H. L. Sheppard
A CALL TO
Statesman, poet, religious reformer, fighter, engineer and antiquarian, he is the most versatile and valuable of Judah's kings. It was to him she owed her temporary recovery, her ability to outlive Samaria by nearly a century and a half.
He was now twenty five years old. All his life had been spent in anticipation, awaiting the day of his coronation as King of Judah. It was not for marble palaces or ivory thrones, or golden scepters or kingly robes he diligently sought. His heart aspired to a far more noble purpose. It was time to clean up the House of God, and Hezekiah would plunge head long into the task.
For a long while the Temple doors had been locked. The putrid odors of sacrifices past oozed across the dusty threshold assaulting the nostrils of passersby. It was enough to make the House of God a place to avoid on your way into town. Rat beds and spider webs abounded in every dirty corner. Temple Priests no longer did service in the shadow of Mercy's wings. God's House, God's ways had been abandoned. Something had to be done.
In the first month of his reign, he opened the doors to God's House and repaired them. He then commanded the priests to sanctify themselves, and the House of God, and carry forth the filthiness out of the Holy Place (II Chron. 29). He restored the damage done by his father, Ahaz. He relit the lamps, restored the old altars and the worship of Jehovah God. After sixteen days of cleansing, the proud Levites stood before him to report, "We have cleansed all the House of the Lord." In cleansing the Temple of Judah, Hezekiah had cleansed her heart. And in her heart, lay Judah's strength.
He overran Philistia and he was overrun by Sennacherib, held in his city like a bird in a cage, and he paid heavy tribute to the Assyrian before he got out! Hardly had Sennacherib turned away, however, before Hezekiah was girding his loins to fight him again. Sennacherib came back to meet defeat; he never fought Judah again.
You were great and you were godly, Hezekiah. you did the impossible in an impossible hour, with an impossible people. I pray that the warmth of your godly spirit and your pursuit of holy things takes hold of our hearts. As the shadows of time lengthen already in a newly born millennium, may the fire of God's holy altar be stoked again in our soul. May the clarion call of Hezekiah's pursuit of holiness challenge us to "CLEAN UP GOD'S HOUSE:"
1 Cor 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
2 Cor 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: