Jump Start # 2701
2 Chronicles 29:3 “In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them.”
Recently I preached a lesson about “Revival.” I called it, “Revive us.” A spiritual revival is desperately needed in our country. Our churches, our homes and our nation is not only showing the lackluster impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but for a long, long time the morals, attitudes and spirit of looking out for one another has been on the decline. Much like Jeremiah’s day, good is being called evil and evil is being called good. And, our hope is not in the White House, the Court House, or even in the church house, but in the Lord. Revive us again, is needed. We need to Jump Start our hearts and kick our faith into gear. We’ve been shut down and nearly stopped completely because of a virus no one can figure out. Our God is greater than any little bug or even, any big bug.
There are many revivals within the Bible, such as, Asa, Josiah, Joshua and even in Samaria during the days of Jesus. But Hezekiah’s reforms are my favorite. His father, Ahaz messed the nation up. The Common English Version states that “he was utterly unfaithful to the Lord.” Not only did he stop the sacrifices in Judah, but he cut up the utensils that would be used in worship and locked the doors to the temple. He closed it up. That wicked old king finally died. His son, Hezekiah, becomes king. He was young, just twenty-five years old. Today, we’d say, he was fresh out of college. Young, ambitious, a head full of ideas, but lacking experience—that’s most college grads today and it fits Hezekiah.
However, our verse today is a powerful revelation into the heart and faith of this young king. He opened the doors of the temple. He did this in his first year and in his first month. It didn’t take a committee to study this. It didn’t take a policy to be hammered out. It didn’t take years and years of research. He was on it immediately. Within the first month, those temple doors were back open. And, what follows is one of the great sweeping reforms in the Bible.
Here are some thoughts for us:
First, Hezekiah must have been thinking about this even before he became king. He was planning, dreaming and had a vision. His worthless father had closed the doors. Hezekiah waited his turn. When Ahaz was out of the picture, those closed doors swung wide open.
Here’s a thought: what if you were given the honor of shepherding the people of God next year or in a few years. You are appointed as one of the elders of the congregation where you worship. What would you do? What needs to be done? Are you already thinking about how you could help the people of God walk closer to the Lord? Are you gathering ideas that will help in communication, transparency, better involvement of the members? We often hear what the president launches in his first 100 days. Hezekiah didn’t wait that long. Within the first month, he was opening up closed doors. This was on his heart. This was something that he wanted to do immediately.
Second, sometimes we can spend so long in the huddle that nothing gets accomplished. We can kick that can down the road month after month and talk and talk and the doors remain closed. Not Hezekiah. He got things going. The most important was restoring Biblical worship to God. That starts with opening up the doors. There is a time for talk, but there is also a time for action. Wait too long, and no one may be interested in opening those doors again. We can take surveys, poll the congregation, ask others, get advice and talk and talk and talk, and weeks become months and nothing ever changes. There comes a time to get those doors unlocked and open up the temple. There has been a lot of talking this year about Bible classes and especially what to do with the kids classes. A lot of talking. Maybe it’s time to put some of that talk into action. If the kids can’t safely be in the same room, then what’s some alternatives? The year is nearly over. Maybe it’s time for some action.
Third, sometimes talk is perceived as inaction. Hezekiah could have spent the first year of his reign talking about opening the doors. But, he went right away into the action mode. Folks sometimes complain that a congregation is doing nothing and going nowhere, when action is nothing more than talk. Having specific plans that are put on paper and shared with others tends to push us to stick with what we have said. It prompts us to action. What’s the plans for next year for the church? Put it on paper. Share it with the church. Put some traction to those ideas and get busy making them come about.
Fourth, opening the doors wasn’t the only step for Hezekiah. Throughout the next two chapters, he restores the priests, the sacrifices, the worship and tosses all the idols his father had built. Opening the doors was just the first step. It was an important step, but stopping there wasn’t enough. More reforms. More restoring. More reviving needed to be done. Hezekiah led the people back to God. We might stop too soon on things. We get the nerve to open the doors of the temple, but that’s all we do. And, if that’s all we do, very little change will take place and it won’t last. Open the doors, but get the priests consecrated. Get the sacrifices to God going again. Get worship going. Get the people back where they need to be. Get the hearts restored.
Opening the doors of the temple was just the beginning. There was much more to be done, but it all started, in those first few weeks, when he opened the doors. What needs to be done in your marriage? What needs to be done in your family? What needs to be done in the congregation? What needs to be done in your heart? Start, with opening up but don’t stop there. And, don’t take a long time opening up those doors!
Revive us, again!