(Today’s post by Wayne Bunting)
2 Chronicles 29:1-31:1
The history of Israel and Judah after King Solomon was a period of time that saw a lot of ups and downs in the righteousness of its kings. There was a great mix of good kings and bad, those who followed God and those who followed other gods. In 2 Chronicles from chapter 10 on we see this back and forth loyalty to God. Now in chapter 29 we see that Hezekiah comes to power. He succeeded his father, Ahaz, and inherited a kingdom that had been plunged into the darkness of idolatry by him. Ahaz denied God and made sacrifices to the Syrian gods, the gods of those who had defeated him, in hopes that his situation would improve. But 2 Chronicles 28:23 says that this was “the ruin of him and of all Israel.” In addition to this, Ahaz “shut up the doors of the house of the Lord, and he made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem. In every city of Judah he made high places to make offerings to other gods, provoking to anger the Lord, the God of his fathers.” He cut off the lamps (Which represented the reading of the word), and he stopped the burning of incense (which represented prayers to God). In essence he cut off the Lord.
It’s in this context that Hezekiah begins to reign. In the very first month that he is king the first thing that he does is to re-open the doors of the temple that Ahaz closed, and immediately put the Levitical priests back to work. One thing that is interesting that he said to the priests is that “Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, in order that his fierce anger may turn away from us.” The priests cleaned out the temple that had been defiled and re-initiated the Levitical rituals and sacrifices. Everything was put back in order the way God wanted it to be by Hezekiah. And in 30:1 he did something amazing; he sent out letters to the northern kingdom of Israel and invited them to come celebrate Passover with them. In doing this he was attempting to unite all of God’s people and get them to serve God again. Nowhere in Chronicles, except for king David and Solomon, is as much attention given to a king as Hezekiah. This is because he was a righteous king who sought after the Lord.
This is a lesson to any of us who are leaders, or who aspire to be a leader. Be it in the context of leading God’s people, or in another context of leadership that the Lord has given you in this world, the call to lead is a great one. God rises up leaders to accomplish certain tasks at certain times, and now more than ever is great leadership needed in the church. Great leadership has always been needed in the church, but just as the heroes of the faith that came before us stood up to Satan’s lies that had persisted and thrived in the church and society, so now does the church need bold leaders to reflect the call of Christ in their hearts, and lead the charge.
Hezekiah was a leader who led the charge against all that stood against God. He cleaned out the land of anything that exalted itself against the truth of God and set God in the forefront of the people he was charged with leading. He did this because he loved and feared God. Anyone who seeks to lead God’s people properly must first and foremost fear God, love Him, and submit their own ways to His. I think that it is very important that we pray for the Lord to rise up leaders in the church who will lead God’s people in the right direction.
So the charge that I leave you with is to seek the Lord for the sake of God’s shepherds. Just as Israel’s kings were charged with leading God’s people in the right direction, so too are God’s pastors today charged with the same charge. Pray for them that they would have the boldness that is needed for the task at hand. Pray that they would be willing to fear God and put Him first above themselves and above the ways of the world. And importantly that they would be willing to face any and all odds that come as a result of their leading others to God. The church needs bold leadership to oppose the lies that are tearing the church down and establishing the ways of the world. The church needs men who are willing to stand up and show the world who Christ is, to show the world the uncompromising truth of the God who made them, and to face any opposition that the world will throw at them for the sake of Christ. In other words, we need leaders who will be willing to face anything for the sake of Christ, and we need to be a church who will do likewise.