Sunday, May 22, 2016

Prophets And Kings, Day 105. King Hezekiah Of Judah, Part 3

Prophets And Kings
Day 105
King Hezekiah Of Judah 
Part 3

Today we continue studying King Hezekiah and how he reopened and rededicated the temple of the Lord.

2 CHRONICLES 29:25-36
"He stationed the Levites in the temple of the Lord with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king's seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the Lord through the prophets. So the Levites stood ready with David's instruments, and the priests with their trumpets." (2 Chronicles 29:25-26) Hezekiah is careful to do everything exactly as God instructed through the prophets.

"Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the Lord began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the musicians played and the trumpets sounded. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed." (2 Chronicles 29:27-28) I suspect David's instruments had lain unused for a very long time. Nobody was coming to the house of the Lord to sing His praises anymore.

There is healing for our souls in praising the Lord. No matter what our circumstances are, no matter how bad we feel either physically or mentally, praising the Lord works like a healing balm on us. David learned this while he guarded the sheep as a young boy. He learned it while he played the lyre for a mad king. He learned it while he led the armies of Israel. He learned it in his darkest hours, when his life was in jeopardy from King Saul and later when even one of his own sons conspired against him. David knew he could get through anything if he sang the praises of the Lord.

In Psalm 5 we find him saying, "Let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy."
In Psalm 7, "I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High."
In Psalm 11, "Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what He has done."
In Psalm 13, "I will sing the Lord's praise, for He has been good to me."
In Psalm 18, "You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man You rescued me. Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your name."
In Psalm 21, "Be exalted in Your strength, Lord; we will sing and praise Your might."
In Psalm 27, "Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord."
In Psalm 30, "You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever."

We could go on and on studying all the instances of David singing to the Lord, but we can see just how important this form of praise was in David's life. If singing the praises of the Lord got David through all his troubles, surely it will help us in our troubles too. My family and I will gather at church this morning and one of the things I look forward to most is the singing. Often there is nothing that uplifts my soul more than songs sung to the Lord. In the car I keep a collection of worship music CDs and my radio buttons are set to all the local Christian radio stations. I love to drive and sing along with these songs, even though I have no talent, but the Lord thankfully looks on the heart and not on whether I have a good singing voice. The other day I meant to take a particular exit to refill a prescription face cream I get from my dermatologist. One of my favorite worship songs came on and I began to sing along and the next thing I knew I was two exits past where I meant to turn off, so powerful was the presence of the Lord with me. In Psalm 22:3 David wrote that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. I have to agree with David, for it seems God feels most present when we lift up praise and thankfulness to Him. When we are in this attitude, He pours out His spirit on us and makes Himself known.

"When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshiped. King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the Lord with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang praises and bowed down and worshiped." (2 Chronicles 29:29-30) I think there is nothing more beautiful and precious in the sight of the Lord than the sight of His people bowing down in thankfulness. The Lord doesn't need our praise but we need to praise. We need to recognize the awesome power of One so much bigger than us. We need to admit we can't make it without Him. We need the kind of help that only He can give.

"Then Hezekiah said, 'You have now dedicated yourselves to the Lord. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of the Lord.' So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings. The number of burnt offerings that the assembly brought was seventy bulls, a hundred rams and two hundred male lambs---all of them for burnt offerings to the Lord. The animals consecrated as sacrifices amounted to six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep and goats." (2 Chronicles 29:32-33) A burnt offering was often used for cleansing, for cleansing of personal sin and for cleansing of national sin, so it's appropriate that so many of these were offered when the temple was rededicated. The people had made themselves unclean with idols and they had defiled the temple by placing objects inside it which were against God's law. When a burnt offering is a whole burnt offering, it is an offering made for atonement. Many times when a person brought an offering, only certain parts of the animal were kept as an offering and the rest could be eaten by the bringer and his family. But in a whole burnt offering, the entire sacrifice was given up to the Lord; the person could keep none of it back. It was a complete relinquishing of the finest animal of the herd which signified the person surrendering all to the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ gave all of Himself on our behalf as an offering of atonement. He held nothing back. He was poured out for us, wholly surrendered to the will of the Father. He gave His best because He was the best, a perfect spotless Lamb.

"The priests, however, were too few to skin all the burnt offerings; so their relatives the Levites helped them until the task was finished and until the other priests had been consecrated, for the Levites had been more conscientious in consecrating themselves than the priests had been." (2 Chronicles 29:34) The people brought so many sacrifices that there weren't enough priests to handle them and so more priests had to be consecrated to help perform these duties. 

"There were burnt offerings in abundance, together with the fat of the fellowship offerings and the drink offerings that accompanied the burnt offerings. 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." (2 Chronicles 29:35-36) When the Lord gets ready to move, He moves. We may have to wait a while for a particular prayer to be answered, but when the time is right, He doesn't waste any time. The people are thankful that the work was accomplished so quickly. They give the Lord praise for what He has enabled them to do. They have worked hard themselves to get to this point but they give all the glory to the Lord for the health and strength and talent to do this work. 

We have nothing that we got on our own. The Lord gave us our very life. He gave us whatever health we possess, whatever intelligence, whatever talents. We wouldn't be able to take the next breath unless it was His will. How can we really take the credit for anything? All the praise and honor and glory for all things should be His and His alone.

Sing to the Lord today, whether you have a beautiful singing voice or whether you sing like I do....with lots of enthusiasm but with little skill. See if it doesn't uplift your spirit. See if it doesn't renew your hope. See if it doesn't improve your outlook on the future. The Lord is God and He is our King, seated on the throne forever, our Helper and our Redeemer. We praise His name.

Below is a lovely worship song to our King.

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