AM June 1st Acts 14

June 1st 

14v21-28 They return to Antioch

21: And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 22: Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 23: And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. 24: And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25: And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: 26: And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. 27: And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. 28: And there they abode long time with the disciples.

The Missionary team return retracing their steps through the cities in which they had seen Gods blessing and suffered persecution. On their way they are not presenting the Gospel primarily but meeting with the believers and strengthening them in their faith. Encouraging them to continue in the faith and telling them that it was through much tribulation that they will enter into the kingdom of God. They also ordained elders to look after the spiritual welfare of the believers in each city and they prayed and fasted and commended them to the Lord. As they passed on they preached the word in Perga and went down to the harbour of Atalia and took a ship for Antioch. On arriving at Antioch they gathered the whole church to report the work which God had done with them and how God had opened the door to Gentiles. They remained in Antioch a long while. 

PM May 31st 2Chron 31

May 31st           

2 Chronicles,  31

Hezekiah reforms Priest & Levites

1: Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities. 2: And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD. 3: He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD. 4: Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD. 5: And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the fields; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly. 6: And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps. 7: In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month. 8: And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel. 9: Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. 10: And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store. 11: Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared them, 12: And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next. 13: And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God. 14: And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of the LORD, and the most holy things. 15: And next him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in their set office, to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small: 16: Beside their genealogy of males, from three years old and upward, even unto every one that entereth into the house of the LORD, his daily portion for their service in their charges according to their courses; 17: Both to the genealogy of the priests by the house of their fathers, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their charges by their courses; 18: And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness: 19: Also of the sons of Aaron the priests, which were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every several city, the men that were expressed by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites. 20: And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. 21: And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.

2 Chronicles,  32

Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem

1: After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself. 2: And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, 3: He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him. 4: So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water? 5: Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance. 6: And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, 7: Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: 8: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. 9: After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he himself laid siege against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that were at Jerusalem, saying, 10: Thus saith Sennacherib king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust, that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem? 11: Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst, saying, The LORD our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 12: Hath not the same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall worship before one altar, and burn incense upon it? 13: Know ye not what I and my fathers have done unto all the people of other lands? were the gods of the nations of those lands any ways able to deliver their lands out of mine hand? 14: Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed, that could deliver his people out of mine hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of mine hand? 15: Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand? 16: And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah. 17: He wrote also letters to rail on the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver his people out of mine hand. 18: Then they cried with a loud voice in the Jews' speech unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city. 19: And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man.

God delivers Judah

20: And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven. 21: And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. 22: Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side. 23: And many brought gifts unto the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.

Hezekiah’s sickness and pride

24: In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. 25: But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. 26: Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

Hezekiah’s success

27: And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels; 28: Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks. 29: Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for God had given him substance very much. 30: This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. 31: Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.

Hezekiah dies

32: Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33: And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.

2 Chronicles,  33

Manasseh rules Judah

1: Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: 2: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. 3: For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. 4: Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever. 5: And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6: And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. 7: And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: 8: Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses. 9: So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. 10: And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. 11: Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 12: And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13: And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God. 14: Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah. 15: And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. 16: And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel. 17: Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only. 18: Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel. 19: His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers. 20: So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.

Amon rules Judah

21: Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem. 22: But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; 23: And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more. 24: And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house. 25: But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.

On this last day of May we will be looking at the rest of the life of Hezekiah. Of how Hezekiah reorganises the priests and of how the LORD delivers him in his day of trouble but we also read of his pride and sickness and his death. All of these things war, sickness are indications of Gods discipline on a nation that has forsaken the LORD. Then we read of his successors Manasseh and Amon, both kings of Judah. In the early days of Hezekiah there was a general revival bringing about the destruction of the idolatry in the land. Hezekiah appointed all the courses of the priests and Levites. He also appointed the portion of his own wealth that was dedicated to the LORD. He also encouraged the people to give to the work of the priests so that they could continue in the work. It took four months to arrange the tithe that the people brought. The offerings were so great that they had to build chambers to put it all in. The people sought the Lord with all their heart and the LORD blessed them greatly. As soon as he had been established the Assyrian king Sennacherib invaded the land. So Hezekiah had a meeting of his princes and they stopped the wells and stopped the brook that ran through the land. They also fortified the city of Jerusalem and increased their weapons. He declared martial law and addressed the people, saying,

Be strong and have courage and do not be afraid or panic because of the Assyrian king nor for his huge army because we are greater than he is. He comes in human strength but with us is the LORD God to help us and to fight our battles.

So the people trusted in the leadership of Hezekiah. Sennacherib sent a message addressed to the people over the head of Hezekiah. He said..

On what are you trusting, that you remain shut up in Jerusalem? Has Hezekiah persuaded you to die of famine and thirst? Saying that the LORD will deliver us? So do not believe him or be deceived by him because no god is able to deliver you from us.

He also wrote other letters railing on the LORD God of Israel. Then they shouted at this to try to frighten the people. Hezekiah and Amoz prayed and called to heaven. And the Lord sent an angel to kill all the strong men of the Assyrian army and the leaders and captains. And so Sennacherib returned to his land in shame. And when he went into his temple his own children murdered him there. This great victory was won by prayer alone. And Hezekiah grew in wealth and power. Then we read that Hezekiah was sick and likely to die so he prayed to the LORD and the Lord gave him a sign. Hezekiah did not give thanks to the Lord but thought that he was his own Saviour and so the wrath of God came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Hezekiah did not humble himself before the Lord. Hezekiah was very wealthy in both riches and honour. He prospered in all his works but the LORD left him to try him to enable Hezekiah to see what was in his heart. When he died he was given a very great honour of being buried with David his father. His son Manasseh reigned in his place he was only 12yrs old when he began and he reigned for 55yrs. He was a bad king. He restored the cults of Baalim. He sacrificed his children and encouraged the occult of witches, wizards and mediums. He set a totem pole in the temple of the Lord. He did worse than the heathen that were thrown out of the land. The LORD spoke to him and brought the Assyrians who took him captive and carried him away to Babylon but in that place he sought the Lord and humbled himself before the LORD and the Lord heard him and allowed him to return to Jerusalem. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was his God. He brought about a general revival. Destroying the heathen altars and reorganising the priesthood. When he died his son Amon reigned in his place. He was 22yrs when he began and he reigned only 2 yrs. He was a bad king doing all the evil things that his father did in his younger years. His servants murdered him.


AM May 31st Acts 14

May 31st  

Acts,  14

Paul and Barnabas in Iconium

1: And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. 2: But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. 3: Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4: But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 5: And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, 6: They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: 7: And there they preached the gospel.

At Lystra

8: And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: 9: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 10: Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. 11: And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. 12: And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. 13: Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. 14: Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 15: And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 16: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 17: Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. 18: And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them. 19: And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 20: Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Again Paul and Barnabas go to the Synagogue at Iconium. Their ministry was to the Jews first because of their Apostolic calling. Their preaching is so successful that a great crowd of people, Jews and Gentiles believe the Gospel. But the Jews that were unconverted stirred up the unbelieving Gentiles and poisoned their minds against Paul and Barnabas. So they stayed a long time giving their testimony and showing signs and wonders. The city was divided and the unbelievers assaulted Paul and Barnabas to stone them, but they were aware of it and so they escaped to Lystra and Derbe. At Lystra they healed a man crippled from birth (A messianic sign) but the People misunderstood who Paul and Barnabas were they thought they were the gods Jupiter and Mercurius. The high priest wanted to sacrifice to them and Paul had difficulty stopping it. Paul said that they should turn from this empty idol worship and serve the living God who made heaven and earth and sea. This God who left the nations alone in the past and who showed kindness in providing fruitful seasons and filling their lives with the good things such as food and joy. When Jews came from Antioch and Iconium they persuaded the people to stone them which they did and they threw out the body of Paul out of the city thinking he was dead. However, when the believers came to him he recovered and stood up and returned to the city and the next day he moved on to Derbe with Barnabas.

PM May 30th 2Chron 28

May 30th           

2 Chronicles,  28

Ahaz rules Judah

1: Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father: 2: For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. 3: Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. 4: He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree. 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. 6: For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. 7: And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king's son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king. 8: And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria. 9: But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded: and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, because the LORD God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth up unto heaven. 10: And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God? 11: Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you. 12: Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war, 13: And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel. 14: So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation. 15: And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria. 16: At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him. 17: For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives. 18: The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Beth-shemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there. 19: For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD. 20: And Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not. 21: For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not. 22: And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz. 23: For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. 24: And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. 25: And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers. 26: Now the rest of his acts and of all his ways, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 27: And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.

2 Chronicles,  29

Hezekiah rules Judah

1: Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2: And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.

Hezekiah’s Temple reforms

3: He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them. 4: And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, 5: And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. 6: For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs. 7: Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. 8: Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes. 9: For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. 10: Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. 11: My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense. 12: Then the Levites arose, Mahath the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites: and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehalelel: and of the Gershonites; Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah: 13: And of the sons of Elizaphan; Shimri, and Jeiel: and of the sons of Asaph; Zechariah, and Mattaniah: 14: And of the sons of Heman; Jehiel, and Shimei: and of the sons of Jeduthun; Shemaiah, and Uzziel. 15: And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king, by the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD. 16: And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the LORD into the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron. 17: Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the LORD: so they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end. 18: Then they went in to Hezekiah the king, and said, We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread table, with all the vessels thereof. 19: Moreover all the vessels, which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away in his transgression, have we prepared and sanctified, and, behold, they are before the altar of the LORD. 20: Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the LORD. 21: And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he goats, for a sin offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary, and for Judah. And he commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of the LORD. 22: So they killed the bullocks, and the priests received the blood, and sprinkled it on the altar: likewise, when they had killed the rams, they sprinkled the blood upon the altar: they killed also the lambs, and they sprinkled the blood upon the altar. 23: And they brought forth the he goats for the sin offering before the king and the congregation; and they laid their hands upon them: 24: And the priests killed them, and they made reconciliation with their blood upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel: for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel. 25: And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets. 26: And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27: And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. 28: And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. 29: And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped. 30: Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped. 31: Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the LORD, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings. 32: And the number of the burnt offerings, which the congregation brought, was threescore and ten bullocks, an hundred rams, and two hundred lambs: all these were for a burnt offering to the LORD. 33: And the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep. 34: But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the other priests had sanctified themselves: for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests. 35: And also the burnt offerings were in abundance,with the fat of the peace offerings, and the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of the LORD was set in order. 36: And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly.

2 Chronicles,  30

Hezekiah’s Passover

1: And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel. 2: For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month. 3: For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. 4: And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation. 5: So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. 6: So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7: And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. 8: Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. 9: For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. 10: So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. 11: Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. 12: Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the LORD. 13: And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation. 14: And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron. 15: Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD. 16: And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites. 17: For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD. 18: For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one 19: That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. 20: And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people. 21: And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the LORD. 22: And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers. 23: And the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days: and they kept other seven days with gladness. 24: For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. 25: And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced. 26: So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem. 27: Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.

In Chapters 28-30 we have the record of the lives of King Ahaz and King Hezekiah, both Kings of Judah. The first was a bad king but the second a good king. Ahaz was just 20 when he began his reign and he reigned for only 16 years in Jerusalem. He did not follow in his father David’s example but he was like the kings of Israel who worshipped Baalim. He sacrificed his own children to his god, burning them in the fire like the heathen nations that were driven out of the Land before Israel. He sacrificed in the hills and groves and under every green tree. It seems that trees were a place of worship for the cult of Baalim. The Lord gave him up to the Syrians and they beat him in battle and took away the people in great numbers captive and took them to Damascus. There was a great slaughter of his army. 120,000 died in one day alone. They were all strong fighters but they had forsaken the LORD their God. 200,000 people were taken captive both men, women and children. And they took away a great deal of the wealth of Judah. The prophet Oded confronted the people of Samaria and said, you have destroyed Judah and carried away the people to make them slaves. But are there not among you those who sin against the LORD? Send all the captives home because the fierce wrath of the LORD is on you and so all the captives were set free. In those days the Edomites fought against Judah so Ahaz sent a message to Assyria asking for help. The Philistines also invaded from the south west. The LORD humbled Judah because of the unrighteousness of the king. The king of Assyria Tiglath-pileser came to Judah and invaded the land. Ahaz tried to pay them off. Yet in this time of distress he did not seek the LORD his God. He sacrificed to the gods of Damascus because he thought they are helping the Syrians so l might as well sacrifice to them – perhaps they will help me. But this brought complete ruin on all Israel. So he destroyed the temple and cut into bits the holy vessels and sealed the doors of the Temple. And he erected altars all over Jerusalem. He went mad in his devotion to the gods but this increased the Lords displeasure. He died and was buried in a place but not with the kings. His son Hezekiah reigned in his place. Hezekiah was 25 when he began to reign and he reigned for 29 years in Jerusalem. He was a good king like his father David. When he began to reign he opened the doors of the Temple and repaired them. He gathered the priests and Levites and addressed them saying,

Sanctify yourselves and sanctify this house of the LORD God of your fathers and carry out all of the filth and rubbish out of this Holy Place. Because our fathers have trespassed against the LORD and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God. They forsook the Lord and turned away their faces from this place. They turned their backs on him. (The LORD ordained that worship was to be toward the west but they turned toward the east turning their backs on the Lord) They shut the doors and put out the lights. And they did not burn incense to the Lord or offer burnt offerings. Therefore the wrath of the LORD was on Judah and Jerusalem and he delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing (The expression of disgust and sharp intake of breath through the teeth) you can see all this with your eyes. Our fathers were killed in battle and some of our sons, daughters and wives are in captivity because of this. Today it is in my mind to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, so that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. So, my sons be diligent because the LORD has chosen you to stand before him and serve and minister to him burning incense.

Then the Levites responded, Mahath, Joel, Kish, Azariah, Joah, Eden, Zechariah, Mattaniah, Jehiel, Shimei, Shemaiah, Uzziel and they gathered their brothers and washed themselves setting themselves apart to the Lord. And they came to clean up the house of the LORD. The priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD to clean it and they brought out all the filthiness that they found in the temple of the LORD into the court of the house of the LORD. Then the Levites took the rubbish and carried it out the the brook Kidron.
This began on the first day on the year. It took them 8 days to clear it up. On the 16th day everything was finished. Then the Levites went to tell Hezekiah saying, we have cleansed all the house of the LORD and the altar of burnt offering with all the vessels and the table of shewbread. All of the vessels which Ahaz destroyed have been repaired. Then Hezekiah went up early to the House of the LORD. And the Levites brought seven bullocks, rams, lambs, goats for a sin offering. It was a sin offering for the kingdom, the sanctuary and for Judah. And when the offerings were begun the Children of Israel sang praises to the Lord and worshipped the LORD. The music joined in, with the trumpeters. Hezekiah told the singers to sing the Psalms of David. Then the people gathered to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving. There was so much given that the Levites had to assist the priests. This was nothing short of Revival. It happened suddenly and was a complete restoration of the spiritual life of Judah. After the hearts of all the people were put right Hezekiah sent letters to all Israel and Judah that they should come to the temple to worship the Lord. Because it was his intension to celebrate the Passover once again. The celebration of the Passover was the litmus test of Israel when ever they forsook the Lord they ceased the Passover but whenever they returned to the LORD their God the Passover was reinstituted. The letter read…

You children of Israel turn again to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel and he will return to the remnant of you who escaped from the kings of Assyria. And do not be like your fathers and brothers who sinned against the LORD God of their fathers, who gave you up to desolation. So now do not be rebellious like your fathers were but yield yourselves to the LORD and enter to his sanctuary and serve the LORD your God, so that the fierceness of his wrath may be turned away from you. Because if you turn again to the LORD your brothers and your children will find compassion in the eyes of their captors. And they will return to this land because the Lord is full of grace and mercy and he will not turn away his face from you.

This letter past from city to city throughout the land. And there were some that humbled themselves before the Lord. But others laughed and mocked them. The people of Judah responded well to the message of the Lord sent by the King. In Jerusalem a great number of the people assembled to the feast of unleavened bread. They rose up in one body to destroy the idolatrous altars in the land. They kept the Passover but some of the people were unclean so Hezekiah prayed that the Lord would forgive them saying may the Good Lord pardon everyone who prepared himself to seek the Lord and the Lord healed them. (Why did they need healing? Because the judgment of God was going out to the unclean who celebrated the Passover in an unclean state) there was great rejoicing before the Lord and the LORD filled their hearts with joy. There had never been such great joy since David’s and Solomon’s time. The priests blessed the people and their prayers went up into heaven itself.