“Carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.” (2 Chron. 29:4-5AV).
King Hezekiah has to clean up the mess left by his apostate father King Ahaz. Ahaz had worshipped the revolting idol-demon Molech and set up golden images of the chief Phoenician idols or the Baalim (2 Chr. 28). He practiced idolatrous rites in God’s temple (2 Kings 16) and then prohibited the worship of Yahweh altogether. He refused to hear the prophets, led spiritual leaders astray and even killed the priests that did not compromise their faith in Yahweh. “For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD.” (2 Chr 28:19). We all know that an idol is something that is worshipped other than the true God. It is a substitute for God. It is anything that conflicts with the rightful rule and supremacy of God in any aspect of our lives. It is an idolatry that is not obvious. It is hidden. It could be a secret sin, defiant attitude, malicious thought or anything that disturbs our fellowship with God. God sees it as trash, spiritual refuse, heart garbage, spiritual pollution. We must take out the trash!
Hezekiah had no program of reform other than restoring true worship. The king’s focus was not on turning the heart of the people, but pleasing the heart of God. He is an example to us that we must seek to glorify God, and in doing that we base our confidence. Our confidence is not in the flesh, or human ability, manipulation or ideas. Hezekiah like Enoch, “had this testimony that he pleased God” (Heb 11:5). The questions we need to ask are, “Lord is this my testimony? Is this not only what people see but what you see? Is this your witness of my life?” The purpose of cleansing the house of the Lord is that we might glorify Christ. How different is this attitude from those who want to use the programs and ideologies of men and slap a sticker of divine endorsement on what they do. They love the praise of men more than the praise of God. They are deluded and need to take out the trash. It is God we want first and foremost and as we do what pleases Him he will do what he promised. When Jesus is lifted up, He will of His own will and power, draw all men unto Himself (Eph. 1:11).
Hezekiah grabbed hold of the remaining ministers and Pastors that had not been corrupted or killed by Ahaz and said, “Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.” (2 Chr. 29:4-5AV). The call to clean the holy place was not an option, it was a command. Take the trash out of the house of God! Throw out the filthy pollution and garbage out from the Holy Place. The Awakening that took place in Ephesus involved bringing garbage not only to the curb but the incinerator. “Many of those who thus believed came out of the closet and made a clean break with their secret sorceries. All kinds of witches and warlocks came out of the woodwork with their books of spells and incantations and made a huge bonfire of them. Someone estimated their worth at fifty thousand silver coins.” (Acts 19:18-19 Message). That music is trash-silence it! That heretical doctrine is trash-toss it! That practice is unbiblical trash-stop it!
“So the priests went in to the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and every unclean thing which they found in the temple of the Lord they brought out to the court of the house of the Lord” (2 Chron 29:16). When the priests entered the holy place, they entered in secret before God. They were to remove those things which were defiling this sacred place. No one else had seen this desecration. They brought out the unclean things. What was unholy was exposed publicly and removed. It is our private, inner life which needs this deep cleansing. It is in this very place, this chamber of our deepest secrets that we must renounce those things hidden because of shame and, in humility of soul, receive Christ’s cleansing word (John 15:3).
This cleansing must become a way of life, but it does not have to take a lifetime. For Hezekiah and the people with him, it occurred in a matter of a few days. “Thus the service of the house of the Lord was established again. Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly” (2 Chron 29:35-36). The key here is this: the cleansing of the temple was the highest priority of Hezekiah’s life. When we are fully engaged in the process of repentance, breakthroughs can come about suddenly. Indeed, the prophet Malachi tells us that the Lord “whom You seek, will suddenly come to His temple” (Mal 3:1). As we restore the house of the Lord to purity and cleanse the holy place of our hearts for Christ, He will indeed come “suddenly” into our midst.
When Jesus returns suddenly he will come for a, “radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Eph. 5:27NIV). He calls to us and says, “It is time to plant righteous living and harvest mercy. It is time to break up the hard ground of your hearts, it is time to seek the LORD until He comes and rains righteousness on you. Don’t just show outward regret or sorrow, rip open your heart and return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you.” (see Hosea 10:12; Joel 2:13).
May He suddenly and wonderfully visit you today as you determine to take out the trash.
© 2011 Stephen S. Gibney Soul Health Care
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