Good morning! Today in 2 Chronicles 29-31, we are not talking about battles or the sinfulness of rulers, for once! Instead, the topic is spiritual reform under the umbrella of righteous King Hezekiah. I’ve been thinking about this with a metaphor of the renewal of vows for a couple who have been together awhile, and are now recommitting to spend more time together. The Hebrew people have been “God’s chosen people” so long that they’ve taken God for granted, making necessary some deliberate and eventually fruitful time together.
The cleansing and “re-traditioning” of King Hezekiah’s reign starts with the temple in Jerusalem. The very first thing Hezekiah does in his first month as king is to cleanse and consecrate the temple again. The reason for this is not so much because God needs the place to be holy, but because giving time to this sacred work reconnects the people and their leaders with God’s presence. Therefore, they enact a massive deep cleaning of the temple, plus repair and replacement of temple pieces (like utensils) that had been misappropriated. Hezekiah also oversees a restoration of temple worship and sacrifice practices, with the full pageantry of singers and instruments, whose musical service is emphasized as we’ve seen before. The great number of offerings overwhelm the temple priests, so that they have to call for backup from other Levites. This is just a preview of the superabundant “payoff” which is characteristic when the people return to the God that they’ve taken for granted.
The cleansing spreads out from temple to town in 2 Chronicles 30, and Hezekiah’s people break down the false shrines which were set up under Ahaz and others. Hezekiah also leads the people in keeping the Passover again, something that hadn’t been done in years. Think of this as watching a wedding video on your anniversary—recalling the old, old story of when you first fell in love. Even when the steps aren’t the same with this Passover (twice as long, poorly attended from the northern tribes, and insufficiently consecrated people), Hezekiah’s leadership models getting the intention right even though the ritual is wrong. What’s more, Hezekiah is right there through it all, watching up close and giving encouragement and direction throughout the process.
By the time we get to chapter 31, the process of cleansing from idolatry stretches beyond Jerusalem to all of Judah and its associated tribes. One of the most significant details here is the abundant generosity from those who are so glad that their prayers are now being heard. Great heaps of food and other gifts pile up near the temple, so much so that storerooms need to be set up in the temple itself. Signs of bounty and promise abound here, giving hope for the future. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is 2 Chronicles 32-33. Thanks for reading!