Recipe for God's Blessing
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Hezekiah is king in Judah. Determined to follow the Lord wholeheartedly and to bring his people back to God, he repairs the temple, gives order for the priests and Levites to consecrate themselves and then leads them in consecrating the temple and restoring the worship of God once more (2 Chronicles 29).
Chapter 30 describes the next stage of Hezekiah’s spiritual reforms. We know that at this stage of history Israel and Judah are separate nations, often enemies. Israel, the northern kingdom, was prone to idol-worship. While Judah sometimes slipped into the same sin, her kings tended to be more given to following God and maintaining the nation’s connection with Him. Hezekiah’s actions in restoring the worship of God after one of these “slips” is interesting.
“They decided to send a proclamation throughout Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, calling the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the Lord, the God if Israel. It had not been celebrated in large numbers according to what was written. At the king’s command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the kind and his officials…” (30:5, 6).
This was the detail I hadn't notice before—Hekeziah’s concern was not just for the people he ruled. He was also concerned about the spiritual well-being of those of the northern kingdom as well. They were of the same family, children of Abraham and of the covenant that God had once made with their forefathers. Hezekiah didn’t write them off because of past history. He embraced them because of what their common roots—God.
In the proclamation that Hezekiah sent out to the people of Judah and Israel, he invited them to “return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Issac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left.” He encouraged them to “…submit to the Lord. Come to the sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord…for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him” (30:6, 8, 9).
I read recently a post from someone who claimed that revival doesn’t have to do with repentance from sin. In our society, sin is a “politically incorrect” word even in Christian circles. But in the Scriptures revival always has its roots in repentance. The history of revival in the church of these last centuries adds weight to this truth. Here, Hezekiah, as a good leader, calls on both his people and the people of the northern kingdom to “return to the Lord,” an invitation to repent of their unfaithfulness (30:7).
Hezekiah gives us a good example of spiritual leadership in these two chapters. He is a man concerned with the purity of worship and the purity of those who lead it. He is a man with compassion for all people, including those who are not directly of his “flock.” He is a man who calls his people to repentance because he wants them to experience the blessing of God on their lives.
We are told that not everyone who received Hezekiah’s proclamation paid attention to it (30:10) but there were others who did respond positively (30:11, 12). As we read to the end of the chapter we discover that God was pleased and blessed both leaders and people: “…God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place” (30:26).
The Biblical record exists and has been preserved for us so that we learn from it who God is and what He asks from us. Here, in these few verses, we find the pattern for what needs to happen so that we can experience the blessing of God on our corporate lives as believers. If it weren’t important, God would not have left it for us. Whether or not we pay attention to it will determine whether or not we think God's blessing on our lives is important.