This morning’s bible study was a powerful one. Although I only read a few chapters, chapters 29-32 of 2 Chronicles, I gleaned so much from those few chapters. This section is about the reign of Hezekiah over Jerusalem, and Hezekiah walked faithfully before God. He and the people consecrated themselves to God, and turned from the worship of all other gods back to the one true God, the God of Israel. My God.
So, the first verse I came upon that spoke to me completely was 29:5, the latter half that says “Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your fathers. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.” If you look at the scripture in the context of your body, God is saying to us “Consecrate yourselves to me, because you are the temple of the Lord. Make sure there is nothing displeasing, nothing disgusting hidden away anywhere, because your heart is going to be my sanctuary. So it is time to clean it up.” We definitely do not want to ask God to inhabit a place of evil desires, sinful pride or any other attribute that is displeasing to him. He wouldn’t want to come back if he walked in there.
Another verse that spoke to me as I prepare for God’s service was 29:11. “My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him, to minister before him and to burn incense.” The magnitude of this plea hit me hard. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I feel like I have been holding myself back from God’s work because I have allowed Satan to attack me on all sides and make me think that I am not fit for service to God. I have listened to the lies of the devil, and have failed to ask God his opinion. God would not have called me if he wasn’t going to also enable me. I just need to balance my calling and my humility. God knows this is my weakness, and I believe he will bring me through this, because I have asked it of him sincerely.
The last verse of this chapter caught me. Second Chronicles 29:36 says “Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly.” If we allow God to move, and we do what he asks without question, we will see results and we will see them quickly. God does not want to sit around stalling. There is a mighty movement going on, and God is ready. He doesn’t need us. Now bear with me. He doesn’t need us to accomplish anything. God isn’t reliant on us. But he calls us because he wants for us to share in his victory. Not that we should do so lightly. We should allow God to exalt us, not exalt ourselves. But God will do it quickly if we are willing to give him all of ourselves.
In chapter 30, I sensed a warning: “Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you … He will not turn his face from you if your return to him (30:8, 9).” God gets angry. We are called according to his purposes and time after time, we fail him. We find other things to do that seem far more important, and we forsake our God and our calling to follow after things that will perish. That is something I cannot understand, even though I am probably more guilty of it than most: God wants to make our lives enjoyable. He wants to do things for us, and all he asks is our service to him. On the other hand, Satan would destroy us, but more often than not, we allow Satan to have the victory and God is let down. Let down by his own creation, whom he loved so much, he sent his only son to die for their sins. And we turn away! It is astounding! So on the flip side of this verse, I can hear God saying “If you don’t turn from your wicked ways, you are going to feel my wrath, and I won’t even be able to look at you.” What a sad thought. That God will have to turn his face away from us because he can’t stand to look at us.
Also in this chapter, Hezekiah prays, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God – The Lord, the God of his Fathers – even if he is not clean according to the rules of his sanctuary (30:18-19).” Churches should beware! God will save those who are intent on serving him, even if they do not fit the bill of the church. Watch out who you judge in your services, because God looks at their heart, which is something humans are incapable of doing, and I believe that the church can curse themselves by judging people when they come through the doors. I can see God looking down at the church in disgust and saying, “That is not your place!.” I can see his finger pointed at the church in anger. “May the Lord pardon.” This verse says nothing about the church pardoning someone’s sin, because it is not the church’s place. The church is God’s sanctuary, and God’s collective vessel. But God has reserved some duties for himself that are to be done by no other.
Second Chronicles 31:21 says that “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.” There it is! Exactly what God promises each and every one of us. If we work for God in his service and we do it to the best of our ability, with a smile on our face, remembering always to seek his face and consult him, He will prosper us. Hezekiah “sought his God and worked wholeheartedly.” You know, there is another scripture in the bible that says “Do all things as if unto God, and I believe this includes your regular 9-5 job, your housework, your whatever. All things include everything you do. We should do everything that we do as if we were working for God, because if we are mindful of spiritual things, all things that we do are unto God. If you think about it, much of our witness is in the way we live out our daily lives. If someone hears us complaining, or doing things grudgingly, they are not going to see God in us, because how can they perceive God in us when God is not our focus? We cannot portray something outwardly that we are not focused on inwardly. That’s some powerful advice!
Chapter 32 had several scriptures that spoke to me. The first was verse 7: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is greater power with us than with him.” I can see the people trembling. They are surrounded on all sides by a “vast army” and really at a loss. They have not assembled themselves to fight and they are under siege. Hezekiah speaks these words of wisdom, and I’m sure some if not most of them had to search deep within themselves to find the courage to put their faith in God. Not mentioning the faith! But the beautiful thing is that when they did, God sent an angel to fight their battle and they came out victorious without having to lift a finger. Whoo! That’s powerful too. Just reread that for a moment. I don’t believe that there is anything farther that I can add to make this statement better.
Now, here comes the serious part. Hezekiah was a king for 29 years, and he followed after God, but in his old age, just when things were quieting down, “Hezekiah’s heart was proud …” Pride is a terrible weakness. It can kill the very favor of God in our lives if we are not careful. Later on, scripture tells us that “when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.” DUNT DUN DUN! What a scary moment! I fear God leaving me, because I know that pride is something that I struggle with. Simply because when you live a Cinderella story, where you come from nothing and God exalts you to a place that you never dreamed of being, there is a great tendency to become proud. I hope that God will remove all pride from my heart, so that if ever I were tested, I could pass. I know God has a job ahead of him when it comes to me, but I hope he can fix me. I wonder what made Hezekiah so weakened to his pride. Was it because he was old, and his battle days were over? Was he living in the past of his victories just to make himself feel good? If he was 25 when he became king, and reigned 29 years, than really he was only 54. Why was he so weakened? I think it is very important that we know where our enemy is and what he is doing, or we may be weakened by him unaware. May we seek God daily and ask him to cover us with the blood, because with the blood covering, Satan has no power in our lives. No footholds. He’s got nothing!