November is the month of Thanksgiving, December the month of Giving and January the month of fasting and prayer. When I was thinking about that I was reading 2 Chronicles 28-32. I know all the Bible readers are familiar with Hezekiah and his wars but do you know what he did in the first month of his reign? Hear ye now a limited version of these chapters, Hezekiah and His House:
Ahaz was his father and he ruled for sixteen years and “did not right in the sight of the Lord as David his father had done.” He made molten images of Baals; he burned his son in fire, etc. When he made Judah a vassal to the Assyrians, he began to worship their gods, “Because the gods of the kings of Aram helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” Chapter 28:24-25 describes how he treated the temple, the sacred vessels, the altar, and finally the temple doors were shut. We know he ruled for sixteen years and those doors were shut and altars for himself were in every corner of Jerusalem.
He finally dies and his son comes to the throne at twenty-five years of age and he will reign for twenty-nine years. Chapter twenty-nine, verse three, “In the first year of his reign, in the first month he opened the doors of the House of the Lord and repaired them.” Then, he gathers the priests and Levites and tells them to consecrate yourselves so you can consecrate the house of the Lord. They do that and then he tells them to “clean the place”. Carry out all the uncleanness and put the building back in order. Take out all the pagan stuff, find the Lord’s stuff and put it back where it belongs. They did that in eight days. Next, the king told them that “the wrath of the Lord is against them and has made them an object of terror, or horror, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes.
Hezekiah first cleans the temple; then reinstalls the priesthood, Levites to their proper places, put the lamps on, offers the proper offerings once again. Next, he involves the elders (the people) and tells them to bring gifts so they might be able to have Passover again. He invites Israelites to come, he even extends the Passover another week. The people begin to remove the pagan idols, etc in the community. The last thing he needs is provision for the priests and Levites. Their portion (instead of land) came from the people (Numbers 18:8-20) and Hezekiah commands the people living in Jerusalem to give the portion due to priests and Levites, “that they might devote themselves to the law of the Lord.” When the order was given, the people provided in abundance (31:4-9). Hezekiah questioned the priests about all the “heaps” he saw and Azariah the priest says, we have plenty but the Lord has blessed his people, and this great quantity is left over. The king built storehouses and appointed overseers to see that the “heaps” were distributed to the other cities of the priests.
I have been touched by this story and this king. These people brought their tithes, freewill offerings, etc. He didn’t have to force them and the Word tells us he gave from what the Lord had given him. When he dies, scripture tells us that “God had given him great wealth” and “he prospered in all he did for the Lord.” Why? He brought revival to the land and he did it because he did all that was right in the sight of God. It was in his heart (29:10) to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel!