For the Love of God, Volume 1/December 24

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By D.A. Carson About Devotional Life
Chapter 360 of the book For the Love of God, Volume 1


2 Chronicles 29; Revelation 15; Zechariah 11; John 14

WITH THE EXCEPTION OF only a few verses, most of the material in 2 Chronicles 29—31 has no parallel in 2 Kings. What these chapters provide is a detailed account of how King Hezekiah went about reinstituting temple worship that was in line with the Law of God delivered through Moses, and then called the covenant people together not only from Judah but even some from Israel to celebrate the Passover in a way that had not been done for some time.

Here we may focus on 2 Chronicles 29. Paganism had taken such a hold on the people that temple service had fallen into disuse. The temple had become a repository for junk; even the doors needed fixing. Still only twenty-five years old, King Hezekiah, in the first month of his reign (29:3), opened the doors and repaired them. He found some priests and Levites and instructed them to consecrate themselves according to the rites established in the Law, and then to set about cleaning, repairing, and reconsecrating the temple. Moreover, Hezekiah recognized that the past failures in this respect had invited the wrath of God (29:6). He was not so foolish as to think the failures were merely a matter of ritual: he saw the larger picture, but perceived, rightly, that the utter neglect of the ritual demonstrated that the hearts of priests, Levites, people, and king alike were entirely alienated from God. His open intention was to reverse this pattern and inaugurate a covenant with the Lord (29:10).

The rest of the chapter details what was done. More priests and Levites came on board. The musical instruments secured by David were restored to use. Even small deviations from the Law are recorded, such as the permission to allow the Levites to help with the skinning of the animals for the sacrifices, owing to the fact that at this point too few priests were consecrated (29:32-34).

“So the service of the temple of the LORD was reestablished. Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly” (29:35-36).

So it is when genuine revival comes in considerable proportion. Inevitably, God raises up a leader whose prophetic insistence proves irresistible, first to a few, and then to a great crowd. And in the best instances it is not long before men and women look back and marvel at how fast the face of things was massively transformed. They conclude, rightly, that the only explanation is that God himself has done it—that is, that the transformation is not finally attributable to reforming zeal or organizing skill, but to a God who has changed people’s hearts.

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