Hezekiah’s Reformation

Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne of Judah, and he reigned for twenty-nine years (726-697 BC). He is spoken of as being a good king and has been likened to David and Solomon for his religious zeal for restoring the temple of God. He was responsible for destroying idolatry in the kingdom and for the great reformation recorded in 2 Kings 18:4 and 2 Chronicles 29:3-36).

King Ahaz had introduced pagan practices and was the one who commanded the temple doors to be bolted. When his son Hezekiah ascended the throne he sought to abolish all his father had done. Isaiah may have had some influence upon him since he was a member of the court. Hezekiah would have known about the fall of Israel and had begun to warn Judah since they were doing exactly the same thing that caused her downfall. He saw the desperate spiritual conditions in Judah and knew that only a revival would solve it. Hezekiah was determined not to compromise with false religion.

From the outset he established true worship of Almighty God. It was his aim to once again centralise worship in Jerusalem’s temple. This meant that he must call for the priesthood to sanctify itself Here we find the king of Judah ordering the priests to get right with God, to get rid out of their lives anything that would be offensive to God (2 Chronicles 29:5). They obeyed his command (:14).

Hezekiah also pointed out the sins of the people (:6). He warned them, that because of their refusal and failure to live according to the law of God, that the Lord was going to completely destroy then unless they repented (:8-11).

After the priests purified themselves they were ordered to go into the temple and take out all the rubbish and filth that had accumulated there since the day Ahaz barred the doors (:5, 16-17). It took eight days for all the filth to be removed and to finally report to Hezekiah that the temple had been sanctified (:18-19). The first thing that king Hezekiah had done in the temple after its purification was to have the priests sacrifice one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep as an act of national repentance (:20-24). He arranged for the Levites to worship God with cymbals, trumpets, other musical instruments and with song (:25-28), and all the congregation joined in with this praise (:28-29). After this he ordered that the Psalms of David were to be sung (:30). His reforms went further than merely outward religious acts. Hezekiah knew that to worship God was not sufficient to make a person right with God. What was needed was for the nation to commit themselves to God and live according to His commandments.

This rededication inspired them to want to worship God even more. After the initial ceremony there was another round of sacrifices and praise offered unto the Lord (:31-35). There was great rejoicing as the nation turned back to God (:36).

The king re-instituted the Passover (30:26). He invited those in the north to attend the Passover in Jerusalem (30:1 ). Though he sent messengers all over the countryside with this invitation to join in the revival (30:5-8) there were few who accepted, except those of Manasseh, Asher, and Zebulun. Hezekiah prayed for those who arrived to join in the Passover celebration that they would sanctity themselves (30:17-19).

The pagan shrines were thrown down all over the nation. He destroyed the high places (2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chronicles 31:1), and broke up the brazen serpent that Moses had made and which Judah had come to worship (2 Kings 18:4).

Hezekiah’s reforms brought about spiritual healing both nationally and individually (30:20). The Levites were back to teaching the word of God (30:22). The people were so excited about worshipping God that they requested another seven days of celebration, praise and sacrifice to the Lord (30:23-24). God’s people had never experienced anything like this before, certainly not since the days of Solomon (:26). The Bible tells us, in probably the most heart-warming of words found in this story, that “their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, even unto Heaven” (:27). This revival went much further than nice feelings in a religious atmosphere. The people knew that they had to get rid of everything that was in their lives that was an offence to God. Their idols went immediately they arrived home (31:1).

The priests were commanded to observe everything that God had said in His word (31:2-3). Hezekiah reminded the people about their responsibility in tithing for the upkeep of the temple and priesthood (31:4-6). They obeyed this so fully that the chief priest reported to the King that new storehouses needed to be built to hold all the offerings (31:10-11).

The Scriptures tell us that Hezekiah was a good king (2 Chronicles 29:2; 31:20) because he loved God and restored true worship in Judah, brought God’s truth to the nation, and sought to serve the Lord with his whole heart (31:21; 2 Kings 18:6). God was pleased with what he had accomplished. Through his hard work and love for God he had succeeded bringing Judah back from the brink of judgement.