Returning To God
We have read time and again of a new king in Israel who “did right” in the eyes of the Lord but didn’t remove the places of pagan worship to man-made gods. Yesterday we began to read about a king that went the distance. In fact, we first read about him in 2 Kings.
2 Kings 18:3-4 ESV
“And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).”
Hezekiah became king after the death of his father Ahaz. Ahaz was a despicable character. He looked to Assyria to protect him from his enemies rather than to God. He closed up the temple and set up worship of foreign gods. Needless to say he led Judah into its lowest point in history up to that time.
Why is it that we often have to come to the end of ourselves before we are willing to return to God? That was the case with Judah. Hezekiah was as night is to day when compared to his father. This king worshipped the One True God. This king was the first to take down the high places of pagan worship to foreign gods. This king not only called on the people of Judah back to worship but he sent messengers to the Northern Kingdom of Israel to call them back to worship as well. This king led an incredible revival and is so important in God’s eyes that he is mentioned in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isaiah. Here finally was a king like David.
The people had gotten so far away from God that they were not completely prepared to execute temple worship in general, and the Passover specifically, as the Bible commanded. Hezekiah prayed on behalf of those who sought God that they might be pardoned for celebrating worship in an unclean state.
2 Chronicles 30:18-20 ESV
“For a majority of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than as prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.” And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.”
What this passage shows me once again is that God is all about the heart. He laid down the Law to show us our need for a Savior. When our heart desires Him, when we seek Him, He forgives our sin. Those who seek, find. No matter how far we have fled from God, He is faithful and true to welcome us back and heal us if we will truly seek Him with all our heart. What a wonderful, gracious God we serve!
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 7/19/11)