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." So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings.
I. PREPARATORY STEPS. In order to secure such an awakening of religious life as took place in Judah under Hezekiah, three things are indispensable.
1. Confession of sin. "Our fathers have trespassed," etc. (ver. 6). As all religion begins with saying, "Father, I have sinned" (Luke 15:18), so the first symptoms of reviving life in souls that have been apathetic is acknowledgment of their trespass (Psalm 51:3).
2. Cleansing of the sanctuary. "We have cleansed all the house of the Lord" (ver. 18). As the visible Church is a temple of the Lord (Psalm 132:14; Matthew 18:20; Ephesians 2:21, 22; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:6), this may symbolize the removing from its doctrine, worship, and practice of everything that is contrary to the mind and will of God as revealed in the Scriptures; and again, as the individual heart is a habitation of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19), it may suggest the duty,, of purging. . . it from every known sin' (2 Corinthians 7:1).
3. Renewal of the covenant. Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel" (ver. 10); and the same must be done by all, whether communities or individuals, who would experience a quickening in their religious life. Unnecessary now, as in the days of Hezekiah, to offer slain victims and make propitiation for sin, that having been done once for all by Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:11-14), it is still indispensable to appropriate the reconciliation and make the self-surrender to which Hezekiah's offerings pointed.
II. CERTAIN RESULTS. A revived condition of the religious life of either Church or individual will discover itself in three things, as it did with Hezekiah and his people.
1. Self-consecration. Already expressed in the act of covenant-making, this will reveal itself in the life that proceeds therefrom. Christian individuals in the Church, recognizing themselves to be not their own, but bought with a price, will lay themselves upon the altar as a willing sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
2. Gladness. "And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang," etc. (ver. 28). Joy an invariable accompaniment of a revived condition of religion in the soul or in the Church (Psalm 149:2, 5; Isaiah 65:14, 18; Habakkuk 3:18; Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 1:4).
3. Liberality. "And the congregation brought in sacrifices," etc. (ver. 31). Generosity in giving almost necessarily follows on a heightened experience of Divine grace. "Freely ye have received, freely give." - W.
I. THE OCCASION REFERRED TO: it was the opening of the house of God.
Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the Lord.
I. A REAL CONSECRATION IS AN ACT OF FREE WILL.
II. CONSECRATION MEANS A GIVING TO GOD HIMSELF.
III. NOR WILL SUCH CONSECRATION BE COMPLETE WITHOUT A PERSONAL CONSECRATION.
(Bishop Charles E. Cheney.)
1. This house was a sacred edifice, consecrated to God and typical of the body of Christ.
2. In the house they opened for God, they recognised a place of meeting between God and souls.
3. In the house that was opened for the worship of God, there was an inner court. Into this inner court we have now "access by the Spirit unto the Father."
II. THE NATURE OF THEIR WORSHIP. By sacrifice. There is no acceptable worship of God without sacrifice.
III. THE EXPRESSIONS OF THANKFULNESS AMONG THE PEOPLE. They were happy —
1. In the knowledge of their acceptance with God.
2. In the extension of the life of God in their souls.
3. In the revival of the worship of God among them publicly.
4. In the expression of their ardent concern to rival one another in the service of God — for they all brought their thankofferings.
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