The major figures of the Great Awakening in the New Land (America), were George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Gilbert Tennent, Jonathan Dickinson and Samuel Davies, evangelicals, who preached a pietistic form of Calvinism heavily influenced by the Puritan tradition. George Whitefield preached in Jonathan Edwards’ Church and even though Edwards was himself a man used by God is this revival … Whitefield could write … and I abbreviate …
As I preached the Gospel I watched Mr. Edwards in the front pew weeping and weeping as he heard the gospel. Some people say the gospel needs to be heard once and that’s enough. That is ridiculous and naïve. You see, those tears of Edwards were tears of joy and thanksgiving coupled to pleading. He was happy because he experienced the effectual call of God; he was thankful to God for His mercy and kindness … and as he heard the gospel proclaimed he sought the Lord to save souls in his parish.
A Christian can never hear the gospel message enough because that message is an eternal message. Just think of one of the songs of Zion:
Rev 5:9 “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
God’s greatest miracle shall never be forgotten throughout all eternity! If you get tired of listening to the gospel ask yourself whether you have been changed by the gospel. Remember the gospel is about God’s rescue plan for sinners lost in rebellion. Sin is the main feature that required the Godman’s pure, holy blood to remove its stain that caused depravity. So as we return to Hezekiah …
1) Hezekiah laid the blame for Judah’s descent into depravity of the worst sort at the feet of their fore-fathers.
2Ch 29:6 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. 7 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.
This is damning evidence against those who went before. Look at these indictments … unfaithful, (described by what follows) … did evil, forsook, turned faces away, turned their backs, shut the doors to the temple courts, put out the lamps (symbolizing God’s presence), no incense (no prayers) and no burnt offering to appease for sin. They shut God out from their temple, homes and land. As they abandoned God, God gave them over to paganism! Take some time and read Romans 1:18-32 to see what happens when people banish God … He banishes them! Now we have the great advantage that Christianity is not a set of do’s and don’ts and laws. Rather Christianity is Gospel, grace, mercy and kindness. We don’t have to follow our fore-fathers and how they might have moved away from the True God to forms of paganism and idolatry. We have the Gospel. We have the Bible. We have prayer. We have the Holy Spirit. We have each other. We don’t need to move away from our Lord because if we do there is every likelihood that we were never part of Him in the first place!
2) Hezekiah explained the consequences of their fore-father’s depravity.
2Ch 29:8 “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. 9 This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity.”
Although these verses are forward looking to Jeremiah’s prophecy about the Babylonian exile in 586 BC, because of the Judeans rejection of God in the 8th Century BC, they lost wars and many of the men were killed, many women and children were captures and taken into exile. The author is showing the harshness of the situation when His people reject Him. Can we ever forget God’s promise and warning in the Ten Commandments?
Ex 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
God fulfilled this promise many times but especially during the wicked reign of Ahaz, Hezekiah’s father. Beloved, please see the importance of getting the gospel to your children, coupled to Bible Readings (and explanations) and prayer. Who will carry the Gospel torch if they fail? What will happen to the church and society if you fail? It is bad enough that our society has decayed and fallen into depravity of the most serious kind … imagine if the Church follows society.
3) Hezekiah as king calls on the spiritual leadership to join him in faithful service.
2Ch 29:10 “Now I intend to make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 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.”
Are you able to see the state of the nation because of its wickedness? God “fierce anger” was upon them. They were suffering, not only losing wars, losing men killed on the battle field and losing women and children in exile. Economically they suffered as God did not bless their crops. Spiritually they suffered because of idolatry. The king, even though 25 understood the desperate need for spiritual reform before economic provision and military victory. As the Commander in Chief of Judah he addresses his subordinates (Levites and Priests) as “sons” to get started in serving God promising he will be making a covenant with God. Those who serve (verses 12-14) got working
2Ch 29:15 When they had assembled their brothers and consecrated themselves, they went in to purify the temple of the LORD, as the king had ordered, following the word of the LORD. 16 The priests went into the sanctuary of the LORD to purify it.
They brought out to the courtyard of the LORD’S temple everything unclean that they found in the temple of the LORD. The Levites took it and carried it out to the Kidron Valley. They made a clean sweep getting rid of everything (idols and things used for pagan worship) that prevented true, holy worship dumping it in this Valley, a place used for such unclean things.
Help me Lord to clean up my heart, Your Temple. Amen.