Some people like to make excuses. They would rather blame the circumstances that they are put in a rather than step up and make them better.
In 2 Chronicles 29, it is a good thing that Hezekiah was not like that. He inherited Judah in a pretty sad state after the mess that Ahaz made. Nevertheless, he immediately got around to taking steps in the right direction.
2Ch 29:5 and said to them, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the LORD, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place.
2Ch 29:6 For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They have forsaken him and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD and turned their backs.
It is kind of sad that the people of Judah allowed such a beautiful building that served such an important purpose to fall into utter disrepair. We find out later that it took all of the priests that were there 16 days to entirely clean everything out.
That is a pretty major job, but it is one that Hezekiah wanted to be done.
He could have simply folded up and not done anything. The generation before that made such a mess that maybe trying to clean up and make everything better could have taken too much effort. The status quo would have certainly been easier.
Regardless, he knew that that was not a good response. He knew that the house of God needed to be a place that would indeed honor God. Not only that, but he was happy about the end result.
2Ch 29:36 And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because God had provided for the people, for the thing came about suddenly.
He knew that God was with them and was helping them. It seems like that made all of the effort worthwhile.
2 Chronicles 28 gives us a portrait of another bad king in Judah. Ahaz was pretty much as idolatrous as they came, and as a result, his kingdom was invaded.
2Ch 28:5 Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.
The important thing to notice about this verse is that God was the one doing the delivering. Even though it might sound like all kinds of evil forces were doing the overrunning, God was still obviously in control of the situation.
We have seen this type of thing many times by now. When the people of God wandered away and started worshiping some other type of god, they ran into a tough time. However, just like in this situation, God was the one orchestrating the events.
He was using difficult times to bring His people back to Him. On a much more minor scale, you could think about Jonah. He was being disobedient by running away from his mission in Nineveh. God used a difficult time inside of a giant fish to turn his attitude around.
Sometimes we need to be woken up. We need some type of eye-opening event that forces us to look at what we were doing wrong.
In this case for the people of Judah, they had to be overrun. They had to realize that when they turned away from God, they were really turning away from everything that made them a nation.
If you are reading along, you will be able to tell that it did not get better by the end of the chapter, but tomorrow we will get to see the people of Judah start coming back to God (I didn’t want to leave you on an overly depressing note).
I wonder if King Ahaz even bothered to read the book of Leviticus in 2 Kings 16. What really stood out to me about that book is the precision that God used to define everything about the tabernacle. Everything had a place, everything had a purpose and I imagine it must have been a pretty beautiful place.
Look what happened in our chapter for today.
2Ki 16:7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.
2Ki 16:8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria.
Basically, he went into the temple and took out all kinds of silver and gold to mail away as a present. I am pretty sure that that was not what God had in mind when He laid out the tabernacle. I know that we are talking that the temple here, but it is certainly possible that many of the same decorations and vessels were carried over from one to the other.
I think that when we think about these types of things, it is rather natural to think about all the talent that we have. The Bible is a pretty awesome guidebook about what we should do with everything that God has given us. Our directions are pretty clear.
Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
We need to do everything to honor God. That is how we should apply all the talent we’ve been given.
Of course, we don’t always do that. We don’t always do our best which is incredibly unfortunate. We sometimes stumble like Ahaz and ultimately throw out something that God has given us for our purpose that is very ungodly.
I think that the application is pretty obvious here.