II Kin. 18:1-12; II Chron. 29:1-31:21
“A new broom sweeps clean” is a statement that I have heard many times referring to the diligence of a newly hired worker. During the approximately two hundred years since the death of Solomon the worship of God in the temple had become nonexistent. Previous “new brooms” had failed to clean up the dirt that had been left by their predecessors. However, Hezekiah was different.
As King Hezekiah followed his wicked father, Ahaz, he immediately began in the first month of his reign to restore proper respect and worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. He removed all of the idols and their places of worship. The bronze serpent that Moses had raised in the wilderness to prevent death from the fiery serpent bites had become an object of idol worship. It was destroyed. That was an example of something good being misused and turned into an object of evil.
Hezekiah ordered the priests and Levites to consecrate themselves and to begin the repair and restoration of the temple. That included carrying “out the rubbish from the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God…” The people worked hard and soon the work was finished and they were ready to renew the worship as commanded by the law of Moses. “So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order.”
When Israel was carried into Assyrian captivity, a remnant of Israel’s population was somehow left behind. In his zeal to resume the proper worship to God, Hezekiah called for those people of Israel to join them in Jerusalem for the Passover observance. The king’s invitation was met with mixed results as some laughed and mocked while others did humble themselves and went to join with their Judean brothers in worship.
Due to time constraints, all things were not complete for the Passover in the first month as commanded, but God allowed the observance to take place in the second month. That was a rare exception that was permitted by God. “So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.”
God had made provision for the tribe of Levi to be supported by tithes from the people. Hezekiah restored the Levites to their proper role in the worship of God and commanded that the tithes be contributed for their care. More than enough was given. “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah…he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.”
Observe that the national revival of Judah had been started by one individual and that his influence carried it throughout the entire nation. Let us use our influence for good also.