II Chronicles 28-29
Remember : the temple represents God’s presence – which also means His involvement.
Ahaz had turned to such evil that not only did he worship other gods, but this king destroyed the utensils of the temple and closed its doors. We’ve never seen this in Judah before. Horrible times in God’s promised Land.
Thankfully, however, Hezekiah becomes king and begins to restore things. He opens the doors of the temple and begins the repairs. He also re-institutes the sacrifices with the priests and Levites.
Interestingly, the people are ready for this good change, because when Hezekiah calls for the burnt offerings, more are brought than the priests can handle. They have to have the Levites pitch in with the work.
Now we get a hint as to how Ahaz could have gotten so far off course. When Hezekiah calls for the priests and Levites to consecrate themselves, the “Levites were more conscientious to consecrate themselves than the priests.” (29:34)
The priests had lost their zeal for God and had allowed Ahaz to run amok. God’s men, who should have been upholding His purposes – even when evil kings were on the scene – had stepped down from their post. They had allowed the temple to be ransacked and closed.
Today, if you look around you can see some of God’s men who are more faithful to the current trends of thought than they are to God. It is sad when this happens. God’s leaders are the keepers of the flame. Without those keepers doing their jobs, the flame can go out – or become very dimly lit.
It’s interesting in Hezekiah’s day, however, that the regular people and the Levites are more eager to get back with God’s program than the priests.
If the leaders won’t do it, God will raise up others who will.
I pray that the Christian leaders of today will rise to the occasion as our Father is calling for restoration. Many of them will.
But where leaders won’t, God will go to the next level and raise up other believers to stand up for Him.
Our God needs a voice in our present day, pleasure-driven society.
This chapter is what I call the “real Lord’s Prayer.” I know that we recite another one together, but this chapter is the real deal.
When you understand about prayer, you understand that God wants His people to ask Him for His purposes.That’s one of our privileges as a believer. It all goes back to the beginning (Genesis 1-3),when He put man into the earth to “have dominion,” and “rule over” everything. Man has been given a certain amount of authority on the earth, which includes free will and the charge to ask for what we want from God. (His will).
I think that this prayer we see here is one of Jesus’ primary missions in coming to the earth.
If there was ever anyone who was in God’s perfect will and who could count on God’s will being done in His life it would be Jesus. Right? Well, isn’t it interesting that He tells God that the time had come? “Glorify Thy Son.” (V.1) Why? A man needed to pray that.
Then He goes on to pray for us. He prays that God will keep us from the evil one, and He says some shocking things.
“As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”(V.18). We are to represent Him when He has gone.
Just in case you may be thinking that this prayer was for the disciples of that day, look at verse 20. “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.” That’s us!
The next part of the prayer is one that the Lord is really working on today. He prays that we will be one – with Him and with each other, so that people will know that He had been sent by God. And that God loves us – just as much as He loves Jesus. (V. 23) Wow!! And again I say, wow!!
As soon as the church was instituted after Jesus ascended to Heaven, the church started dividing up. One group thought this; the next group thought that. Look at the many denominations and doctrines out there now, and we see where this division has taken us. A house divided.
Now I’m not endorsing Universalism, I am endorsing all Christian churches which believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, He paid the price for our sins on the cross, and He has sent his Holy Spirit back to earth to live within our hearts. If we believe that, then we need to honor each other and reach out for the common purpose of affecting our communities.
I think that when we get to Heaven, we are going to find that none of us was completely right or wrong. We all know in part and see in part, and we can learn from each other.
My husband, Mickey, does a lot of teaching along these lines. He says that we are twelve tribes, but one nation. As the tribes of Israel each had their own banner, customs, and leadership, so do our Christian “tribes.” But when they went to war, they went as a nation.
When our different Bible-believing denominations come together for His purposes – to bring His plans into the earth – we need to come together in humility, appreciating each other, loving each other, and affecting our communities as one.
Remember when we have seen all of the barbaric things happening in the early chapters of the Bible? Remember that God’s plan all through that was to raise up a nation which could introduce His plan of redemption into the world? And a nation that could bring forth a Savior? All of God’s dealings with the Jews under the Old Covenant were to introduce the necessity for a blood sacrifice and a true walk with God.
Well, look at verse 24. Jesus says that God had loved Him before the foundation of the world. Before any of what we see was even here, God’s plan of redemption had been established.
Does this make your head tilt? It should,because none of us are really walking in all that has been provided for us. There is always more to learn and more to reach out for as we journey with the Lord.
I hope you will read this chapter several times. This is the prayer that Jesus prayed for you! Think about it and meditate on it.
Are you living up to what Jesus did for you? Let’s keep moving forward – pressing toward the mark.