Summary: Fifth in a series unlocking keys to experiencing prevailing prayer. This message explores covenant relationship between God and His people, through the life of Hezekiah.
(Significant inspiration, and insight for this message provided by Francis Frangipane’s booklet, "Prevailing Prayer.")
We are nearing the end of our 40 Days of Prayer, and our series taking a look at some powers that can turn our prayer life into one of prevailing prayer. Last week, we took a look at the life of Gideon and saw how our prayer building blocks, converged piece by piece in his life. Today, we are going to take a step further through the exploration of another man’s ministry.
Turn with me to the book of II Chronicles. About 1/3 of the way back in your Bible. II Chronicles, chapter 29. Again, let me encourage everyone to grab a Bible, and follow along as we explore the activity in this chapter. II Chronicles 29
(READ THROUGH VERSE 2).
Hezekiah, becoming king at just 25 years old, is identified as a king who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. In fact, he was the only king of Judah for whom this comparison to the faithfulness of David can be made. And we will soon see why.
Verse 3 (READ THROUGH VERSE 9).
So you have this 25 year old king stepping into leadership, and contrary to church growth consultants and classroom teaching, he doesn’t take a few years to begin making changes. In fact, we are told that in the first year of his reign, in the first month, before most people even have the U-Haul unloaded into the palace, he gets to work on the restoration of the temple.
This fact that Hezekiah begins his work on the restoration of the temple in his first month gives us insight into his heart. It provides immediate testimony to his zeal for God’s work. He immediately embarks the nation on a journey towards spiritual renewal, and he wastes no time in dealing with the sins of the previous period of time in their history.
And look at what is described in this passage. Verse 5 says they were carrying out rubbish. It is impossible to know all that is involved here, but clearly the temple is not in good condition. The house of the Lord. The place of worship for an entire people group.
So look at our elements that are already in place. First, we have a state of desperation. Ahaz has been ruling Judah as king, and it has been a rule of idolatry, Baal worship, defeat, captivity, and even according to verse 9, death. When Hezekiah takes over, the people of Judah, and especially the inhabitants of Jerusalem are facing a desperate situation once again.
However, they are prepared to join in community. The priest and Levites are already joining together with Hezekiah, and as we will soon see, others will join them.
Does anyone remember our third week in the series? We have the power of desperation, the power of community. . .what came next? “Confession.” Let’s see if we can find any of that in this story. Verse 10 (READ THROUGH VERSE 11).
Verse 15 (READ THROUGH VERSE 19).
Hezekiah guides them into a process of consecration. Of cleansing. The Hebrew term here means “to make free from blemish.” Almost half the occurrences of this word are in Leviticus, and in that context ritual cleansing is frequently related to the sanctification of the people as opposed to just the moral filthiness of the Israelite nation. Not just the cleansing of objects, but of people who intend to be involved in the worship of the Lord and need cleansing because the Lord is a holy God. So confession and repentance was a part of this internal cleansing that had to take place.
Jeremiah and Ezekiel would prophesy of a future cleansing of the people from their sins so that they could truly be God’s people, both outside and inside. And this idea of cleansing carries into the New Testament where you have this picture of the Lamb’s bride, the church, in clean linen symbolizing the righteous acts and lifestyles of the believers.
So we have desperation, community, repentance. And you should have noticed by now that we also have the power of a calling. Is there any doubt that Hezekiah is called by God, and prepared to act in the authority of one called by God?
Verse 10 is a leadership modeling verse. (RE-READ)
What God has put in Hezekiah’s heart, he is prepared to act upon. He is prepared to place not only himself, but even the people in a covenant relationship with God, based on the authority of God that has been granted to him.
Our next verse will remind us of one we looked at last week with Gideon. Verse 20 (READ THROUGH VERSE 31).
Like Gideon, early in the morning Hezekiah begins to rally the people. And he rallies them for the purpose of uniting them in covenant with God. The next power towards prevailing prayer. . .covenant. Notice the preparations that Hezekiah guides the people into for entering this covenant with God. Important steps in preparation for a covenant.