The Height of Opportunity
2 Chronicles 29:1-11
Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem…

To Hezekiah as he ascended the throne of Judah there was presented a very noble opportunity. His father had brought the nation down very low, had left it "naked" to its various enemies, had caused it to incur the sore displeasure of the Lord, had suffered it to reach the very verge of destruction. But he himself was young and strong; he knew what was the secret and what the source of prosperity; he indulged the hope that everything might yet be restored if determination and energy were shown at the right hour. He resolved that, with the help of God, he would be equal to this great emergency, would rise to the height of this noble opportunity; and so he was, and so he did. He had what he needed for it -

I. ALL DUE PREPARATION IN GODLY TRAINING. For, although his father was an apostate from the true faith, and his example was everything that he should avoid, Hezekiah was not without home influences of another and a very different kind. It is a happy inconsistency we often find in bad men that they are willing for their children to receive the good counsel which themselves disregard and perhaps even despise. Whether due to a contemptuous indifference or to a covert fear, they are willing, sometimes even wishful, that their children should receive a godly education. It is highly probable that from his mother, Abijah, he learnt those truths and received those influences which led him to choose the service of God. Probably Isaiah had access to him; and if so, we may be sure he made use of his opportunity. Whoever did teach and train him must have felt amply rewarded in after-years, when Hezekiah rendered such splendid service to his country. There is sometimes done at the mother's knee or in the schoolroom a work for God the full fruits of which are never revealed on earth.

II. SENSIBILITY. As we read the address which Hezekiah delivered to the priests and the Levites (vers. 5-11), we are impressed with the fact that the speaker was a man of no ordinary sensibility. The things which had happened of late had cut him to the heart. His nation's dishonour, the domestic sorrows of the people (ver. 9), the overshadowing of the high displeasure of the Almighty, - all this moved him to pure and deep emotion. He was a man of strong and profound feeling (see also Isaiah 38.).

III. RESOLUTENESS. There is reason to think that the ecclesiastical officials were far from being keenly sympathetic with the king in his work of reformation. The priests were quite in the background, and the Levites needed to be exhorted "not to be negligent" (ver. 11). The king himself not only took the initiative, but he brought to the work a firm resoluteness which carried everything before it. "It is in my heart to make a covenant," he said (ver. 10); and it was clear that the young king, although his elders were before him, and although the reins of government were only just in his hand, intended to carry out his purpose. One strong will, especially when it holds a high place and has a right to speak authoritatively, will drive indecision and even halfheartedness before it.

IV. SAGACITY. Hezekiah showed a sagacity which may be said to have been "beyond his years."

1. He recognized the right order of procedure. He felt that the first thing to be done was to set the nation right with the God whom they had so seriously offended; and he perceived that the first thing to be done to attain this great end was to purify the profaned house of the Lord.

2. He took the leaders of religion into counsel and co-operation. He called the Levites and the priests together, and energetically addressed them; he appealed to them in the language of piety and of affection (ver. 11).

3. He understood that all reformation must begin with our own hearts. "Sanctify yourselves," he said (ver. 5). It must be the clean hands of the pure heart that cleanse and purify the sanctuary of the Lord. If we would rise to the height of our opportunity we must do these things.

1. Realize the greatness of the work before us; be impressed and affected by it; be seriously solemnized by it. It is not the cold or the chill heart that will carry a great work through all obstacles and over all toils to a successful issue.

2. Give the first place to the sacred side of the matter; feel that we must have God with us in our work; consider well what are its relations to him, and in what way his favour is to be secured.

3. Make a beginning with ourselves - "sanctify ourselves" for the work in hand, by self-examination, by a sincere repentance and return unto God, by a solemn and deliberate rededication of ourselves to our Lord and to his service, by earnest and believing prayer, cleanse our own heart and thus be ready for the part we are to take.

4. Co-operate with our fellows to the utmost of our power; not proudly consider that we alone are sufficient, nor selfishly desire to reserve sacred duty and opportunity for our own hand, nor contentiously make it difficult for others to work with us; but gladly and graciously enter into fellowship with our friends and neighbours. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.

The Accession of Hezekiah
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