Summary: Sermon #7 in the Untold Stories of the Old Testament deals with good King Hezekiah who restored temple worship after his evil father, Ahaz had shut down temple worship entirely. Text: 2 Chronicles 29
Series: Untold Stories of the Old Testament #7
Date: CHCC: July 8, 2012
Title: Restoration - Hezekiah
Text: 2 Chronicles 29
The Sermon today is about RESTORATION. You may or may not know that our church is part of what is known as the “Restoration Movement.” That means that our church group was started by people who wanted to restore the church to the simple New Testament pattern it started out to be as recorded in the book of Acts.
The Restoration Movement started in the United States soon after the Revolutionary War. Christians in several states became dissatisfied with denominational boundaries and started churches that were independent of any denomination.
The groups came together in the 1830’s and formed a group dedicated to restoration. They wanted to go back to what the church was when the Apostles founded the church. That simple New Testament pattern is what we seek in all that we attempt to do.
The church is always in need of restoration. Our families need restoration. We personally need restoration. We get tired. We make mistakes. We backslide.
Everyone tends to drift away from a close connection to God. Every day we need to re-commit to being Completely. Committed. Followers. The good news is that God is in the business of RESTORATION.
Today’s untold story of the OT is about a King who brought RESTORATION to Israel. Israel had turned away from God. Hezekiah was the one God used to bring restoration to Israel. Hezekiah gives us a great example of the truth that:
1. Your past does not determine your future
Hezekiah was the 13th King of Judah and probably began his reign around 728 BC. Before Hezekiah’s day, 200 years before, Solomon had built and dedicated the temple, But then Hezekiah’s father came along and undid everything.
Hezekiah was the son of one of the worst kings of Israel. King Ahaz ruled for only 16 years --- but that was enough time for him to close the doors of the Temple. He stopped all worship of Jehovah and in its place he set up idols on the street corners of every town and village.
King Ahaz participated in all the pagan practices of the surrounding nation, including human sacrifice. 2 Chronicles 28:3 says he sacrificed his own children in the idolatrous fires. Ahaz was so bad that when he died he wasn’t even buried with the other Kings. Scripture sums up his life by saying he gave himself over to every kind of wickedness.
When King Ahaz died, his oldest son, Hezekiah, became King at the young age of 25. Here’s how scripture sums him up: He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 2 Chronicles 29:2
How did a dad like Ahaz produce a son like Hezekiah? His name might give a clue. The name Hezekiah means “The Lord strengthens.” Evidently from a young age, Hezekiah chose to reject the paganism of his father and follow the ways of Jehovah. Because Hezekiah chose to follow the Lord, God strengthened him.
There’s an important lesson here. Hezekiah’s family heritage was about as bad as it gets. But his background didn’t determine his future. Revelations 22:17 says, “whosoever will,” may come to the Lord. In this case, Ahaz was NOT willing --- but Hezekiah WAS willing! We see it all the time. Two kids are raised in the same family. One will and one won’t. One decides to follow Jesus and the other decides to go the other way.
Very few people come from a perfect family --- (actually, no one comes from a perfect family.) But your past doesn’t determine your future. It’s your CHOICE that determines your future. When it comes to following Jesus, WILL you or WON’T you? God gives “whosoever will” the invitation to choose to follow Him. If that is your choice, then your past won’t hold you back at all.
Hezekiah didn’t let his past hold him back. Verse 3 says In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them. That shows how bad it was when Hezekiah came into office. The Temple doors were broken and boarded up. His first step was to open the doors and see what shape the temple itself was in. And it wasn’t a pretty picture!
2. You can cast out the past
2 Chronicles 29:4-6 says, Hezekiah brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him.