Sunday, January 8, 2012

The time for renewal is now!

Based on 2 Chronicles 29-32

Hezekiah became king at 25 years old. To place that age in perspective, according to "the law", you had to be at least 30 in order to be a priest in the temple. Yet, here was this "young man" who wasn't old enough for the priesthood, being tapped to become the king over God's people. 

Wow! What a responsibility! He wasn't just required to see to their spiritual well being, but also their economic, legal, and physical well being. 

Hezekiah was raised as a prince over Israel. He had all the luxuries that come with that title. He wore the choicest clothes, ate the best foods, was attended to by manifold servants. 

But Hezekiah wasn't always raised as royalty. He was 9 years old when his father, Ahaz, became king. He watched as his father did "not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father:" For 16 years, he watched his father, the king, destroy the work of God in Israel and raise up the works of Baal. 

Yet, in his mind, he remembered his Grandpa, King Jotham, who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He had 16 years to watch and compare the reigns of his Grandpa, Jotham and his father, Ahaz. 

So where does a young king start? Did he start with the economy? No. Did he start with the legal system? No. Did he start with the military protection of his people? No. Does he start with the land laws of the people and any disputes there may be? No. 

Of all the things he looked and saw in his new kingdom, the thing that he felt needed to be addressed before anything else, was the work of the Lord in his kingdom! 

So he calls a massive overhaul of the temple. Did he make up a "new way"? No. I'm sure that, to those who had grown accustomed to Ahaz's rules, Hezekiah's ways did seem new. But, in the eyes of God, it was a return to God's ways. 

He calls the priests and levites to consecrate themselves. He calls for a cleansing of the temple. He calls for a cleansing of the altar. He calls for a cleansing of the people. He calls for the tearing down the altars and groves of Baal and Ashteroth. 

A massive "revival" is the result. The house of God is set in order. The people's homes are put in order. In the process, even the poor were taken care of. They sent invitations to the surrounding areas and some folks from Israel and other "Israeli" areas were brought back to God's fold. 

What were the results as far as their relations to other countries? They were attacked by Sennicharab and the Assyrians come calling to attack. They blasphemed God almighty and threatened and intimidated the people of God. 

Hezekiah calls a solemn assembly and asks for the Lord's help. He made ready for a strong defense, but he didn't send out the chariots to battle. He simply seeks the Lord. What happens, the Lord rewarded all of their faithfulness by fighting the battle FOR them and destroying the Assyrians- sending them fleeing without Israel having to lift a finger to fight. 

The results of that were that Israel became well known and honored by the other nations- even fearing them to the point of not attacking or threatening them. Israel, over all, enjoyed relative peace (with a few "bumps in the road") for the rest of Hezekiah's 29 year reign. 

What's the point of all this, br Winskie? Simply this:

Our nation has fallen into a state of deep sin. Our churches have fallen into a free spirit state of mind. Anything goes. Let's not talk about doctrine, you might offend someone. Let's not worry about God's ways of doing things, people will run away from your church. Let's just get together, "put our praise on", and enjoy the "blessings of God". 

But what god is sending the blessings? Is it the one true God (Jesus)? Or is it Baal of old? People forget 1 Timothy 6: 1Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
 2And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
 3If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
 4He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
 5Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

Just because God heals, doesn't mean he approves of their religion, but Baal (Satan) does. Just because all your financial needs are cared for, doesn't mean that God is the one meeting those needs- but Baal sometimes is. 

It's time for us, as preachers of "the Gospel of Jesus Christ", and as "children of God", to call a "solemn assembly"! It's time for us to spend time in prayer, fasting, and consecration to God. It's time for us, like Hezekiah of old, to get into the word of God. We need to compare the ways folks are doing things now, with the ways God's word says to do them- and make changes accordingly! 

What will be the results? a) Right standing with God! What better result could we hope and pray for? b) Right standing with our "brothers and sisters in the Lord" (at least the ones who have returned to God, as well). c) Protection from our enemies. Not that we won't have trials and battles, but as long as we're in right relationship with God, we'll be victorious! Those battles we've been fighting for years- like Assyria attacking Israel of old- will be over! Victory will be ours! 

Hezekiah took over after his father died. Look around, church. How many men of God has the Lord been calling home, lately? They've ran their races and fought their fight. Nothing against them, but I believe that God is making room for our generation to stand up and do a work WITH the Lord (not FOR the Lord). The prophesied end time revival is here and it's OUR generations time to lead the way! 

Will we continue to allow the things to go on that our forefathers have allowed to creep in? Or will we, like Hezekiah, stand for righteousness and remove the evil from our midst? Will we enjoy the temporary "blessings" of Baal? Or we will enjoy the permanent blessings of Jesus?  Hezekiah's epitaph was "he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord". Wake up, church! What does our generation want our epitaph to be?