Hezekiah’s Festival

Today’s reading:  2 Chronicles 29 and 30

Our text today picks up with Hezekiah sitting on the throne in Judah.  Unlike his father, King Ahaz, Hezekiah was committed to following God’s law.  During the first year of his reign, he cleansed/repaired the temple, restored the priesthood and re-instituted temple worship (see 2 Chronicles 29).  2 Chronicles 30 is the story of how Hezekiah resumed the tradition of inviting the scattered tribes of Israel to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover festival together.

A few key lessons we can learn from Hezekiah in this passage:

Do the right thing for the right reason, even in the face of challenges.

      • Cleansing and restoring the temple after many years of neglect was no small task.  Hezekiah persisted.
      • To reinstitute temple worship, it took more sacrifices than the priests could handle (70 bulls, 100 rams, 200 lambs, 600 bulls, 3,000 sheep in the first week; then 1,000 bulls, 7,000 sheep, 1,000 bulls, 10,000 sheep in the second week).  Hezekiah persisted.
      • Men of Ephraim, Manasseh and Zebulun mocked the King’s messengers who urged them to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  Hezekiah persisted.

God’s grace will cover our imperfections if our hearts are right.

      • Many of the people who did come to Jerusalem hadn’t consecrated themselves, as required by the law.  The Levites sacrificed the Passover lamb for everyone who was unclean.
      • The majority of people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not cleansed themselves, but ate the Passover meal anyway.  Hezekiah prayed that the Lord would pardon those who set their hearts on seeking God, even though they had not kept the Law.  The Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people (2 Chronicles 20).

Serving the Lord will lead to joy.

      • After restoring the temple, Hezekiah commanded the Levites to sing praises to the Lord.  They sang praises with gladness and bowed down and worshiped (2 Chronicles 29:30).
      • After the sacrifices were made and the service of the house of the Lord restored, Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because God had provided (2 Chronicles 29:36).
      • After celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days, the whole assembly agreed to keep it going for another seven days with gladness (2 Chronicles 30:23).
      • There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 30:26).

This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God.  In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly.  And so he prospered (2 Chronicles 31:20-21).

As the great (to the 16th power) grandfather of Jesus, Hezekiah is an example worth following.

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh…and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah (Matthew 1:10,16).