Through the Bible Day by Day
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.
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.
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:
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 2Ch_29:20-24. See Heb_9:22.
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.
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.