Those who begin with God begin at the right end of their work and will prosper accordingly. Let us do our part to revive the work of God and ascribe to Him all the glory of what is done.
II Chronicles 29
1 Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.
3 ¶ He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them.
4 And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street,
5 And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.
6 For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs.
7 Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel.
8 Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes.
9 For, lo, 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 mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us.
11 My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.
12 ¶ Then the Levites arose, Mahath the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites: and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehalelel: and of the Gershonites; Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah:
13 And of the sons of Elizaphan; Shimri, and Jeiel: and of the sons of Asaph; Zechariah, and Mattaniah:
14 And of the sons of Heman; Jehiel, and Shimei: and of the sons of Jeduthun; Shemaiah, and Uzziel.
15 And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king, by the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD.
16 And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the LORD into the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron.
17 Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the LORD: so they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end.
18 Then they went in to Hezekiah the king, and said, We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread table, with all the vessels thereof.
19 Moreover all the vessels, which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away in his transgression, have we prepared and sanctified, and, behold, they are before the altar of the LORD.
20 ¶ Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the LORD.
21 And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he goats, for a sin offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary, and for Judah. And he commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of the LORD.
22 So they killed the bullocks, and the priests received the blood, and sprinkled it on the altar: likewise, when they had killed the rams, they sprinkled the blood upon the altar: they killed also the lambs, and they sprinkled the blood upon the altar.
23 And they brought forth the he goats for the sin offering before the king and the congregation; and they laid their hands upon them:
24 And the priests killed them, and they made reconciliation with their blood upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel: for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel.
25 And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets.
26 And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.
27 And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel.
28 And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.
29 And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped.
30 Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.
31 Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the LORD, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings.
32 And the number of the burnt offerings, which the congregation brought, was threescore and ten bullocks, an hundred rams, and two hundred lambs: all these were for a burnt offering to the LORD.
33 And the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep.
34 But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the other priests had sanctified themselves: for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests.
35 And also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings, and the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of the LORD was set in order.
36 And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly.
II Chronicles 29:1-2 – J. Vernon McGee
II Chronicles 29:3-36 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Chronicles 29:1-11 – A Revival of Righteousness
It was a blessing for Judah that Ahaz left as successor a son who inherited none of his father’s traits. Hezekiah ranks as one of the best kings that occupied the throne of David. This chapter is full of illustrative and interesting incident. In the first month of his reign, the young king began his work of reform by assembling to his help the priests and Levites, and bidding them make all possible speed to cleanse the Temple.
The clarion call of this exhortation rings yet and bids us cleanse the inner shrine of our heart from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. Let us hasten to open the doors, kindle the lamps, and burn incense in the inner prayer-chamber of the heart. And what is true for the individual applies equally to the national conscience. Religion is the safeguard of our prosperity; and they who secure a healthy religious sentiment contribute as much to the well-being of their fatherland as the statesmen and politicians of world-wide fame. —Through the Bible Day by Day
2 Chronicles 29:12-24 – Removing Uncleanness
The names of the assisting Levites are specially mentioned, because their obedient cooperation counted for so much in the national reconstruction. For eight days the priests and they wrought in the great work of cleansing the Temple of the filthiness which had accumulated through neglect. The drift of the sand-storm, the havoc of weeds, the multitudes of living things that come from the air and the earth to brood and breed in neglected buildings, had wrought sad disfigurement and dilapidation in the holy and beautiful house which David and Solomon had built for God.
Deterioration of heart and life, of Church and State, is the sure result of neglect. The garden of the sluggard could hardly be more useless or perilous to the ordered cultivation around, than is the heart of man, when it neglects the culture of its spiritual affinities. We were made for God and cannot be perfectly healthy or happy apart from Him. These sins must be expiated by blood. A deep lesson is contained in II Chronicles 29:20-24. See Hebrews 9:22. —Through the Bible Day by Day
2 Chronicles 29:25-36 – Sacrifice and Song
Among the usual sacrifices following the cleansing, the burned-offering occupied a conspicuous place, as expressive of sincere and entire devotion to God. Notice that as the burned-offering began the song began also. Self-sacrifice and the surrender of heart and life to God always lead to joy. First cleansing, then forgiveness and the blotting out of sin, and finally reconsecration to God—such are the inevitable steps that conduct the soul from the depths of depression into the joy of God’s salvation. It is the self-absorbed and self-contained life which is miserable. Notice how contagious the joy of God is. From Hezekiah it spread to his people and led to the uplift of the entire nation. It is interesting to learn that this happy outbreak of religious fervor sprang from a divine preparation, which had for long been working below the surface of the national life. —Through the Bible Day by Day
II Chronicles 29:27—When the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also.
This chapter contains a parable of the cleansing of the heart, meant to be a temple for God; but the doors of prayer are unopened, the lamps of testimony unlit, the burnt-offerings of self sacrifice neglected; and, as the result, grass grows thick in courts which should have been trodden by the feet of Levite minstrels engaged in holy song. If ever that song is to break out again, it can only be after a thorough cleansing and renovation of the inner shrine. You tell me that you cannot sing the Lord’s song; then I know you have gone into the strange land of backsliding. You acknowledge that for some time now you have taken no delight in God or His service; then I am sure that the temple is badly in need of renovation.
Cleanse the house of the Lord. Bring out-all the uncleanness. By self-examination, confession, and repudiation, be clean of all the filth which has accumulated through months and years of neglect. Resume the position of entire devotion, as a prepared and sanctified soul. Offer the sin-offering for the past, and prepare the burnt-offering of entire consecration for the future. And when that is offered, when you determine to be wholly God’s, lay yourself, with all the interests of your life, at the feet of Jesus, for His disposal; then the song of the Lord will begin again.
The music of your life is still, because you are out of accord with the will of God; but when by surrender and consecration there is unison, your heart will be filled with songs without words, and love like an ocean in the fullness of her strength. When the rich, selfish bachelor suddenly finds himself compelled to care for his dead brother’s little children, he is startled to find that a new song has begun in his life. —Our Daily Homily