Scripture reading – 2 Kings 18, 2 Chronicles 29

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Reminder from the author: While the date is unclear, the books titled 1st and 2nd Kings were penned originally as one book. The Chronicles (1st and 2nd Chronicles) were written after the Jews returned to their homeland from Babylonian captivity. Together, the Kings and Chronicles give us Israel and Judah’s history and insight into the sins and rebellion of those people, as well as some of the blessings and victories they experienced. The Scriptures give us an understanding of God’s chosen people and the nations of the world in that day.

2 Kings 18 and 2 Chronicles 29 are, to some extent, parallel passages of the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah. 2 Kings 18 records the rise of 25-year-old Hezekiah to the throne of Judah, where he reigned for 29 years. He set his heart to do “that which was right in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 18:3). Hezekiah then addressed Judah’s sins against the LORD and began a series of reforms (2 Kings 18:4-6).

2 Chronicles 29 – The Reign of Hezekiah

Repairing the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:3-11)

Hezekiah’s first challenge as king was to repair the doors of the Temple (that had been closed) and re-institute daily worship and sacrifices (2 Chronicles 29:3). Summoning the priests and Levites, Hezekiah commanded them to cleanse themselves and begin the task of cleaning the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:4-5).

As Judah’s leader, the king identified the failures of the previous generations and how they neglected their spiritual roles in the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:6-7). Hezekiah identified the sorrows that had befallen Israel as “the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 29:8-9).

Setting an example of humility and sincerity, Hezekiah revealed his resolve to renew the covenant with the LORD and to pray that He would turn away “His fierce wrath” from the nation (2 Chronicles 29:10). Challenging the Levites and priests as a loving king, Hezekiah reminded them of their holy calling and said, “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” (2 Chronicles 29:11).

A Call for Revival (2 Chronicles 29:12-36)

A Call for Revival (2 Chronicles 29:12-36)

The Levites embraced Hezekiah’s challenge and prepared themselves to serve the LORD and “cleanse the house of the LORD” (29:15). The king appointed two leaders from each of the three major Levite clans (the sons of Kohath, Merari, and Gershon, 2 Chronicles 29:12). He then appointed two men from a fourth clan (sons of Elizaphan, 2 Chronicles 29:13a), and leaders to represent the three musical Levite families (sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, 2 Chronicles 29:13b-14).

The Levites and priests then began cleaning the Temple and its grounds. The priests cleaned the Temple interior, removed unclean items, and took them to “the brook of Kidron,” where they were burned (2 Chronicles 29:15-16). The cleansing of the Temple lasted sixteen days (2 Chronicles 29:17). Then the priests and Levites “went in to Hezekiah the king” and informed him, “We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread table, with all the vessels thereof” (2 Chronicles 29:18-19).

Hezekiah summoned the leaders of Jerusalem, and they “went up to the house of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 29:20) to rededicate the Temple. The leaders brought bullocks, rams, lambs, and goats for “a sin offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary, and for Judah” according to the law (2 Chronicles 29:21; Leviticus 4:1-5:13). Laying their hands on the animals to be sacrificed, the leaders identified in their deaths the substitute for their sins as individuals and representatives of Judah (2 Chronicles 29:22-24).

The Levite musicians took their places (2 Chronicles 29:25-26). The king commanded the burnt offerings be sacrificed as the musical instruments accompanied the worship service (2 Chronicles 29:27). “All the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded” (2 Chronicles 29:28). Once again, the psalms of the LORD were heard in the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:30).

Hezekiah then invited the congregation of Judah to bring their offerings to the LORD (2 Chronicles 29:31). The number of burnt offerings was so great that the Levites were called upon to assist the priests (2 Chronicles 29:32-35).

Closing thought for 2 Chronicles 29

The Scriptures record a great lesson in the manner God would have His people to give, for “the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings” (2 Chronicles 29:31). The rededication of the Temple, and restoration of worship and offerings were accomplished in Hezekiah’s first year as king (2 Chronicles 29:3). 2 Chronicles 29 concluded with the king and the people rejoicing (2 Chronicles 29:36).

Israel’s Fall Presented a Crisis of Faith for Hezekiah and Judah. (2 Kings 18:9-12)

2 Kings 18 – The Fall of Northern Israel and the Reign of Hezekiah

The early years of Hezekiah’s reign were glorious, and the LORD blessed his leadership (2 Kings 18:7-8). Nevertheless, storm clouds were on the horizon, for in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign, Samaria, the capital of northern Israel, fell to Assyria, and the nation was taken into captivity (2 Kings 18:9-11).

Israel’s Fall Presented a Crisis of Faith for Hezekiah and Judah. (2 Kings 18:9-12)

Unfortunately, rather than trust the LORD, the young king decided to enslave Judah to pay tribute to Assyria (2 Kings 18:13-14). The Assyrian king’s demands were great, and Hezekiah was forced to give him the treasuries of his palace and the Temple (2 Kings 18:15) to meet Assyria’s demands. Sadly, Hezekiah was forced to strip the gold overlay from the doors and pillars of the Temple (2 Kings 18:16).

Adding to the humiliation, the king of Assyria sent a great army to lay siege to Jerusalem. A delegation of Assyrian ambassadors demanded Hezekiah surrender the capital city to their king (2 Kings 18:17-22). Day after day, the Assyrians stood outside the walls of Jerusalem, mocked the God of Israel, and scorned Hezekiah and his soldiers (18:23-35).

Wisely, the soldiers obeyed Hezekiah’s command and answered the Assyrians with silence (2 Kings 18:36). When he received news of the taunts of the Assyrian delegation (18:37), Hezekiah humbled himself, “rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD” (2 Kings 19:1). 

Closing thought for 2 Kings 18

Hezekiah reigned for 29 years in Judah, and he purged the nation of its idolatry and led the people back to the LORD (2 Kings 18:4). He was a godly king, unlike any other (2 Kings 18:5-6), but the spiritual revival he led died with him (2 Kings 21:1-2).

Lesson – Every generation must decide whom they will serve. Tragically, the bent of man’s heart is to do evil, and without spiritual revival, a nation inevitably invites God’s judgment.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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