The Pilgrim Path (10-21-2020)
The Pilgrim Path---Second Chronicles 31: 1 – 14
Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and broke down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, and in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the people of Israel returned to their cities, every man to his possession.
And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and of the Levites, division by division, each according to his service, the priests and the Levites, for burnt offerings and peace offerings, to minister in the gates of the camp of the LORD and to give thanks and praise. The contribution of the king from his own possessions was for the burnt offerings: burnt offerings of morning and evening, and the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the appointed feasts, as it is written in the Law of the LORD. And he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the Law of the LORD. As soon as the command was spread abroad , the people of Israel gave in abundance the first-fruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. And the people of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought in the tithe of cattle and sheep, and the tithe of the dedicated things that had been dedicated to the LORD their God, and laid them in heaps. In the third month they began to pile up the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month. When Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD and his people Israel. And Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites about the heaps. Azariah the chief priest, who was of the house of Zadok, answered him, “Since they began to bring the contributions into the house of the LORD, we have eaten and had enough and have plenty left, for the LORD has blessed his people, so that we have this large amount left.”
Then Hezekiah commanded them to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD, and they prepared them. And they faithfully brought in the contributions, the tithes, and the dedicated things. The chief officer in charge of them was Conaniah the Levite, with Shimei his brother as second, while Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah were overseers assisting Conaniah and Shimei his brother, by the appointment of Hezekiah the king and Azariah the chief officer of the house of God. And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the east gate, was over the freewill offerings to God, to apportion the contribution reserved for the LORD and the most holy offerings.
HEZEKIAH: The Spiritual Health of The Nation
Before I took sometime away, we looked at this special King---Hezekiah. He had a heart for the LORD and His ways. It is time to come back to him and his pursuit of God. He was not perfect, but he wanted to follow the LORD. He led his people in reformation and revival. Last we met, we saw that Passover was restored. The people were so moved by the spirit of God, they decided to prolong the designated time of formal worship and reflection. Then, it was time to return home. As you open chapter 31 of Second Chronicles---you “see” they take their “walk” with God home with them…
---Rid the Land of idols: these Sex Shrines (Asherim) had to go---if they were to be serious in their devotion to the LORD. Well, sex shrines still exist (and we still must cast them out by the grace of God).
---Re—establish Temple Worship: this had begun---But the formal ministry of “ministers” had to be supported and maintained. King David had appointed divisions of Levites (I Chronicles 6: 1).
---Regal appointment: King Hezekiah put his money where his mouth was---He supported the Ministry of the Levites and the necessity of ongoing “giving” that the Law required. He also followed the fine example of King David who thought it was a joy to give for God’s house (First Chronicles 29: 3—5).
---Real participation by the people followed: So much so---heaps were set aside / storerooms to accommodate the excess. It had been a while---since some of these people had given---and they gave, as unto the LORD. And Hezekiah had set the example---by opening his treasury---and giving for the appointed sacrifices---and those who took care of them. I often recall R. J. Rushdoony saying, that the Jew of the Old Testament gave of the first fruits of his fields, his flocks, then a temple tax, and then money for the Levites, and then something for the poor. His estimate was that this amounted to giving of around 22-23% annually (think about that). Which is why the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians in First Corinthians 16: 2, “Set aside something on the first day of the week---as you may prosper / or give in accord with the way God has blessed you.” We do not need to get fastened on percentages.
---Real People---Collecting and Distributing the LORD’S Gifts: That stands out in this passage. You may never have even heard of Conaniah, Azaziah, Jozabad, and Mahath---But the collecting and proper distributing of the LORD’S gifts---Heaven reckons that as very serious business (distributing among the priests and Levites enrolled / 31: 19 / those in need, etc.,).
---Record on Hezekiah to “close” chapter 31: “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered.”
Of what eternal good are leaders---If they do not lead in humility under Almighty God?
Concerning the future of our Republic, of what eternal good are leaders---If they do not know something of brokenness before Almighty God?
The LORD Jesus Christ said: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15: 5
A PRAYER from Matthew Henry for God’s blessing to reform the nation’s lifestyle and suppress its vices:
Let reformation begin with your church. Let the Redeemer come to Zion, turning away ungodliness from Jacob. Let the filth of Jerusalem be purged from your chosen remnant by a purifying, burning spirit of judgment.
O righteous God who tests the hearts and motives of men, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, and establish the purposes of the just. Motivate many to rise on your behalf against those who practice evil. Help them to stand up for you against all workers of iniquity. Let those that are striving against sin never become weary or faint in their determination.
Let the mouth of all that promote oppression be shut. Display your covenant faithfulness to the poor and needy by multiplying their families like flocks as you free them from their affliction. Execute your righteous judgments so that the infection caused by any plague may be stopped. Banish the name of every idol from our land. Purify the lips of the peoples that they may call on your name and serve you shoulder to shoulder. Exalt your people above all nations by making them a holy people to you, the Covenant LORD our God. Let them be praised, made famous and held in honor by all people. Amen.
“A Christian is just as much under obligation to obey God’s will in the most secular of his daily businesses as he is in his prayer closet or at the communion table. He has no right to separate his life into two realms and acknowledge different moral codes in each respectively----God reigns over all…His will is the supreme law in all relations and actions.” A. A. Hodge
Grace and Peace in Jesus Christ Our Risen LORD, Pastor Jason