2 Chronicles 31: Lessons from Hezekiah on the Evidence of a Nation’s Spiritual Renewal

Introduction: Hezekiah was a great spiritual reformer. He removed idols that had existed for generations, and he was the first leader to observe the Passover in generations. This chapter records how his faith led to a spiritual renewal within the nation of Judah and with many Jews in the then occupied Northern Israel. From Hezekiah’s actions, God reveals seven signs of a nation that has undergone spiritual renewal. These include: (1) public obedience, (2) spiritual reform, (3) sacrifice, (4) tithing, (5) blessing others, (6) accountability / integrity, and (7) God’s success.

First, Hezekiah’s actions led the people in both Judah and the then occupied Northern Israel to destroy their idols. From this account, God reveals that spiritual renewal should produce the fruit of public obedience. Second, Hezekiah reformed and organized the priesthood to ensure ongoing obedience and worship. Spiritual renewal should also produce Spirit-led reforms. If not, a nation will inevitably return to its sins. Third, Hezekiah gave from his best resources to provide for the nation’s daily sacrifices and its other festivals for God. This inspired the people to follow his example. Spiritual renewal should also produce a desire to sacrifice for God out of gratitude. Fourth, in response to Hezekiah’s call, the people tithed more than the law required. Spiritual renewal should also produce a desire to joyfully give to God. Fifth, Hezekiah responded by blessing God and the people. Spiritual renewal should also produce a desire to be a blessing to others. Sixth, Hezekiah appointed Spirit-led leaders to oversee the management of God’s resources. Spiritual renewal should also produce the fruit of accountability and integrity. Finally, because of his faith-led obedience, God blessed Hezekiah and Judah with success. Spiritual renewal also produces God’s blessing of success in all that a nation does for Him.

1. Public Obedience: Spiritual Renewal Produces the Fruit of Obedience. 2 Chr. 31:1.

  • The people respond to Hezekiah’s spiritual reforms by destroying their idols. After experiencing the joy of being in God’s presence during the Israel’s first Passover celebration since the prophet Samuel, the people responded by ripping down their idols: “1 Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah, broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the Asherim and pulled down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the sons of Israel returned to their cities, each to his possession.” (2 Chr. 31:1). The book of Kings also records that Hezekiah’s faith inspired the people to rip down the pagan altars that had existed in Judah since Solomon’s reign: “He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. 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. 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. 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). The reforms extended to “Ephraim and Manasseh” (2 Chr. 31:1). This means that the Jews in the now occupied Northern Israel also agreed to rip down their idols as well, something they previously refused to do. Hezekiah’s leadership and obedience brought about a spiritual renewal amongst all the Jews. This in turn caused the people to want to obey God out of their own devotion.

Hezekiah’s leadership inspired the people to destroy their idols1

  • Hezekiah inspired the people to obey God’s Word when no other king would do so. Sadly, Hezekiah was the first king of Judah to obey God’s command to destroy the pagan high places: “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). Yet, 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. Yet, 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.

  • 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?

2. Reform: Spiritual Renewal Should Produce Spirit-Led Reforms. 2 Chr. 31:2.

  • Hezekiah reformed the priesthood to ensure ongoing worship. Hezekiah knew that reforms had failed in the past. Thus, he reformed and organized the priesthood to ensure ongoing obedience and worship: “And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites by their divisions, each according to his service, both the priests and the Levites, for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister and to give thanks and to praise in the gates of the camp of the Lord.” (2 Chr. 31:2). David originally organized the priesthood to ensure that both the kings and the people obeyed God’s Word and properly worshiped Him (1 Chr. 23:1-26:32). King Asa tried to reform Judah (2 Chr. 15:8-19). But his reforms did not outlive him because the leaders who followed him were not accountable to God’s Word. Thus, Judah drifted back into darkness. Hezekiah tried to correct this cycle of sin by reinstating David’s original priesthood reforms. Without reform in your life, your spiritual renewal will not likely last long.

Hezekiah reformed the priesthood to ensure ongoing worship2

  • God chose the Levites to serve Him. God called upon the Levites to be His servants. “At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to serve Him and to bless in His name until this day.” (Dt. 10:8). “For the LORD your God has chosen him and his sons from all your tribes, to stand and serve in the name of the LORD forever.” (Dt. 18:5). One of their many duties was to guide the people to ensure that they stayed on a holy path. “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” (Prov. 4:18). Judah frequently declined when the priests stayed silent in the face of sin.

  • As a part of Jesus’ royal priesthood, help to guide others. Today, every believer in Christ is part of His Holy priesthood. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;.” (1 Pet. 2:5). “[A]nd He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father-- to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:6). As part of His priesthood, you are also a co-builder of His Church: “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor. 3:9). Jesus is the true light of the world (Jo. 8:12). Today, you are meant to reflect Jesus’ light “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;” (Matt. 5:14). Are your actions a light to the lost?

  • Without Spirit-led leaders, the people will naturally drift into rebellion. Without godly leaders, “. .. every man did what was right in his own eyes.” (Jdgs. 17:6(b); 21:25.) Both then and now, God warns believers not to adopt a relativistic standard of morality: “You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes;” (Dt. 12:8.) Moses also warned that the people would return to rebellion and disobedience without guidance: “27 For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the Lord; how much more, then, after my death? 28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands. 30 Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were complete:” (Dt. 31:27-30). Are you voting for godly leaders and praying for the Spirit to convict leaders who reject God’s Word?

  • Stay pure and obey Jesus, or Satan will turn your heart against Jesus. Your spiritual renewal will not likely last unless you remove influences that cause you to sin: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnerships have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘and do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:15-18). Have you taken steps to separate yourself from evil influences and to guard your heart?

3. Sacrifice: Spiritual Renewal Produces a Desire to Sacrifice for God. 2 Chr. 31:3.

  • Hezekiah led by example by offering his best animals for daily sacrifices. To ensure that his reforms would last, Hezekiah also gave from his best animals to allow for the priests to perform the daily sacrifices for the nation that God set forth in His law: “He also appointed the king’s portion of his goods for the burnt offerings, namely, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths and for the new moons and for the fixed festivals, as it is written in the law of the Lord.” (2 Chr. 31:3). God required two offerings each day: “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously.” (Ex. 29:38; Nu. 28:4). It was the king’s duty to provide these offerings to lead the nation in worship and atonement: “Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.” (Ezekiel 45:17).

  • Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for your redemption. The animal sacrifices foreshadowed Jesus. He was sacrificed for your redemption: “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 Jo. 2:2). “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;” (Ro. 3:25). He also perfected the need for any future animal sacrifices: “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14). You can respond by making your life a living sacrifice.

  • If you are grateful to Jesus, offer your life as a sacrifice of praise. When you accept Jesus, you become a “new creation”, with your old life passing away (2 Cor. 5:17). Out of gratitude, this should motivate you to give the best of your life to Him in 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). Is your sacrifice for God limited to going to church on Sundays? Without boasting before others, can you identify anything in your life that you have sacrificed for Jesus?

  • Your sacrifice for Jesus should include living a holy life. Jesus bought your body for a terrible price on the cross: “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:20). Show your gratitude by being a “living sacrifice” for Him: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Ro. 12:1) You can do this by staying holy: ‘“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?

4. Tithing: Spiritual Renewal Should Produce a Desire to Joyfully Give. 2 Chr. 31:4-7.

  • The people joyfully respond to Hezekiah’s call to support the priesthood. Motivated by Hezekiah’s example, the people responded to his calling by joyfully giving to support the priests: “Also he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the law of the Lord. As soon as the order spread, the sons of Israel provided in abundance the first fruits of grain, new wine, oil, honey and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of all. The sons of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of sacred gifts which were consecrated to the Lord their God, and placed them in heaps. In the third month they began to make the heaps, and finished them by the seventh month.” (2 Chr. 31:4-7). The duty to tithe a part of a person’s produce or earnings was part of the Mosaic law in the Torah (Dt. 14:22; 12:16; Lev. 27:30; Nu. 18:21). Hezekiah required compliance with the law. But the people did more than what the law required in their giving. They gave in “abundance the first fruits” (2 Chr. 31:5). This means that they gave more than they were required to give. And, they gave from their best animals and produce. They gave in such abundance that it took four months for the priests to receive their gifts (2 Chr. 31:7).

Hezekiah inspired to the people to give generously3

  • The priesthood was God’s gift to the people. God called upon the people to support the priesthood because they were meant to serve them: “To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting.” (Nu. 18:21). “The first of all the first fruits of every kind and every contribution of every kind, from all your contributions, shall be for the priests; you shall also give to the priest the first of your dough to cause a blessing to rest on your house.” (Ezek. 44:30). Tithing was important because it freed the Levites to “devote themselves to the law of the Lord.” (2 Chr. 31:4). This in turn allowed the Levites to be a light to the people. Every good and perfect thing comes from God (Jam. 1:17). “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s. It is holy to the LORD.” (Lev. 27:30). Thus, failing to tithe from the things that He gives you is a form of robbery against Him (Mal. 3:8-10). Church leaders, missionaries, and others who sacrifice for God are worthy of part of your wages (1 Tim. 5:17-18). Are you faithfully supporting those who are serving God?

  • Faithfully tithing from God’s resources is a sign of your gratitude. Although part of the Mosaic law, the duty to tithe preceded the law. After receiving God’s blessing, Abraham set an example for all believers by giving a tenth of what he received back to God: “He gave him a tenth of all.” (Gen. 14:20(b)). The book of Hebrews clarifies that Abraham gave a tenth of his best spoils from the war for Melchizedek’s priesthood: “Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils.” (Heb. 7:4). Following Abraham’s example, his grandson Jacob gave a tenth to God as a tithe (Gen. 28:22). Like Abraham, the Jews were to tithe only their best things to God: “You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God.” (Ex. 23:19(a); 34:26). “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.”’ (Lev. 23:10; Nu. 18:13; Dt. 26:2, 10). “Honor the LORD from your wealth and from the first of all your produce;” (Prov. 3:9). When giving is done without any expectation for reward, He will give back more than you gave Him (Mal. 3:10). As a faithful steward of God’s monies, do you give Him the best of your time, talent, and treasure?

  • Let your offerings be given joyfully. God never wants you to give out of obligation. Instead, He loves a cheerful giver who gives joyfully out of gratitude: “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:6; 1 Cor. 16:1-4). When
    Moses called for the people to give to build the Tabernacle, the people joyfully gave far more than was needed (Ex. 36:5-7). Are you giving out of obligation or cheerfully?

5. Blessings: Spiritual Renewal Produces a Desire to Bless Others. 2 Chr. 31:8-10.

  • Hezekiah and his leaders blessed God and the people. In response to the generosity of the people, Hezekiah and his elders blessed God and the people: “When Hezekiah and the rulers came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord and His people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. 10 Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok said to him, ‘Since the contributions began to be brought into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat with plenty left over, for the Lord has blessed His people, and this great quantity is left over.”’ (2 Chr. 31:8-10). The people had previously neglected the priests. Thus, they struggled to feed themselves. The High Priest Azariah’s statement that there was now leftover food marked a temporary end to their neglect. The priests would have given the excess to the poor.

  • A spiritually renewed nation received God’s blessings. The Jews were blessed to have Yahweh as their God: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” (Ps. 33:12). “How blessed are the people who are so situated; how blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!” (Ps. 144:15). “Blessed are you, O Israel; who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, who is the shield of your help and the sword of your majesty! So your enemies will cringe before you, and you will tread upon their high places.” (Dt. 33:29). Out of gratitude, Hezekiah blessed God and the people. You too can pray blessings out of gratitude.

  • In Jesus’ name, you have the power to bless. Paul also gave prayers of blessings (called a benediction) to others. In many traditional church services, the priest says a blessing to the congregation, and the congregation blesses the priest. Any Christian is part of God’s holy priesthood, not just those in the pulpit (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). When you pray in Jesus’ name, you also have the power to bless others: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (Jo. 14:13-14). “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” (Jo. 15:16). “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” (Jo. 16:23). His name is so powerful that the archangel Michael was able to drive Satan away merely by rebuking him in Jesus’ name (Jude 1:9). Are you blessing others with the power that Christ has given you? Or, do your words tear people down?

  • Bless others by helping those in need. In addition to praying prayers of blessings, you should also bless others with your conduct. This includes helping the poor “And he would answer and say to them, ‘The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”’ (Jo. 3:11). “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Heb. 13:16). Are you taking personal steps to help someone in need? Or, do you expect others to do this?

  • Bless others by helping to stop injustice. Being a blessing also means that you are God’s salt and light against injustice in the world. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). “To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice.” (Prov. 21:3). Do you stand against injustice in the world? Or, do you expect someone else to take care of this?

6. Accountability: Spiritual Renewal Produces Church Accountability. 2 Chr. 31:11-19.

  • Hezekiah selected Spirit-led overseers to manage God’s resources. Hezekiah sought to ensure that the tithes of the people were not waisted, embezzled, or squandered. Thus, he selected Spirit-led Levites to manage the distribution of these resources: “11 Then Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them. 12 They faithfully brought in the contributions and the tithes and the consecrated things; and Conaniah the Levite was the officer in charge of them and his brother Shimei was second. 13 Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath and Benaiah were overseers under the authority of Conaniah and Shimei his brother by the appointment of King Hezekiah, and Azariah was the chief officer of the house of God. 14 Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the keeper of the eastern gate, was over the freewill offerings of God, to apportion the contributions for the Lord and the most holy things. 15 Under his authority were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah and Shecaniah in the cities of the priests, to distribute faithfully their portions to their brothers by divisions, whether great or small, 16 without regard to their genealogical enrollment, to the males from thirty years old and upward—everyone who entered the house of the Lord for his daily obligations—for their work in their duties according to their divisions; 17 as well as the priests who were enrolled genealogically according to their fathers’ households, and the Levites from twenty years old and upwards, by their duties and their divisions. 18 The genealogical enrollment included all their little children, their wives, their sons and their daughters, for the whole assembly, for they consecrated themselves faithfully in holiness. 19 Also for the sons of Aaron the priests who were in the pasture lands of their cities, or in each and every city, there were men who were designated by name to distribute portions to every male among the priests and to everyone genealogically enrolled among the Levites.” (2 Chr. 31:11-19). Solomon built the Temple with storage rooms (1 Kgs. 6:5-8; Ezek. 40:17). Hezekiah was wise enough to use this space to store the people’s gifts until it was needed (2 Chr. 31:11). He also appointed Conaniah to manage these gifts to ensure that they were not mismanaged. Conaniah in turn delegated to other faithful men (2 Chr. 31:12-15). These overseers faithfully distributed resources each day to those who served God, along with their families (2 Chr. 31:15, 18). As another part of David’s reforms, Levites could begin serving at age 20 instead of the prior age of 30 (2 Chr. 31:16-17).

  • God’s appointed priests helped to ensure accountability. God wants believers to be accountable to each other to ensure that members of the Body of Christ stay strong in the face of temptation. Believers are commanded to “shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;” (1 Pet. 5:2). “Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’” (Jo. 21:17). “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28). “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.” (Jer. 3:15). “Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds;” (Prov. 27:23). “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Eph. 5:21). “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; . . .” (1 Pet. 5:5). Are you accountable for your actions before a small group of believers in your church?

  • Have integrity in your dealings with others. God wants accountability to ensure that you are holy and act with integrity (Lev. 11:44; 19:2; Ex. 22:31; 1 Pet. 1:16). You are also an “ambassador” for Jesus (2 Cor. 5:20). Are you a holy witness to the light of Jesus?

7. Success: Spiritual Renewal Produces God’s Blessing of Success. 2 Chr. 31:20-21.

  • Under Hezekiah, Judah prospered because he faithfully served with all his heart. Hezekiah was one of Judah’s greatest kings because his goal was limited to serving God with all his heart. Because he sought God first, God provided for his other needs: “20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; and he did what was good, right and true before the Lord his God. 21 Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered.” (2 Chr. 31:20-21). The Bible also 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). Yet, 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).

God blessed Hezekiah for his faith-led obedience4

  • If you seek to faithfully serve God, He will provide for your other needs. Hezekiah did not serve to prosper himself. Instead, he followed David’s advice to seek God with all his heart: “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; . . .”
    (1 Chr. 22:19; 28:9). He prospered because he followed David’s advice. Jesus makes the same promise to every believer as well: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33). This was the secret to Solomon’s God-given prosperity: “I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days.” (1 Kgs. 3:13). If your faith produces the fruit of obedience to God, He will also bless your endeavors for Him: “So keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.” (Dt. 29:9). “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:7). “And men will say, ‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth!”’ (Ps. 58:11). “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” (2 Chr. 15:7). If you will seek Jesus first and focus on serving His Kingdom, He will provide for your needs.

  • An obedient nation will be exalted over other nations. If a country is obedient to God, He promises to exalt that country above other nations. “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God:” (Dt. 28:1-2; 26:19). When David was obedient, God blessed Israel by exalting it above the nations: “And David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted, for the sake of His people Israel.” (1 Chron. 14:2). As a result of the obedience that came from his faith, God also turned Abraham’s descendants into a great nation: “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing.” (Gen. 12:2). If you will pray for the nation’s spiritual renewal, it can also enjoy God’s blessings.

  • An obedient nation will be blessed with success. Hezekiah’s faith-led obedience would soon allow the small nation of Judah to withstand an invasion from a massive army from Assyria. God will also bless an obedient nation in all that it does: “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.” (Dt. 28:6). The words “when you come in” and “when you go out” is a literary expression called a “merism.” By stating that the Jews will be blessed when they come in and when they go out, God was promising to bless them in all that they did. For example, as a result of the obedience that came from Abraham’s faith, he was blessed with success in everything he did, this was true even in his old age (Gen. 24:1). Likewise, as a result of his faith and obedience during his testing, God rewarded Job by allowing him to live to be 140 (Job 42:16). If the nation will turn to God, He will also bless it in all that it does for Him. Are you praying and fasting for your nation to turn to God and obey Him?