Bible Readings for December 24th
Despite the fact that the story of Judah is tracking quickly toward their eventual exile in Babylon, we nevertheless have two more godly kings to study, starting with Hezekiah here in 2 Chronicles 29. Unsurprisingly, the first thing we read regarding Hezekiah to demonstrate his godliness is his reform of Judah’s worship, which is especially important after the wicked reign of Ahaz, whom we looked at yesterday.
But again, the Chronicler does not merely repeat what we read in 2 Kings 18:3–7. Instead, we gain new information, discovering here that Hezekiah appeals to all the Levites to reform Judah’s worship. So, Hezekiah begins by calling the Levites to consecrate themselves in order to begin the process of turning back to Yahweh through faithful temple worship (2 Chron. 29:3–11). We read of all the Levites who rise to the task, listed out by their clan: Kohathites, Merarites, and Gershonites (2 Chron. 29:12–13a). Then, we read another list by clan in 2 Chronicles 29:13b–14, where we find the descendants of the original singers whom David had appointed in the temple in 1 Chronicles 15: Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. Immediately, the Levites and the priests work together to cleanse the temple of any unclean things that Ahaz had introduced there, and they replace all of the utensils that Ahaz had discarded (2 Chron. 29:15–19).
Once the temple is consecrated, Hezekiah restarts the full worship activities that should never have ceased. So, he commands the priests to slaughter their sacrifices (2 Chron. 29:20–24), and he repositions the Levites to sing praises with their cymbals, harps, and lyres (2 Chron. 29:25–30). Finally, once the people are consecrated, Hezekiah commands the offering of sacrifices and thank offerings—that is, the sacrifices that did not atone for or cleanse from sin but that celebrated Israel’s communion with Yahweh (cf. Lev. 3, 4, 7). At this point, the Levites continue play a special role, since they are “more upright in heart than the priests in consecrating themselves” (2 Chron. 29:34).
While Hezekiah is clearly following exactly what David had commanded rather than innovating new forms of worship (2 Chron. 29:5, 25–27, 30), we nevertheless see the same dynamic that we have seen in David: Hezekiah the king is commanding the Levites and the priests to offer acceptable worship to Yahweh. And in this way, he is once again acting in the way that a king of Yahweh’s people—that is, a son of David—should act by purifying Judah’s worship. And by doing this, he foreshadows the role of the greater Son of David, Jesus Christ himself, who came as the king who would purify the worship of God’s people forever. We will continue reading about the reforms of Hezekiah tomorrow.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.