We continue our study in 2 Chronicles with a reminder that the nation of Israel, comprising the ten rebellious tribes in the north, has fallen to Assyria (2 Kings 17:1-6; 2 Kings 18:11-12). With the exception of a poor remnant that were left behind, the Israelites were taken into captivity and the king of Assyria began resettling the land with “strangers.”
Those “strangers,” a heathen, idol worshipping people from other nations, will inter-marry with the remaining Jews that were left in the land. This mixed-race people who will adopt some aspects of the “Jewish religion,” and the covenant, in Christ’s day will be identified as Samaritans.
The focus of today’s Scripture is the two southern tribes we know as the nation of Judah. Following the death of the wicked King Ahaz, his son Hezekiah ascended the throne in Jerusalem and his reign ushered in a time of spiritual revival (2 Kings 18; 2 Chronicles 29).
The reign of Ahaz had been a curse to Judah for “he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father” (2 Chronicles 28:1). Ahaz had not only turned from the LORD, but also “burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen” (28:3).
Reminding us that God punishes a nation for the wickedness of its leaders, we read, “For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD” (28:19). Ahaz went on to desecrate the LORD’S Temple, destroying vessels used in offering sacrifices, and finally shutting the doors of the Temple (28:24).
When Ahaz died, his son Hezekiah began to reign and “did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done” (2 Chronicles 29:2; 2 Kings 18:3). Choosing not to follow in his father’s sins, Hezekiah turned to the LORD, “removed the high places” (2 Kings 18:4), began repairing the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:3), and set his heart to “make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel” (2 Chronicles 29:10).
Hezekiah’s actions were born out of a heart of faith for he, “trusted in the LORD God of Israel…6 For he clave to the LORD…kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses. 7 And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth” (2 Kings 18:5-7).
Hezekiah’s first command was to summon the Levites and direct them to cleanse the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:4-11). Having cleansed the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:12-17), the priests reported to Hezekiah who then “went up to the house of the LORD,” offered sacrifices (2 Chronicles 29:18-25) and commanded the Levites to lead the congregation in worship with musical instruments and song (2 Chronicles 29:26-30).
2 Chronicles 30 – Spiritual revival began with the king of Judah and its spiritual leaders.
Restoring the observance of the Passover, Hezekiah invited Israel and Judah to turn to the LORD and come to Jerusalem and worship (30:1-9). Some in Israel heeded the king’s call to humble themselves and worship the LORD; however, there were many who “laughed them to scorn, and mocked them” (30:10-11).
Heeding the king’s invitation to turn to the LORD, the people assembled in Jerusalem to observe the Passover and tore down altars of idolatry in the land. When the Passover lamb was killed, those who ministered the Passover were pricked in their hearts and “were ashamed, and sanctified themselves” (30:15) because they “had not cleansed themselves” (30:17-18).
Hezekiah prayed for them [the Levites], saying, “The good LORD pardon every one 19 That prepareth his heart to seek God” (30:18-19).
We read, the king “spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD” (30:22). The phrase, “spake comfortably,” might mislead some to think the king made the Levites comfortable in their sins; however, the word “comfortably” is the Hebrew word for the heart or mind.
In other words, the king appealed to their hearts.
2 Chronicles 31 – Gratitude Expressed in Giving
Judah’s revival continues in 2 Chronicles 31 as the places of idol worship are destroyed (31:1). In a spirit of revival, the sacrificial offerings brought by the people were so great (31:5-10) that there was a problem in how to store and dispose of the tithes and offerings (31:11-19). Remember, an attitude of gratitude expresses itself in the joy of giving!
I close today’s commentary knowing that, while Jerusalem and Judah were experiencing a spiritual awakening, trouble was approaching (2 Chronicles 32). Sennacherib king of Assyria, fresh off his victory over Israel, was moving his army into Judah and would soon lay siege to Jerusalem.
A note from the author: Today’s Scripture reading is the 200th in our goal to chronologically read through the Word of God this year. This devotional is also a milestone as it is my 200th commentary for the year. I pray my labor has been spiritually enriching, enlightening, and encouraging.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith