in his transgression we have prepared and sanctified; and there they are, before the altar of the LORD.”
(2 Chron. 29:18-19 NKJV)
The very next morning, Hezekiah got the city officials together and they went to the temple. They offered sacrifices before the LORD. Hezekiah restored the temple worship according to the pattern laid out by David. Everyone bowed in worship and the singers and musicians praised the LORD. Hezekiah was thorough and wasted no time in reestablishing proper worship in Judah.
1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the LORD God of Israel. 2 For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month. 3 For they could not keep it at the regular time, because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem. 4 And the matter pleased the king and all the assembly. 5 So they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner.
6 Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the command of the king: “Children of Israel, return to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel; then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see. 8 Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. 9 For if you return to the LORD, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.”
10 So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.
13 Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month.
(2 Chron. 30:1-13 NKJV)
21 So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing to the LORD, accompanied by loud instruments. 22 And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the LORD; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers. 23 Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness.
(2 Chron. 30:21-23 NKJV)
25 The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27 Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.
(2 Chron. 30:25-27 NKJV)
20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the LORD his God. 21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.
(2 Chron. 31:20-21 NKJV)
Wow! What an amazing example of a godly man! I would've liked to have known King Hezekiah. I look forward to talking with him in heaven. He was no doubt a man passionate about His GOD and set upon pleasing Him in how he lived. Like Hezekiah, you and I are faced with a choice. We can follow in the footsteps of others around us who do evil—perhaps even our own father or mother—or we can choose to give our hearts to GOD and follow after Him and receive abundant, purpose-driven and rewarding life, both today and in the life to come. Be like Hezekiah! Give yourself completely to GOD.