Summary: 3d in the series "Revival in the Land." Hezekiah experiences revival because he tore down the high places.
Introduction: When my family lived at Fort Leonard Wood we had an ongoing encounter with some pests that had the endearing name of "sewer flies." The post engineers sent out exterminators repeatedly and each time the flies would disappear for awhile, only to return a few weeks later.
As it turned out there was a bigger problem than sewer flies--the sewer flies were merely a symptom of the leak in the drain under our kitchen. This leak resulted in a damp warm spot in our crawls space that was a perfect breeding ground for the flies. The fly problem was finally solved when the leak was fixed and the breeding ground was taken away.
In last week’s passage we talked about Joash and how his promising reign fell short of it’s promise because he failed to get rid of the high places, those places of pagan worship hidden in the hills, the breeding grounds for all sorts of evil activity.
Proposition: In this week’s lesson we are treated to the example of Hezekiah, a king whom the Bible says, "did what was right in the eyes of the LORD."
Interrogative: Last week as we looked at Joash, we asked ourselves what went wrong, what was it about Joash’s reign that kept the Lord from sending revival. This week we want to ask ourselves, what went right? What was it about Hezekiah’s reign that found favor in God’s eyes and led to revival?
Transition: I think that the answer to that question is fairly straightforward, I see three very specific things in this eight verse summary of Hezekiah’s reign that give us a clear indication of what it was about Hezekiah that pleased God. The first is in verse four, and it is His complete...
v. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it.
Joash, failed to tear down the high places. He wasn’t willing to make the effort to confront those strongholds of sin and idolatry; and the consequence was that the momentum toward revival was overcome by the evil of those strongholds, both in the nation and in Joash himself.
Hezekiah on the other hand doesn’t fool around in his turnaround. He takes reform all the way to the hills. He confronts the pagan priests and idolators. He says, there is no room for this kind of activity in my kingdom, because my kingdom is really God’s kingdom. There aren’t going to be parts of this kindgdom that don’t bow down to His authority--He will be Lord of All.
If we want to experience revival in our lives, in our homes, in our church, in our community we’re going to have to make the same bold stand. We cannot afford to have holdouts. We cannot allow the high places of sin to escape the Lord’s authority. We can’t say "Lord you can have all of my life except--my finances, my relationships, my entertainment, my future plans."
Historically revival has come to the church when people have allowed the Holy spirit to take the jackhammer of repentance to the strongholds of their lives and once those barriers are broken, the river of revival comes crashing through.
Yes the river sweeps through with blessing, and the story of Hezekiah’s reign demonstrates that, the enemies of God’s people are overcome, but the first step is repentance--simply put, the first step is TURNAROUND.
The second thing about Hezekiah that pleased God and led to revival was his complete...
v. 5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.
Hezekiah, the Bible says, trusted in the Lord and note that it is this trust in the Lord which leads the author of the biblical record to comment that there was no other king like him among all the others before and after who had sat in that throne.
Hezekiah’s forefather, David declared "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm (Ps. 20:7-8).
It must be easy for a king to trust in the resources of His kingdom, to try to devise a way to solve their problems with weapons or wisdom or wealth, the way that Joash did, but Hezekiah trusted in the Lord.
Without faith, the Book of Hebrews says, it is impossible to please God. But as we see here, with faith, trust in the Lord, God is genuinely pleased.
If we are ever going to please the Lord, He will require of us the same that he required of Kings of Judah--Repentance and faith--Turnaround and Trust.