2 Kings 18 part 11

 

Last week the northern kingdom was done away with, so from this point forward we will be dealing with the southern kingdom. Tonight we will begin to look at Hezekiahís reign. It will take us two lessons to learn about him.

 

2 Kings 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea the son of Elah, king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign.2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah.3 And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done.4 He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.6 For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.7 The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.8 He subdued the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

 

If you will remember Jotham who was Ahaz dad was a good king who tried to restore Judah and get its people back on tract. Then Ahaz, his son did just the opposite and is deemed them most evil king of Judah. Now, you think that Ahaz son wouldnít have much of chance of being good, but as it turns out Hezekiah stood at being a very good king that trusted in God. In fact, there is only 3 kings mentioned that have been said to have followed after Davidís ways. First, there was Asa, then Hezekiah and later this will be said about Josiah. Hezekiah stood out from all the other kings before him after him in his ability to trust in the Lord. This is also said about Josiah later on, but not about his trust in God, but about his faithfulness in keeping Godís commands.

 

We are given a summary of some the great things that Hezekiah accomplished in his reign. He took down the high places and destroyed all the things that people were worshipping in a false way. We learn that they had even turned the bronze serpent head that Moses made into an idol. They called it Nehushtan, which simply means, ďa thing of brass.Ē However, this also another proof that the 5 books of the Bible and the events that were in them happened before this time, which shows those who claim the first 5 books were written sometime after this are wrong.

 

Since Hezekiah trusted in the Lord and followed His commands he prospered and even rebelled against Assyria whom his father Ahaz had made their nation a servant to and they managed to widen their territory by subduing the Philistines. Hezekiah is great example of how a nation can thrive, when it is serving the Lord and I hope that our nation will realize this and start moving closer to God instead of further away. Next, we are going to go 2 Chr. 29 because it gives information about Hezekiahís early reign and wonít require much comment from me.

 

2 Chronicles 29:3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them.4 Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square,5 and said to them: "Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place.6 "For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the LORD our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the LORD, and turned their backs on Him.7 "They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel.8 "Therefore the wrath of the LORD fell upon Judah and Jerusalem, and He has given them up to trouble, to desolation, and to jeering, as you see with your eyes.9 "For indeed, because of this our fathers have fallen by the sword; and our sons, our daughters, and our wives are in captivity.10 "Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us.11 "My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense."

 

His father Ahaz had shut the doors of the temple and moved the people away from God, but now Hezekiah is open the doors and is calling for everyone to return back to God because he knows the reason why they are being oppressed is because they have been neglecting God.

 

2 Chronicles 29:12 Then these Levites arose: Mahath the son of Amasai (a-mash-eye) and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; of the sons of Merari, (me-Ray-i) Kish the son of Abdi and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; (juh-hah-lih-lel) of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah;13 of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeiel; (jih-eye-uhl) of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah;14 of the sons of Heman, Jehiel (juh-high-ul) and Shimei; (Shim-ih-uh) and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah (shih-may-uh) and Uzziel. (uh-zeye-el) 15 And they gathered their brethren, sanctified themselves, and went according to the commandment of the king, at the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD.16 Then the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD to cleanse it, and brought out all the debris that they found in the temple of the LORD to the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took it out and carried it to the Brook Kidron.17 Now they began to sanctify on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the vestibule of the LORD. Then they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished.

 

Fortunately, the people agreed with the King so they got the temple ready for service.

 

2 Chronicles 29:18 Then they went in to King Hezekiah and said, "We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, the altar of burnt offerings with all its articles, and the table of the showbread with all its articles.19 "Moreover all the articles which King Ahaz in his reign had cast aside in his transgression we have prepared and sanctified; and there they are, before the altar of the LORD."20 ∂ Then King Hezekiah rose early, gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the LORD.21 And they brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. Then he commanded the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the LORD.22 So they killed the bulls, and the priests received the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. Likewise they killed the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar. They also killed the lambs and sprinkled the blood on the altar.23 Then they brought out the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them.24 And the priests killed them; and they presented their blood on the altar as a sin offering to make an atonement for all Israel, for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering be made for all Israel.

 

Everything is coming together now. When you look the OT, when the people decide to turn away from the false God and embrace God as the only God, they usually rededicate themselves and they will make burnt offering for all the sins they had been guilty before hand. In similar way, some Christians have to do this from time to time. When we see that we have fallen away from God or we are not serving God as we should, we have to rededicate ourselves to God. Now, we donít offer up burnt offerings, but we do humble ourselves before God and pray to Him for forgiveness and we get the sin in our life away from. We do our best to serve God with whole being from that point forward and this exactly what we see Hezekiah and Judah doing at this time.

 

2 Chronicles 29:25 And he stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king's seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets.26 The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.27 Then Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD also began, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David king of Israel.28 So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.29 And when they had finished offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed and worshiped.30 Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped.

 

Here is our proof text in verse 25 that God commanded the use of musical instruments in the OT. So, those who say that God simply tolerated them because David invented them are misinformed. However, this does not mean that we can use musical instruments under the New Testament because this Law does not apply to us today. That is why we donít sacrifice animals, have Levites or official priests or a temple that we are supposed to go to three times a year. Under the NT God has commanded us to sing and has named the instrument as our heart. If He had wanted us to use musical instruments in worship today He would have commanded us to do so. In our text, we can see the sincerity and respect they had for God now as they bowed their heads and worshiped.

 

2 Chronicles 29:31 Then Hezekiah answered and said, "Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the LORD, come near, and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD." So the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.32 And the number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the LORD.33 The consecrated things were six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep.34 But the priests were too few, so that they could not skin all the burnt offerings; therefore their brethren the Levites helped them until the work was ended and until the other priests had sanctified themselves, for the Levites were more diligent in sanctifying themselves than the priests.35 Also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings and with the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of the LORD was set in order.36 Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people, since the events took place so suddenly.

 

This was a great time for the children of Israel because they were getting back to where they were supposed be and they did it in a very short time. It has always amazed me the number of animal sacrifices that done. Of course these priest had become very good at killing these animals and skinning them, but there was to many for the few priest that were left so the Levites had to help. Now, that Godís house was back in order the people rejoiced.

 

2 Chronicles 30:1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the LORD God of Israel.2 For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month.3 For they could not keep it at the regular time, because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem.4 And the matter pleased the king and all the assembly.5 So they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner.6 Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the command of the king: "Children of Israel, return to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel; then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria.7 "And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see.8 "Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.9 "For if you return to the LORD, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him."

 

Not only has Hezekiah restored the temple and worship to God, now he is getting everyone prepared to participate in the Passover. If you will remember, the Jews were supposed to take part in the Passover in the first month of their year, but if you could not make because you were unclean or you were detained then you could participate in it the second month and that is what Hezekiah and Judah was going to do because they were not all clean. Not only does he extend this invitation to Judah, he also tries to get the Jews that escaped the Assyrian captivity to come join them as well.

 

2 Chronicles 30:10 So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them.11 Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.††

 

Some of the remnant of Israel laughed and would not return to God, while others did. It is always wonderful to see Godís people turn back to Him again.

 

2 Chronicles 30:13 Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month.14 They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron.15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the LORD.16 They stood in their place according to their custom, according to the Law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites.17 For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the LORD.18 For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, "May the good LORD provide atonement for everyone19 who prepares his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary."20 And the LORD listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.21 So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing to the LORD, accompanied by loud instruments.22 And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the LORD; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers.

 

Now this is interesting because the people came together to eat of the Passover, but some of them had not been cleansed. When Hezekiah finds out about this, he immediately prays to God to provide atonement for those who had not been properly purified as they should, but who had prepared their hearts to seek after God and as we read God allows this to happen this time. This shows us the mercy of God. He knew His people heart was in the right place because they wanted to serve God and participate in His Passover. However, many of these Jews were obviously not aware of this purification they were supposed to do. So, in this instance, at the request of Hezekiah, God permitted there actions that day. You can see more of Hezekiahís prayers in Isa. 37 and 38.

 

Now the Levites were the ones that were supposed to know the Law of God and teach it. Hezekiah knows how important that Godís truth is taught, so he encourages the Levites who have been teaching Godís truth. This is same thing we should do as Christians as well. We should be encouraging our all of our teachers to continue on preaching Godís truth.

 

2 Chronicles 30:23 Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness.24 For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the leaders gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves.25 The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah.26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.27 Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.

 

According to Moses Law they were only required to keep the feast for 7 days, but they were so excited about turning back to God and the events that were happening that they decided to keep the feast going another 7 days. Sometimes it is hard to stop, when you are having such a great time in honor of God. This reminds of the gospel meeting that Mclish had. They originally planed to have it for a week, but they were so excited about how things were going they decided to continue on for another week. It is certainly wonderful to see Godís children so excited and happy about serving God. We can see that God was pleased with them because he heard their prayers in heaven.

 

2 Chronicles 31:1 Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke the sacred pillars in pieces, cut down the wooden images, and threw down the high places and the altars -- from all Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh -- until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned to their own cities, every man to his possession.2 ∂ And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites according to their divisions, each man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and peace offerings, to serve, to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camp of the LORD.3 The king also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it is written in the Law of the LORD.4 Moreover he commanded the people who dwelt in Jerusalem to contribute support for the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the Law of the LORD.5 As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.6 And the children of Israel and Judah, who dwelt in the cities of Judah, brought the tithe of oxen and sheep; also the tithe of holy things which were consecrated to the LORD their God they laid in heaps.7 In the third month they began laying them in heaps, and they finished in the seventh month.8 And when Hezekiah and the leaders came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD and His people Israel.9 Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.10 And Azariah the chief priest, from the house of Zadok, answered him and said, "Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat and have plenty left, for the LORD has blessed His people; and what is left is this great abundance."

 

Again, we can see how hard Hezekiah is working to restore things back to Godís way. He is destroying everything that does not honor God and he even restores tithing and support of the priesthood. In verses 11-19 it talks about how they store and distribute all these tithes that have been given. Then Hezekiah is given high praise in our closing verses for tonight.

 

2 Chronicles 31:20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the LORD his God.21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.

 

So far, Hezekiah is great example of what godly man is all about and everything is going his way. However, next week will find out what happens when things take a turn for the worse for Judah and Hezekiah deals with it.