By Denene Pelkey
“Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. … And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done” (II Chronicles 29:1-2).
Hezekiah acceded to the throne when his father, Ahaz, died. Ahaz had not walked in the way of the Lord. (See II Kings 16:1-18; II Chronicles 28:1-5.) He offered incense in high places and burnt his children in the fire. God sent the Syrians to besiege Jerusalem. Instead of repenting and appealing to God for help, Ahaz appealed to the king of Assyria. He even took treasures out of the Lord’s house and his own house and sent them to King Tiglath-pileser. When he visited Assyria, he saw a pagan altar, and it inspired him to order Urijah the priest to have an identical altar constructed in the Temple at Jerusalem before he got back home.
Ahaz ordered that the brazen altar be moved and the new altar set in its place. The laver of water was taken apart and removed. They now offered sacrifices to the God of Israel on the altar of the god of Assyria. Their worship was meaningless, so they closed the doors of the house of the Lord.
King Hezekiah did not follow in his father’s footsteps; he did right in the sight of the Lord. As his first kingly act, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. But before they could do much else, Hezekiah knew that the people had to cleanse themselves both inwardly and outwardly. It would do no good to purify the Temple without purifying themselves.
Before they could offer sin offerings for the people, the priests and Levites obediently sanctified themselves. (See II Chronicles 29.)
Before they could carry out trash and scrub floors and walls, furniture, and vessels of the Temple, they had to scour their hearts, minds, and bodies of all impurities. Their ritual outward cleansing symbolized their inward cleansing.
The Levites could have balked at these commands, but instead they submitted to the king’s authority. Ahaz had displaced the sacrificial altar, dismembered the cleansing laver of water, and closed the doors of the Temple to express his disdain and hostility to the Lord’s authority and covenant. Hezekiah’s heart was set on repairing all of that damage by commanding the people to sanctify themselves and obey the covenant. Only then would the Lord consent to dwell in their Holy Place—their hearts!
God’s patience with Judah had finally worn to a frazzle, so He had vented His wrath on them with enemy swords. Hezekiah reminded the people that their own eyes had witnessed their desolation, captivity, and wounds and they had seen the jeering of their enemies.
When sin and corruption fills a life, it is displayed through the individual’s lifestyle and countenance. Before God will come to dwell in that temple, it has to be purged of all sin and filth. Bad attitudes, rebellion against the Word of God, disobedience to the ministry and the Lord are all sin. If someone cannot submit to the authority of a pastor then how can he or she submit to the Lord?
Hezekiah’s heart was right. He had placed God in the center of His life and wanted to please Him above everything else. He made up his mind and heart that he wasn’t going to repeat his father’s mistakes.
After the priests had sanctified themselves, they spent eight days removing debris and cleaning the Temple of the Lord. In order to experience revival and renewal we must be willing to make an effort to prepare our hearts, minds, and bodies to wholly serve the Lord. Things of the world might look enticing, but they always destruction and separation from all that’s holy. Drinking, smoking, and doing drugs are not the only things that defile the temple of God; it’s trash in the heart and bad thought patterns and attitudes in the mind. Rebellion, disobedience, bitterness, jealousy, strife, pride, wrath, and contention are all manifestations of what’s in the heart.
You might ask, how can I cleanse the temple of the Lord?
- Confess specific sins. Recognize those areas that have caused you to depart from God’s will and Word.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:9-10).
- Cleanse the house of the Lord. The New Testament says that you are the temple of the Holy Ghost.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16-17).
“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? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
The cleansing process may take awhile, but removing the things in our lives that are filthy and against the Word of God allows the Spirit room to live in us and change us.
- Renew the covenant. Renew your dedication to God, His Kingdom, and His righteous cause on earth. Express a sincere desire to turn from evil in the world and resist sin.
“Create in me a clean heart, 0 God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
- Proclaim a blood sacrifice. In the Old Testament blood had to be shed to remit sin. Jesus shed His blood to save, sanctify, and heal His people. Pleading His blood upon your situation and life brings cleansing and purity to your life.
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:25).
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17).
What really matters is being right in the eyes of the Lord.
The above article, “Right in the Eyes of the Lord” was written by Denene Pelkey. The article was excerpted from Chapter 10 in Pelkey’s book, Set Free.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.