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restored house July 9 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 2Chronicles 29:3- 31:21; Psalms 66, 67

Cleanup and Restoration

It is no secret that our homes get cluttered and very dirty in just a short amount of time. Some people are cleanies and some people are messies (not real words, but you get the idea). The messies do not usually do the cleaning; they leave the messes for the cleanies to clean up. King Hezekiah was called of God to clean up the mess that his daddy, King Ahaz, made of the house (nation) of Judah. What did he do? What he did can give us a clue as to what we should do to clean up the spiritual messes in our lives, and maybe that of our family and nation.

In the first month of the first year of his reign, he [King Hezekiah] opened the doors of the temple of the LORD and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: ‘Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the LORD, the God of your fathers. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.

Our fathers were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the LORD our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the LORD's dwelling place and turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. Therefore, the anger of the LORD has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity.

Now I intend to make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense."” (2Chronicles 29:3-11, NIV).

Here are some things we can learn from Hezekiah's example:

First, we must take an honest look at our spiritual house to see the mess that needs cleaned up and why it got that way. The reason our spiritual life becomes a mess is usually because we allow someone to negatively influence our spiritual life, or, more commonly, we just neglect it. We neglect to offer ourselves to the Lord for his service (Romans 12:1). We neglect the teaching and preaching of God's Word and our daily devotions. We allow other things to replace our time of going to church and spending time with God and his people (Hebrews 10:25). We stop serving God. We close the doors to any spiritual involvement. We scorn God and the Bible. Soon, we have a spiritual mess. God stops blessing us, and we experience his chastisement. We threaten to lose our place and testimony in the church and our community. We may even lose our jobs, our family, and our nation. Life becomes a mess that must be cleaned up! Good spiritual leaders do not ignore the mess; like Hezekiah they deal with it.

After the inspection and assessment of the temple, the second thing King Hezekiah did was to organize a cleanup team. The temple was a mess and it was the Levites and priests who were set apart to do the work. If churches and other religious organizations want revival and restoration, the leaders first need to confess their sins and devote themselves to God. The Levites and priests consecrated themselves to the LORD, then they removed all the idols, altars, and everything else that did not belong in the temple and threw them all into the Kidron Valley (kind of like a city dump). Then they restored all the articles for worship that King Ahaz had taken out of the temple. They were inspired to work, and so it took only sixteen days to restore the temple and get it ready for worship. When our spiritual lives are a mess, we need to get rid of all the junk in our lives and replace it with things that draw us to worship the LORD. It may not take us long, either, if we are inspired to do it.

There was no time for Hezekiah to admire how clean the sanctuary now was; the people’s lives still needed to be cleaned up. This is the third step of cleanup and restoration.

Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together and went up to the temple of the LORD. They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs and seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these on the altar of the LORD,” (2 Chronicles 29:20-21, NIV).

Notice Hezekiah was so eager to get everything right with God that he did this early the next morning. Are we that eager to restore our relationship with God? We should be. Thankfully, we do not have to offer animal sacrifices today. They did that in those days to fulfill God’s requirements for a substitutionary payment for their sins; but now Jesus Christ provides a substitutionary payment for our sins by his death on the cross (more...). His death on Calvary on our behalf fulfills all the requirements for sins once for all time (Hebrews 9).

Sacrifices and confession of sin led the nation of Judah to worship. How do we clean up our lives? The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9, NIV, more...). After being forgiven, the people of Judah sang songs of praise to God and bowed their heads. This was a time of great joy and spiritual restoration for Judah. Repentance leads to forgiveness which leads to joy and worship!

In gratitude for God’s forgiveness, the people of Judah brought gifts to him to be used for his temple. This example provides the reason why we have offerings in churches today; we are grateful for the LORD’s blessings and want to contribute to his work. We rejoice at what God is doing in our lives and churches.

In Judah, restoration led to evangelism and invitation. When the LORD restored the people, they shared the message with the small number of brother Israelites who were left behind when the rest of their people were taken into exile in Assyria. They invited them to repent and join them in worship. They promised God’s grace would be upon them if they would turn away from sin to God. Most mocked them and scorned them, but some humbled themselves, repented, and then came to celebrate the Passover feast.

At the Passover feast they all consecrated themselves anew to the LORD. After the joyous celebration, they returned home and destroyed their altars that stood in the way of their worship of the one true God. What stands in the way of our worship of God? Are we ready to get rid of it?

Last, after the revival and the Passover feast, Hezekiah set up regular worship and contributions to the priests, the teachers of the law and the ministers of the sacrifices. He gave his people regular responsibilities and accountability so they would continue in the things of the LORD. Are our daily spiritual habits conducive to continued fellowship and faithfulness? Do we read God’s word so that we may obey it? Do we confess our sins to God and each other? Do we seek the LORD in everything and every way? Will we be faithful in giving to our church tithes and offerings and our services? Will we be under the teaching of God’s word on a regular basis? Will we gather together as a community of believers for prayer and worship? If we do, we are likely to prosper as God prospered Judah under Hezekiah.

Lessons to live by: (concerning cleanup and restoration)

  • Take an honest look at your spiritual house to see the mess that needs cleaned up and why it got that way.
  • Organize yourselves and start the cleanup right away, beginning with your own hearts (more...). Confess your sins and devote yourselves totally to God and his service.
  • Cleanup the mess. Get some help if you need it. Get rid of the junk in your life (Colossians 3:1-17) and replace it with things that will draw you to God (like the Bible, devotionals, and prayer journals)
  • Repentance leads to forgiveness which leads to joy and worship!
  • Invite others to join you in your spiritual commitments.
  • Make plans to keep your spiritual house clean and start today.

Today’s Bible memory verse: Isaiah 55:6: “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near,” (NIV).

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