Today Hezekiah, king of Judah, tells the people that the wrath of the Lord has been upon Judah and Jerusalem because their fathers have turned their backs on the Lord. Hezekiah says, “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.” Then he commands the Levites to clean the temple. Afterwards, he gathers the leaders from the city to bring offerings to the temple for the Levites to sacrifice to the Lord to atone for all of Israel.
While the Levites are giving the offerings to the Lord, the entire assembly worships with songs and music written by King David and Asaph. Then Hezekiah opens up personal offerings to be brought to the Lord to the entire assembly. “So the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.” The number of offerings brought forward by the people was so overwhelming that the priests asked the Levites to help them until the work was complete. “So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order. Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people, since the events took place so suddenly.”
Hezekiah also brings back the Passover “since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner.” Remember that the Passover is a celebration the Israelites were to have once a year to celebrate the Lord’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt during the Exodus Era. Therefore, Hezekiah sends runners throughout both Israel and Judah with this word: “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. 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. 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. 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.”
Most of the people in the remnant of Israel laugh at the runners but some humble themselves and go to Jerusalem with all of Judah. “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.” However, the multitude of people who came to worship were ignorant of how to prepare themselves for the Passover. “But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.’ And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.”
Then all who are in Jerusalem celebrate the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for double the normal seven day celebration. “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. 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.”
In addition, Hezekiah 1) has the land purged from sacred pillars, wooden images, high places and altars, 2) appoints the priests and Levites to tasks according to his service, 3) establishes a tithing system from the people to support the the priests and Levites, and 4) builds a storeroom for all of the offerings, tithes, and dedicated things which are distributed to the priests and Levites and their families. “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. 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.”
Tomorrow we begin reading some of Hezekiah’s favorite proverbs he collected; so keep reading.
(2 Chronicles 29:3-31:21)