Introduction: This chapter records the reforms of one of Judah’s greatest kings, Hezekiah. Because of the faith and obedience of Hezekiah and later Josiah, Judah lasted 136 years longer than Northern Israel (722 B.C. to 586 B.C.). From Hezekiah’s reforms, God reveals seven lessons for finding and maintaining spiritual renewal. These include: (1) having faith, (2) changing your sinful ways, (3) repenting of your sins, (4) obeying God’s Word, (5) Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, (6) humble worship, and (7) thanksgiving for God’s mercy and grace.
First, Hezekiah was the first king to have the faith to fully follow God’s Word. Hezekiah had the faith to follow God’s Word as it is written and ignore public opinion and tradition. From his example, God reveals spiritual renewal is impossible when you lack the faith to follow God’s Word. Second, Hezekiah’s reforms began by restoring true worship in Judah. He cleansed the Temple of its idols and smashed the pagan high places that every king since Solomon had tolerated. From Hezekiah’s example, God reveals that spiritual renewal will not succeed unless you change your sinful behavior. Third, Hezekiah then led the people in publicly confessing their sins. Unless you confess your sins, you are likely to return to them again. Fourth, the priests responded to Hezekiah’s example by obeying God’s Word. If you do not obey God’s Word, your attempts at finding and maintaining spiritual renewal will inevitably end in failure. Fifth, the priests then led the people in blood sacrifices to atone for their sins. Jesus died as a one-time sacrifice for everyone’s sins. Without His blood of atonement, spiritual renewal would not be possible. Sixth, in response to God’s forgiveness, Hezekiah led the nation in humble worship. Without worship, your spiritual renewal is also unlikely to last. Finally, Hezekiah led the nation in thanking God for His mercy and grace. Unless you are thankful for the mercy and grace that Jesus has shown in your life, your spiritual renewal is also unlikely to last long.
Hezekiah reigned with a faith like David. After living under the reign of one of the worst kings of Judah, God blessed Judah with the reformer king Hezekiah. Because he lived by faith like King David, he did “did right in the sight of the Lord”: “Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.” (2 Chr. 29:1-2). The book of Kings reveals that his faith led to fully obey God’s Word. This included removing the many pagan altars from the country and restoring proper worship: “3 He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan. 5 He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. 6 For he clung to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.” (2 Kgs. 18:3-6). Hezekiah was the King of Judah for 29 years, from 727 to 686 B.C. His name means “Yahweh Has Strengthened”. His name summarized what God did for him. Each time he stepped out in faith to follow God, God strengthened him and blessed him.
King Hezekiah removes the idol of the bronze serpent, along with other idols1
Hezekiah’s faith was the key to Judah’s survival. Hezekiah came to the throne near the end of Northern Israel. The armies of Assyria laid siege to Samaria, the capital of Northern Israel, three years after his reign began. Three years after the siege began, Northern Israel was captured and sent into captivity. Hezekiah understood that Northern Israel fell because they rebelled against God. Thus, Hezekiah lived closer to God in his faith than any king since David. The following chapters chronicle how his faith allowed the small state of Judah to survive the onslaught of the stronger Assyrian army.
Hezekiah’s reforms began by reforming the Temple. Because Hezekiah recognized that Judah’s problems stemmed from spiritual corruption under King Ahaz, Hezekiah’s reforms began with cleansing of the Temple: “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 He brought in the priests and the Levites and gathered them into the square on the east. 5 Then he said to them, ‘Listen to me, O Levites. Consecrate yourselves now, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry the uncleanness out from the holy place.” (2 Chr. 29:3-5). Ahaz placed his people under spiritual bondage by creating an Assyrian temple for the Jews to use for worship (2 Chr. 28:22-23). Ahaz also threw out of the Temple the means that God set up for cleansing sin (2 Chr. 28:24-25). He also removed the bronze laver used to wash the priests following any blood sacrifices (2 Kgs. 16:17-18). Hezekiah therefore urged the priests to “consecrate” themselves and “carry the uncleanness out from the holy place”, a clear reference to the pagan idols that Ahaz had placed inside the Temple. Hezekiah knew that spiritual renewal first requires reform.
Hezekiah restored the Temple and proper worship2
Hezekiah had the faith to destroy all the idols when every king before him failed to do so. Following the evil reign of his father Ahaz, Hezekiah smashed the pagan idols in Judah, and he restored proper worship both in the Temple and throughout the country: “Has not the same Hezekiah taken away His high places and His altars, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before one altar, and on it you shall burn incense?”’ (2 Chron. 32:12). “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; and he did what was good, right and true before the LORD his God.” (2 Chron. 31:20; 30:1-27; 29:2-36). “After his father had turned Judah into a vassal state of Assyria, Hezekiah also revolted against Assyrian domination in or around 705 B.C. The Bible records that “He did right in the sight of the Lord.” (2 Chr. 29:2). Besides Hezekiah, only two other kings of Judah had this honor. The second was Josiah (2 Kgs. 22:2). A third king named Asa also held this honor at the beginning of his reign (1 Kgs. 15:11). But he then refused to remove the pagan high places, and he used the gold in the Temple to form an alliance with the Syrians against Northern Israel (1 Kgs. 15:14, 18-22). Thus, there are only two kings of Judah who can be considered to be holy throughout their reigns. Unlike all the prior kings of Judah and the Kings of Northern Israel, Hezekiah trusted in God, and he stayed faithful and obedient (2 Kgs. 18:5). But this did not mean that he did not sin. Instead, he was a righteous man of faith. His faith led to his obedience. Like David, he also trusted God and always repented whenever he sinned (e.g., 2 Kgs. 20:3; Is. 38:3).
Hezekiah fully obeyed God’s Word when no other king would do so. Sadly, Hezekiah was the first king of Judah to obey God’s commanded to destroy the pagan high places that God commanded that Jews destroy “You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces.” (Ex. 23:24; 34:13; Dt. 12:2-7, 13-14). As part of his zeal for purity before God, he destroyed the bronze serpent (the “Nehushtan”) that God used to save the Jews in the wilderness (Nu. 21:4-9). The Nehushtan foreshadowed Jesus’ death on the cross (Jo. 3:14-15). But the Jews had turned it into an idol. Thus, Hezekiah destroyed it to keep the Jews’ worship on God (2 Kgs. 18:4). All his actions required incredible faith. Many would have questioned why they needed to obey all of God’s laws when the prior kings refused to do so. Your obedience also requires faith. Most people do not obey all of God’s Word because their church leaders don’t do this. But God wants you to read His Word and let the Spirit apply it. You should never let public opinion or tradition decide whether you fully obey God’s Word.
Live as a holy and consecrated new creation for Jesus at all times. When you accept Jesus, you become a “new creation”, with your old life passing away: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Cor. 5:17). To live as a new creation, you must seek to be holy. Both Hezekiah and Moses called upon the Jews to “consecrate” themselves (Ex. 19:6-10). God’s call to be holy is repeated throughout the Bible: ‘“For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.”’ (Lev. 11:44). ‘“Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.”’ (Lev. 19:2). “You are to be my holy people.” (Ex. 22:31). These instructions also apply to Christians: “for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:16). “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7:1). “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (Ja. 4:17). God will not withhold any good thing when you walk with Him (Ps. 84:11). Is there any part of your walk that you need to clean up?
Hezekiah led the nation to repent of its past sins. To ensure that the people continued to live holy lives, Hezekiah led the Jews in a public confession of their prior sins: “6 For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done evil in the sight of the Lord our God, and have forsaken Him and turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and have turned their backs. 7 They have also shut the doors of the porch and 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 was against Judah and Jerusalem, and He has made them an object of terror, of horror, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes. 9 For behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. 10 Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His burning anger may turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister to Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense.’” (2 Chr. 29:6-11). Although unpopular in many churches today, spiritual renewal cannot happen without the confession of sin.
Hezekiah also led the nation to repent of its sins
Rebellion against God’s Word leads to spiritual darkness. Hezekiah confessed that the Jews had experienced “the wrath of the Lord” and had become “an object of terror, of horror” because of their sins (2 Chr. 29:8). The prophet Azariah had also previously revealed to the people that they lived in darkness and distress because they had forsaken God’s Word: “3 For many days Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law. 4 But in their distress they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him. 5 In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for many disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 Nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress.” (2 Chr. 15:3-6). Judah’s idolatry could be traced back to Solomon. He turned from God and worshiped some of the pagan gods (1 Kgs. 11:5-7). The Jews paid a heavy price of darkness and misery because of his sins.
God’s prior warnings that rebellion would lead to suffering and darkness. God made conditional promises of blessing to Moses that depended upon the Jews’ obedience (Dt. 28:1-14; Lev. 26:1-13). God also made a similar conditional promise to David (2 Sam. 7:12-16). God later repeated that He would impose discipline upon Solomon’s descendants if they disobeyed Him: “6 But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight. So Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 8 And this house will become a heap of ruins; everyone who passes by will be astonished and hiss and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ 9 And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them, therefore the Lord has brought all this adversity on them.’’” (1 Kgs. 9:6-9). God’s prophetic warnings included promises that He would: (1) destroy the Temple (1 Kgs. 9:7); (2) expel the Jews (1 Kgs. 9:7; Dt. 29:24-28); and (3) the Jews would become pariahs amongst the nations (1 Kgs. 9:7; Dt. 28:37). God, however, gave the Jews many further warnings before He fulfilled His warnings. He later allowed foreign armies to destroy the Temple in 586 B.C. He also allowed the Jews to be taken into both Assyrian and then Babylonian captivity. The Jews were then derided by the pagans.
Hezekiah confessed that the Jews had been unfaithful and had turned from God. Hezekiah led the priests in publicly confessing that the Jews had been “unfaithful”, that they had “done evil” and had “forsaken” God (2 Chr. 29:6). He knew that repentance would not be genuine if it included excuses. He further stated that Jews had “turned their faces away” from God (2 Chr. 29:6). This was both a literal and a spiritual statement. Under King Ahaz, the priests moved the bronze altar “from the front of the house” and “put it on the north side of his altar.” (2 Kgs. 16:14). This literally put their backs to God. Spiritually, the Jews had also turned their backs against God by desecrating the Temple and embracing pagan idolatry. Hezekiah understood that the Jews in both Northern Israel and Judah had suffered defeat because they had turned against God (2 Chr. 29:9-10). If your repentance includes blame for anyone but yourself, it is not genuine, and it is unlikely to last long.
Hezekiah urged the priests not to continue in their negligence. Hezekiah’s corporate confession of sin included a new “covenant” (2 Chr. 29:10). This covenant included an exhortation for the priests to never again be complicit in sin: “11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister to Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense.’” (2 Chr. 29:11). Moses cleansed the Levites so that God could use them as His instrument to cleanse the people: “Take the Levites from among the sons of Israel and cleanse them.” (Nu. 8:6). Ahaz misused the High Priest as his instrument to desecrate God’s holy Temple (2 Kgs. 16:10-11). Ahaz also assumed the role of priest in performing the pagan sacrifices while the priests did nothing (2 Kgs. 16:12-16). In contrast, a prior High Priest risked his life by confronting King Uzziah when he sought to usurp the role of the priests by conducting sacrifices (2 Chr. 26:20). Believers are normally required to submit to human authority: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,” (1 Pet. 2:13, 17; Ro. 13:1-5). But that rule does not apply when a believer is asked to violate God’s law. Churches should never put their political interests above God’s law.
Renewal will not last without repentance. When the Jews returned from exile, Ezra led the Jews in a similar public repentance: “Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day.” (Ezra 9:7). After the return from exile, Nehemiah also led the Jews in a similar act of public repentance: “let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father's house have sinned.” (Neh. 1:6). Nehemiah also led the Jews in a similar process of cleansing and renewal: “Then I gave an order and they cleansed the rooms; and I returned there the utensils of the house of God with the grain offerings and the frankincense.” (Neh. 13:9). Repentance did not end with the Old Testament. In preparation for Jesus, John the Baptist called all sinners to repent. ‘“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’ (Matt. 3:2). Jesus also began His ministry with a call to repentance: “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’ (Matt. 4:17; Lk. 18:13.) If you say that you are without sin, the truth is not in you (1 Jo. 1:8). Yet, if you confess your sins, Jesus will forgive you: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). Have you confessed your sins? If not, you will likely return to your sins.
The priests obeyed Hezekiah’s calling. The priests showed their public repentance by changing their ways. The Bible recalls by names the leaders who consecrated themselves and cleansed the Temple: “12 Then the Levites arose: Mahath, the son of Amasai and Joel the son of Azariah, from the sons of the Kohathites; and from the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; and from the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah; 13 and from the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeiel; and from the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; 14 and from the sons of Heman, Jehiel and Shimei; and from the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. 15 They assembled their brothers, consecrated themselves, and went in to cleanse the house of the Lord, according to the commandment of the king by the words of the Lord. 16 So the priests went in to the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and every unclean thing which they found in the temple of the Lord they brought out to the court of the house of the Lord. Then the Levites received it to carry out to the Kidron valley. 17 Now they began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they entered the porch of the Lord. Then they consecrated the house of the Lord in eight days, and finished on the sixteenth day of the first month. 18 Then they went in to King Hezekiah and said, ‘We have cleansed the whole house of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering with all of its utensils, and the table of showbread with all of its utensils. 19 Moreover, all the utensils which King Ahaz had discarded during his reign in his unfaithfulness, we have prepared and consecrated; and behold, they are before the altar of the Lord.’” (2 Chr. 29:12-19). The Temple was so polluted that it took 16 days to remove all of the pagan idols and influences (2 Chr. 29:17). The priests then restored all the utensils used for sacrifices that Ahaz had removed (2 Chr. 28:24; 2 Kgs. 16:17-18).
Judah’s prior spiritual reforms also included vows of obedience. Hezekiah likely looked to the example of one of Judah’s few prior spiritual reformers, King Asa. Asa also led the nation in spiritual renewal by leading the people in a public vow or commitment to follow God’s Word: “14 Moreover, they made an oath to the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets and with horns. 15 All Judah rejoiced concerning the oath, for they had sworn with their whole heart and had sought Him earnestly, and He let them find Him. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.” (2 Chr. 15:14-15). At that time, the Jews did more than merely make a public vow. They “rejoiced” at the opportunity to do so. But the Jews did not keep their vows and instead returned to their sins.
Obedience is a sign of someone living in the fellowship of a covenant relationship. God told the Jews that their obedience was a sign that they were in a covenant relationship with Him: “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;” (Ex. 19:5). “God said further to Abraham, ‘Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.”’ (Gen. 17:9). Are you living in a covenant relationship with Jesus through your obedience?
Public vows of obedience were important throughout the Old Testament. After receiving the Ten Commandments, Moses had the 70 elders and the people make public vows to accept it: “3 Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!” (Ex. 24:3). Joshua did this as well (Josh. 8:34-35). God did not want His people to forget His law. Thus, at least once every seven years during the festival of Tabernacles, also called Booths or “Sukkot”, God required that Jews listen to the public reading of the law as a body (Dt. 31:9-13). Josiah later led the people in a similar renewal their covenant with God: “1 Then the king sent, and they gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem . . . And all the people entered into the covenant.” (2 Kgs. 23:1-3). God wanted the Jews to make public vows so that they would take their vows seriously. The Jews could also keep each other accountable.
God also wants you to publicly confess your faith in His New Covenant. Like the Jews, God also wants you to publicly confess your faith and agreement to the New Covenant: “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ -- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” (Ro. 10:8-9). If you confess Jesus to be Lord and Savior before others, He in turn will confess you in heaven: “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God;” (Lk. 12:8; Matt. 10:32). Are you sharing the good news of the Gospel with others? (Matt. 28:16-20).
Jesus is not your Lord if you refuse to do what He says. Hezekiah was a role model because his faith produced the fruit of obedience. Without works, a person’s faith is dead: “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” (Jam. 2:17) A believer may proclaim Jesus as Lord. Yet, Jesus is not your Lord if you disobey Him: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matt. 7:21). “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Lk. 6:46). “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (Jam. 1:22). “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24). “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matt. 7:26). Is your faith evidenced through obedience to Jesus’ Word?
The priests sacrifice animals to atone for the nation’s sins. After restoring the Temple, the priests then sacrificed 28 animals to atone for the nation’s sins: “20 Then King Hezekiah arose early and assembled the princes of the city and went up to the house of the Lord. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, the sanctuary, and Judah. And he ordered the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the Lord. 22 So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. They also slaughtered the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar; they slaughtered the lambs also and sprinkled the blood on the altar. 23 Then they brought the male goats of the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them. 24 The priests slaughtered them and purged the altar with their blood to atone for all Israel, for the king ordered the burnt offering and the sin offering for all Israel.” (2 Chr. 29:20-24). Out of his zeal for God, Hezekiah “arose early” to join in the process of atonement (2 Chr. 29:20). But he did not repeat the sins of his great-grandfather Uzziah in trying to lead the sacrifices himself (2 Chr. 26:16-23). Hezekiah instead followed the example of King Asa when he sought to cleanse Judah of its idolatry. He allowed the priests to lead all of Judah in sacrificing 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep (2 Chr. 15:9-13).
Hezekiah led the nation to atone for their sins with sacrifices3
Hezekiah did more than the minimum in seeking to atone for the people’s sins. Normally, a guilt offering for the entire nation only required the offering of a single bull without defect: “13‘Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty; 14 when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a bull of the herd for a sin offering and bring it before the tent of meeting. 15 ‘Then the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD, and the bull shall be slain before the LORD.” (Lev. 4:13-15). Hezekiah showed his zeal in atoning for the nations’ sins by offering seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs and seven goats (2 Chr. 29:21).
God desires a contrite and repentant heart. Without the shedding of blood, there could be no atonement for the Jews’ sins: “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebr. 9:22). Thankfully, Jesus fulfilled the law as a one-time sacrifice: “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14). But this doesn’t mean that there is nothing for you to do. You can still offer Jesus the sacrifice of a contrite and humble heart: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, o God, You will not despise.” (Ps. 51:17). Have you given thanks to Jesus for dying on the cross for you? If you continue to sin, your confession is not sincere.
Hezekiah also led the nation in worship. After leading the nation in repentance and atonement, Hezekiah then led the nation in worshiping God: “25 He then stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with harps and with lyres, according to the command of David and of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for the command was from the Lord through His prophets. 26 The Levites stood with the musical instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 Then Hezekiah gave the order to offer the burnt offering on the altar. When the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord also began with the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David, king of Israel. 28 While the whole assembly worshiped, the singers also sang and the trumpets sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. 29 Now at the completion of the burnt offerings, the king and all who were present with him bowed down and worshiped. 30 Moreover, King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to sing praises to the Lord with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with joy, and bowed down and worshiped.” (2 Chr. 29:25-30). The worship was not limited to the priests. Instead, it included “the whole assembly.” The worship also was done in humility. The king and everyone else “bowed down” as they worshiped. Hezekiah knew that without continual worship the people would drift back into their sins.
The priests were meant to lead the Jews in worship. To stress the importance of worship, David repeatedly instructed the priests in their worship duties: “Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.” (1 Chr. 15:16). “He appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the LORD, even to celebrate and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel:” (1 Chr. 16:4; 1 Chr. 23:5). Today, church leaders have an equally important duty in leading the people in worship. Believers also have an equally important duty to respond by actively worshiping Jesus.
Worship will set your heart to stay on the right path. Worship can prepare your heart to live for God in joyful devotion. You should humbly acknowledge Jesus as the rock of your salvation: “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,” (2 Sam. 22:47). “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Sam. 22:3). “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.” (Dt. 32:4). “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps. 18:2, 31, 46; 19:14). Your worship should also be joyful: “Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, ‘All my springs of joy are in you.’” (Ps. 87:7; Ps. 126:2; Job 8:21; Ps. 51:14). Are you joyfully praising Jesus, the Rock of your salvation? If not, you may find yourself drifting back into your old sinful ways.
Hezekiah also led the nation in professing thanksgiving to God. Finally, Hezekiah led the nation in thanking God for His mercy and grace: “31 Then Hezekiah said, ‘Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the house of the Lord.’ And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all those who were willing brought burnt offerings. 32 The number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. 33 The consecrated things were 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep. 34 But the priests were too few, so that they were unable to skin all the burnt offerings; therefore their brothers the Levites helped them until the work was completed and until the other priests had consecrated themselves. For the Levites were more conscientious to consecrate themselves than the priests. 35 There were also many burnt offerings with the fat of the peace offerings and with the libations for the burnt offerings. Thus the service of the house of the Lord was established again. 36 Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly.” (2 Chr. 29:31-36). The second set of animal sacrifices were not required to atone for the people’s sins. They were instead voluntary sacrifices to express the people’s gratitude. The outpouring of gratitude was so strong that the non-priest Levites had to help the Levite priests with the large number of sacrifices from the people.
Be filled with joyful praise. When God shows mercy and grace in your life, you should also give Him praise: “To you I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord, I shall pay my vows to the Lord.” (Ps. 116:1, 17-18). “ . . . I will render thank offerings to You. For you have delivered my soul from death.” (Ps. 56:12-13; 116:8). “. . .Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.” (Ps. 107:1, 2, 22). “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18). “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;” (Eph. 5:20). “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15). Are you giving God praise for His deliverance? Without praise for God’s mercy and grace, you are again likely to return to your old sins.