2nd Chronicles 29:1-11 Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs. Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes. For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, be not now negligent: for the Lord hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.
What a way to start. Hezekiah in the first month of his reign opened the house of the Lord and began to repair it. His father Ahaz had taken much of the treasures of the temple and bought protection from the Assyrians when the 10 northern tribes and Syria attacked. Hezekiah got a first hand lesson of what worshipping false gods did to a country. In contrast to the first lines of Hezekiah's account in the bible read his fathers.
Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord, like David his father: For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree. Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter. 2nd Chronicles 28:1-5
It is hard to believe that people who had a history as rich as Israel's could fall far enough to offer their children as human sacrifices to a false god, but then i look around and see that some are doing the same thing in our country. The age of the children is different and the name of the god is different and the method of sacrifice is different but the children are just as dead.
As i said earlier, Ahaz sought help from the Assyrians but read the result of his efforts. 2nd Chronicles 28:21 For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the Lord, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not. When you get involved in sin, as Ahaz was, it will always come back to bite you. When it does you have two choices. You can repent and look to the Lord for help, or you can turn to man for help. One choice leads to redemption the other to destruction and it is all a matter of trust. If you trust God you will turn to Him, if you don't you will turn to mankind for your answers. By the way, i know this is a big secret but mankind doesn't have the answers, not for this life or the next.
Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to rule and his father Ahaz ruled for 16 years so from his youth Hezekiah had observed the doings in the kingdom and no doubt determined to be a different kind of ruler. The cleansing of the temple took 16 days all together and then the priests and Levites resumed the sacrifices that were commanded.. The 29 chapter of 2nd Chronicles contains an account of this, to save space i wont include it but it is an interesting story if you would like to read it. The last verse of the chapter says And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly. When the Lord gets willing participants that will do things His way, it doesn't take long to get things straightened out.
Even with all the trouble our world is in, it would not take long for the Lord to repair the damage but He seems to have a self imposed rule. There is a tv show called Star Trek that i'm sure most of you are familiar with. These people went all across the galaxy in search of new life and new civilizations and their "prime directive" was that they not interfere with the development of a culture inferior to theirs. God's "prime directive" if you will seems to be that people must choose for themselves, that truth and righteousness cannot be imposed but must be chosen. He has told anyone who would listen the consequences of choosing unrighteousness and provided divine help for those who repent and trust Him but He will NEVER make someone do what is right. He said through the prophet Isaiah For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. Isaiah 57:16 The choice is ours and the consequences.
After cleansing the temple Hezekiah calls for a Passover to be kept which they had not done for a long time, though they were commanded to do it every year. Chapter 30:1. The Passover was to be kept in the first month but since they began to cleanse the temple in the first month (our spring about April) they decide to keep it in the second month., verse 3 For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. The King even sent messengers to Israel inviting them to come and worship God. So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. 2nd Chronicles 30-5-9
The good efforts of the king had different reactions from the northern kingdom verses 10 and 11 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. and the southern kingdom verse 12 Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the Lord. Remember that all this occurred in the first year of Hezekiah's rule, this is a very important point that we will look back to a little further along in the study. In the northern kingdom they mocked but in the southern they had a different reaction, verse 14 And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron. These were alters that were dedicated to false gods. Again you should read the chapter to get the full story and again i'll add the last verses 26 and 27 So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.
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, even unto heaven. This occurred 251 years after Solomon died! Still think our situation is hopeless?
After the Passover and the days of unleavened bread the people went throughout the land and cleansed it. Chapter 31:1 Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.
Nowadays they would be in trouble with the PC crowd, i can hear them now saying how intolerant these Neanderthals were to destroy such rich history. Of course the same people are only too happy to destroy history they don't agree with. The truth of the matter is that we here in the US must choose which side we are on. We will never get anywhere with one hand grasping the Lord and the other the world. This world (the current age, the status quo, not the planet, yet) is passing away, you can keep your grip on it and pass away with it or you can let go and hold on to God. They are growing further apart by the day and you can only stretch so far, choose well.