2 Chronicles 29:1-19 New King James Version (NKJV)
1 Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. 2 And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.
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.”
12 Then these Levites arose: Mahath the son of Amasai and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah; 13 of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeiel; of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; 14 of the sons of Heman, Jehiel and Shimei; and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel.
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. So they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished.
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.”
Hezekiah’s father was Ahaz. Ahaz wasn’t like many of the previous kings of Judah. Most of them at least started off following the ways of the LORD. But the Bible tells us Ahaz immediately went against the Lord, and the Kingdom of Judah suffered greatly for it.
Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord, as his father David had done. ( 2 Chronicles 28:1 )
So for sixteen years, Ahaz brought God’s wrath upon Judah. Think about how long that is. That’s 4 presidential terms. 16 years ago I was a sophomore in high school, September 11 was still fresh on our minds, most of us didn’t own cell phones, and George W. Bush was starting his second year in office. That’s a long time to mess things up for a whole nation. It seems quick when you read it in the Bible because it only lasts for one chapter. After Sixteen years of terror, finally, Ahaz’s son turns to the LORD.
The Rotten Apple and The Good Apple
Ahaz’ father was Jotham, who did what was right in the sight of the LORD and also reigned for 16 years. However, it says that the people acted corruptly.
Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerushah the daughter of Zadok. 2 And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah had done (although he did not enter the temple of the Lord). But still the people acted corruptly. ( 2 Chronicles 27:1-2 )
Those last words can explain what happened to Ahaz. Though his father did right, he saw the people, and their corruption went to him. So by the time Ahaz took power, his mind and spirit had already turned from the LORD.
Hezekiah, however, saw what happened because of this corruption, and listened as the Prophets told his father to stop. I imaging Jotham was proud to see his grandson walk in the ways of the LORD.
Clean Out The Rubbish
During Ahaz’ reign, the Temple was raided by invading armies and was left in squalor. This was such a disgrace, and the first Thing Hezekiah did when he is crowned King was fixed this problem. He didn’t wait until he paraded around the Kingdom, or defeated a great army in the LORD’s name. The first thing he did was to prepare for worship. This is how we should always look at our lives, for we are called to worship Him every day.
Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
1 Chronicles 16:23
The temple was a disgrace, but he didn’t let that stop him. He called the Levites to “carry out the rubbish” so they could worship again. Our hearts are the modern temple. It’s where the Holy Spirit resides now. And, like the temple, we need to maintain our Hearts. If we don’t examine our hearts, they will become cold and full of rubbish, unwelcoming to the Holy Spirit.
But how do we clean our hearts out? We call on our Priest. Not the Father from the nearest Catholic church, but the Great High Priest Himself. He does the cleaning, but we must be willing to accept His cleaning. It will take time, and it will be hard. But He does it because He is faithful to forgive us.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (Hebrews 4:14)
Ask God to clear the rubbish from your heart. Pray for the guidance to examine your heart, and ask Him to give you the strength and wisdom to let Him clean it, understanding that to be molded into His image, He is going to have to stretch you.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.