"THE WHOLE HEART."
Intro. Hezekiah was a very good king even though his father was very wicked as was his son. Under the reign of Hezekiah the people were brought back to one nation under God. It was during the reign of Hezekiah that the Northern Kingdom had fallen to Assyria, and was carried away captive from their land. Hezekiah appealed to the small remnant that were left to come South and join with them in the worship of Jehovah; some responded, while others laughed it off. Under the reign of Hezekiah, the people prospered, and it was a time of national blessings and great joy.
I. THE KEY TO HIS SUCCESSFUL REIGN IS FOUND IN VERSE 21. AND IN EVERY WORK THAT HE BEGAN IN THE SERVICE OF THE HOUSE OF GOD, AND IN THE LAW, AND IN THE COMMANDMENTS, TO SEEK HIS GOD, HE DID IT WITH ALL HIS HEART, AND PROSPERED.
A. The different works of Hezekiah.
1. The service of the house of God.
a. One of the very first actions that he took as king was to order the doors of the house of the Lord to be opened.
b. He ordered the priests to sanctify the house of the Lord so that they might begin to worship again in the house of the Lord.
c. He declared that it was in his heart to make a covenant to serve the Lord.
d. The task was put on a fast track and was completed in just 16 days.
e. Once the temple was sanctified he ordered the sin offering sacrifices to be made.
f. We read:
And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. And Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began with the trumpets, and with the instruments as it was in the time of David king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpets sounded: they continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped. Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and Asaph. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped. Then
Hezekiah answered and said, Now that you have consecrated yourselves unto the LORD, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and offerings of thanksgiving, all the burnt offerings were done with a free heart. The number of the burnt offerings, which the congregation brought, was seventy bullocks, a hundred and two rams, and two hundred lambs: all these [were] for a burnt offering to the LORD. And the consecrated things were six hundred and three oxen and a thousand sheep.
2. And in the law:
a. He then ordered the feast of the Passover to be kept.
b. The law declared that every male in the land was to present himself before the Lord three times each year for the annual feasts.
c. The first of these feasts was the feast of the Passover and unleavened bread.
d. When they say feast, they mean feast.
e. The king provided 1,000 cattle and 7,000 sheep.
f. The congregation provided 1,000 cattle and 10,000 sheep.
g. An interesting side note on the feast. You were supposed to go through a ceremonial cleansing before partaking of the feasts. This took several days, however many who had come from the Northern tribes had not gone through this ceremonial cleansing so Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one that prepares his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
h. We also read:
He provided from his substance for the burnt offerings for morning and evening offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as [it is] written in the law of the LORD.
3. And in the commandments:
a. Hezekiah commanded the people to start giving their tithe according to the commandment of the Lord.
b. As soon as the people received the order from the king, the children of Israel brought in abundance the first fruits of wheat, wine, and oil and honey, and of all the increase of the field; Those who were living in the cities of Judah, brought a tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid [them] by heaps. In June they began to pile up these heaps of food, and they finished in October. They actually harvested from June to October.
II. THE MOTIVE OF HEZEKIAH IN ALL OF THESE THINGS.
A. He was seeking God.
1. What a wonderful thing it is when a person decides to seek God.
2. There surely is not a more noble pursuit.
3. There are some who seek to hide from God, still others who are seeking to run from God.
a. The idea of hiding from God goes back to Adam in the Garden of Eden.
b. It was the guilt of his sin that caused him to try to hide from God.
c. Of course we know the folly of trying to hide from God. David said:
Where can I go from Your Spirit? or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall hide me; even the night shall be light about me. For, the darkness can not hide me from You.
d. I guess the idea of running from God came from Jonah. who sought both to hide and run.
B. Moses warned the children of Israel before they ever went into the land of promise.
When you shall have children, and grandchildren and you have been in the land a long time, if you make graven images and corrupt yourselves and do evil in the sight of the LORD, your God and provoke Him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, you will soon be driven off the land that you are crossing Jordan to possess. The LORD will scatter you among the heathen, until there are only a few of you left. There you will serve other gods made of wood and stone man. Gods that cannot see, hear, eat or smell. But if from there you shall seek the LORD your God you shall find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and soul.
C. The Lord said to JER 29:13
: "You shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart."
III. WE ARE TOLD THAT HEZEKIAH DID THESE THINGS WITH ALL HIS HEART.
A. There are too many people who are half hearted about their relationship with God.
1. There relationship with God is so casual, it is almost a take it or leave it. How offensive that must be to the Creator of the universe. What a privilege and honor it is to know God and be able to fellowship with Him. He deserves our very best, and even that is not good enough. What I do for Him may not be the very best, but if it is my best, He accepts it, and blesses it.
What does the LORD thy God require of You? To fear the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and to love Him, and serve Him with all your heart and soul.
2. Paul wrote to the Colossians 3:17
: "And whatsoever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." And in verse 23, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward for you serve the Lord, Jesus Christ."
3. To the Corinthians Paul wrote, "Though a lot of people may run in a race, only one receives the prize, so run that you might win."
4. I guess the question is: "Are you seeking or serving God halfheartedly, or with all your heart?"