Hezekiah reopened the Temple and sacrifices were once again being made. In his Christ-like compassion, Hezekiah insisted that the priests make the sin offering not only for Judah, but also for Israel.
“King Hezekiah then stationed the Levites at the Temple of the Lord with cymbals, lyres, and harps. He obeyed all the commands that the Lord had given to King David through Gad, the king’s seer, and the prophet Nathan. The Levites then took their positions around the Temple with the instruments of David, and the priests took their positions with the trumpets.
Then Hezekiah ordered that the burnt offering be placed on the altar. As the burnt offering was presented, songs of praise to the Lord were begun, accompanied by the trumpets and other instruments of David, the former king of Israel. The entire assembly worshiped the Lord as the singers sang and the trumpets blew, until all the burnt offerings were finished. Then the king and everyone with him bowed down in worship. King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to praise the Lord with the psalms written by David and by Asaph the seer. So they offered joyous praise and bowed down in worship.
Then Hezekiah declared, ‘Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, bring your sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings to the Temple of the Lord’” (II Chronicles 29:25-31a, NLT).
“Now that you have consecrated yourselves.” Hezekiah wanted everything done according to God’s teachings. No matter how eager the people were to bring in their sacrifices and offerings, the first thing they had to bring was themselves. This is a huge lesson for all of us. God doesn’t want our stuff – it’s all His anyway. He wants our hearts. He wants our minds. He wants our lives wholly devoted to Him. Then and only then are our gifts and offering acceptable worship.
Being prepared to worship was critical to God’s acceptance of the people’s worship. Let me just say that one more time: being prepared to worship was critical to God’s acceptance of the people’s worship.
God’s attitude toward our worship hasn’t changed. He still expects us to be prepared to worship. How’s that? Prayed up. ‘Fessed up. Focused. When’s the last time you truly examined yourself before waltzing in the church doors? Take a look at some New Testament passages regarding worship:
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (Jesus speaking, Matthew 5:23-24).
And that’s a two-way street, friends. If you have something against another person, you’re not ready to worship, either. Confess it and release it because Jesus said, “When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:25). Can you afford to have your sins unforgiven? I sure can’t.
This Sunday, give yourself a spiritual checkup before you head for your place of worship. Confess anything that stands between you and a 100 percent commitment with Jesus. Then go expecting God to meet you. Gather joyfully with your brothers and sisters in Christ and celebrate the Savior.
“It is not enough for us to be where God is worshiped, if we do not ourselves worship Him, and that not with bodily exercise only, which profits little, but with the heart.” (Matthew Henry)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates