Day 11 2 Chronicles 30 ... Happy Days are here again

Toward the end of Micahâs career, just as the situation in Judah was deteriorating, another great king took the throne. In fact, 2 Chronicles spends more time on Hezekiah than on anyone else. The very first year of his reign he led a program to restore the temple, which had fallen into disrepair from lack of use. Hezekiah turned the tables on Judahâs priests: He stood in the temple square and delivered a rousing sermon to them.

When Hezekiah decided to sponsor a huge religious festival, the idea at first met with scorn and ridicule. But a kingâs proclamation carries certain weight, and the nation finally did come together in a remarkable scene of happiness and unity. Hezekiah even sent "missionary" couriers to the devastated land to the North, and some survivors of the Assyrian scourge made their way to Jerusalem. This chapter closely resembles 1 Kings 8 and its story of Solomonâs dedication of the temple. Hezekiah was intent on renewing the covenant with God in hopes of forestalling Godâs judgment. The details of the festival celebration show just how badly Judah had neglected the covenant: There was a shortage of priests, and Hezekiah had to bend the rules or not enough worshippers would have been properly purified. It was no accident that Hezekiah organized his festival around the Passover. That day marked the birth of a nation, when God freed his people from slavery in Egypt. In a real sense, the Passover had sealed the covenant, and Hezekiah determined to remind the nation of its heritage.

Despite the initial skepticism, the people of Judah got caught up in the celebration and, as in Solomonâs day, spontaneously decided to stay another seven days. "There was great joy in Jerusalem," the Bible reports, "for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem."

Point to Ponder: When you hear about a religious renewal or "revival, do you tend to be (a) skeptical, (b) cautious, (c) open-minded, (d) enthusiastic?