2nd Chronicles 31; Hezekiah the Great Reforming King (4) – NORMALISING THE REFORMATION

Hezekiah as a young King was the instrument that God had used to re-establish temple worship in Judah and to unite the peoples of Israel in a way that hadn’t been seen for more than two hundred years. The temple was cleaned and made ready, the altar was reignited, the temple was rededicated and the nation enjoyed one of the greatest Passovers in all of its illustrious history. This was both a reformation and a revival. God was working spectacularly among His people once again.

The opening verse of Chapter 31 properly belongs to the previous chapter in that it demonstrates the dramatic effect the great Passover had on those attended. They returned to their localities determined to stamp out the false worship that had become so engrained into the fabric of society. From north to south images were broken down and heathen altars destroyed. A reformation which fails to capture the spirit of the ordinary people will fail.

The 16th Century Reformation in countries like England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and several of the German states was successful because the people were carried away with the truth that their preachers set before them. In Scotland the people tore down the images from their places within the churches, determined that never again would Popery and priestcraft prevail over them. In England the people bought up Tyndale’s New Testament in great numbers even though it was officially contraband, because they had a thirst for the Word of God. Alas, in Ireland the situation was quite different – the Reformation failed in this emerald isle as the people continued to hanker after their priests and their masses, and Ireland suffered in every way.

A dramatic work, however, is of little long term value unless structures are put to place to ensure a continuation. In Scotland John Knox organised the Presbyterian form of worship and in so doing ensured that the Reformation would be felt by succeeding generations long after the initial flurry of excitement passed away. In England the reformed Anglican Church was established with Reformation truth at the heart of the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion. One of the greatest acts in the work of normalising the Protestant Reformation was the publishing of the King James Version, which we continue to be blessed by to the present. Continuing a ministry year after year beyond a revival is as important as the revival itself.

Hezekiah, being the wise and good man that he was, recognised this and so set procedures in place where the work established during his reformation was normalised. This was what happened at the Protestant Reformation. Truths that were revolutionary and which sent godly people to their deaths became ordinary truths in the sense that they became part of the fabric of the church of Christ; the right of the Christian to have a Bible in his or her language, the necessity of faith alone, that the Pope is not the head of the Church and the blasphemy of the Mass. We must resist every attempt to take our nation back to those dark times. Rome has used the tragic murder of David Amess to stake her claim over this United Kingdom; Popery never misses an opportunity to extend her cause over the hearts of men and women. In sending a personal message to Westminster Cathedral where the Pope paid tribute to Mr Amess’s “efforts to foster understanding and cooperation with the Holy See in its universal mission”. The Pope’s universal mission is to bring all Christians under the authority of him as the vicar of Christ on earth. Let us never underestimate the threat that Rome is to the Gospel and let us appreciate the work that done at the Reformation in delivering us from priestcraft and superstition, a work which was normalised that which was once seen as controversial and which sadly in these dark times is starting to become controversial once more.

This study looks at Hezekiah’s role as an administrator as he organised the worship of God and made regular that which had been set aside by Ahaz, his Father.

Organising the Priesthood (v.2-3)

Hezekiah appointed courses, or rotas, of priests, thus ensuring that every offering would be cared for and that the praises would be duly offered. He selected his priests carefully according to their ability, for the overall benefit of the work.

Providing for the Temple Worship (v. 3-5)

Having a priesthood to function and work faithfully would not have been successful without the provision to pay for their work. Hezekiah , therefore, set aside a portion of his own substance for the temple before commanding the people of Jerusalem to give from their wealth for the priests and Levites. He wanted to encourage the Lord’s workers as they did the Lord’s work and to ensure that they were properly cared for. He shows himself to be a most practical and thoughtful individual. The people responded to this appeal from the King, the Scriptures record the details of their giving. We ought to be thoughtful and practical in our providing for the Lord’s work, remembering always the great end – the glory of God.

Building the Treasury (v.6-11)

Such was the weight of giving that Hezekiah was confronted with another problem when he saw the heaps. The people gave more than what was required, now storage was the issue. Hezekiah embarked upon a new development programme for the treasury. Not only had he reopened the temple, now he was adding to the temple because God’s people had given such an enormous amount of gifts for the Lord’s work. The reason why he had to build this extension was because God was working among his people again. When God works among the Church, the people will give, whatever their circumstances. I saw one church in the United States complain about Government lockdowns because their giving was down by fifty per cent and the congregation was struggling financially. I would suggest there is a deeper problem there than Government lockdowns. When God’s people do not give to God’s work there is a lack of burden, a lack of interest and a lack commitment. Hezekiah had no such difficulty.

Appointing the Overseers (v12-19)

The next step Hezekiah took was the appointment of overseers to administer this new treasury. In every detail Hezekiah did not fail. The inspired historian names these overseers, trustworthy men who used their ability for the smooth running of the work of God. God identifies, knows and notices every one of his faithful servants. He has a work for each of us in his vineyard, a work for which we are uniquely fitted; every aspect of this work, from the great to the small is necessary and important.

Hezekiah also followed the tradition of distributing the Levites throughout the nation, they had their cities towns and suburbs. This ensured a godly influence in every district. In the months when the people were engaged in their regular mundane employments there would always be a community of God’s servants living among them.

Faithful in Every Detail (v20-21)

There is nothing relating to God’s work which is not spiritual. From organising rotas to erecting buildings all was done according to what was “right and truth before the Lord his God.” As he prayed through every detail, seeking his God, engaging his heart in this good work he prospered. Not only did Hezekiah prosper but the land did well also. All those who gave generously to the work prospered, no man or woman was ever the poorer through giving to God, no nation has ever suffered from putting God first.

England and Scotland prospered as the Protestant Reformation was consolidated. The Act of Union which was arose out of the Reformation played a pivotal role in transforming the United Kingdom from being a collection of nations on the periphery of Europe to becoming a first rate power with considerable international influence. Sadly Britain’s departure from her Christian and Protestant heritage is matched by a decline in her position in the world, a decline that seems set to continue unabated. So serious is her decline that the United Kingdom is in real danger of degenerating once again into a collection of nations on the edge of Europe; if the Act of Union is broken and Scotland goes her own way in the world it will be a tangible evidence of the judgement of God.

We need to pray increasingly that God would raise up a Hezekiah like figure, to lead this nation back to godliness and that a work of revival would be consolidated among us; then and only then will our children have a basis to embrace a positive future.

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