2 Chronicles 29:12-19
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…
The way in which these Levites received and executed the commission of the king may indicate to us the way in which we should enter upon and discharge our duty.
I. UNDERTAKE IT IN A RIGHT SPIRIT. These men "arose" and went forth to do what Hezekiah called upon them to execute. It will not be presuming much if, judging from the account which follows, we conclude that they undertook their work in a spirit of
(1) obedience to the king, and
(2) devotion to their God. Certainly that would have become them and have honoured them. And that is, undoubtedly, the spirit in which we should go forth to any duty with which we are charged; we should
(1) realize our obligation to man - to do what is just and fair toward him;
(2) our responsibility to God; for in diligence and fidelity we may do everything unto him also (Colossians 3:23).
II. BE UNDISTURBED BY ITS UNPLEASANTNESS. This duty laid upon the Levites and upon the priests was not inviting work. To "bring out all the uncleanness" from the temple, and to "carry it out into the brook Kidron," could not be very agreeable occupation. But they did not hesitate to do it. And, indeed, they could not possibly have been better occupied. In that act they were carrying forth a curse; they were bearing away the wrath of their God. They were not merely cleansing an edifice; they were clearing their conscience; they were righting their record in the books of heaven. No fair hand was doing that week in Jerusalem any work of refinement that more graced its owner than did the hands of those Levites as they stripped the false altar of its clothing, or as they swept the accumulated dust from the courts of the sanctuary. Let us not despise any true work of any kind. Even if it is not of a kind that answers to our taste or to our training; even if it should be uncongenial to our spirit. If it be that work which the emergency requires of us, or if it be that which Divine providence assigns us at the time; if it be that which our Master himself asks of us in order to serve his cause or to help one of his little ones, it is honourable employment, it should be accounted holy in our esteem.
"Do thy little; though it be
Dreariness and drudgery.
They whom Christ apostles made
Gathered fragments when he bade." The twelve apostles gathering broken bits of bread and fish, or Paul going about the island of Malta gathering sticks, - in these incidents we have illustrations of the truth that all work which is timely and helpful is work that is honourable and excellent.
III. CALL TO OUR AID EVERY WILLING WORKER. It may be taken that those whose names are given (vers. 12-14) were the foremost in offering themselves for the work required. But they did not propose to do it by themselves; they called in all who would join them (ver. 15), and then, as a strong united band, they set about their task. In the work of the Lord we should engage all who have a heart and a hand to help. We should do so:
1. For the work's sake; that it may be more rapidly and more effectually done.
2. For their sake; because they will be blessed in their deed, and after it.
3. For our own sake; that we may not be overburdened, and may do all that we do more carefully and thoroughly.
IV. KNOW WHEN TO STOP, AND WHEN TO PROCEED; when to draw a boundary-line, and when to cross it. These dutiful Levites understood their duty well.
1. They did not intrude into the priests' domain; they stopped short "at the inner part of the house" (ver. 16).
2. At the same time, they went beyond the actual letter of instruction by "preparing and sanctifying the vessels which Ahaz had cast away," and by bringing these "before the altar of the Lord." It is a great thing to know what are the limits beyond which it is not right or wise for us to go. But it is a still greater thing to have so deep an interest in our work and so fervent a love for our Lord that we are not to be confined to any limits by literal instructions; that we gladly and eagerly go beyond these, if we can only render a larger and fuller service to our Master and to his cause.
V. DO OUR WORK THOROUGHLY AND SPEEDILY. "They sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days" (ver. 17). "We have cleansed all the house of the Lord,... with all the vessels thereof" (ver. 18). To do all that is required, leaving nothing undone because it is trivial or because it is not likely to be observed; and to do all without delay, losing no time, accomplishing everything within the days expected of us; - this is the way to do Christian work, to do our duty as disciples of Jesus Christ.
VI. HAVE THE DAY OF ACCOUNT IN VIEW. "They went in to Hezekiah the king," etc. (ver. 18). We may not be accountable to any human master; but to a Divine One we are (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Then "every work" will be "brought into judgment." Let us therefore labour, that we may then be "accepted of him."- C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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:
WEB: 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 Jehallelel; and of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah;