When Hezekiah became king of Judah, the nation experienced its greatest spiritual revival up to that point. It happened after a 16-year period of evil where God was openly rejected and all sorts of sins were promoted in public. Hezekiah ushered in a very thorough, genuine, and righteous change that swept like wildfire throughout not only Judah, but to the northern kingdom of Israel even though most inhabitants of the northern kingdom were in captivity to Assyria.
His administration renovated the temple in Jerusalem, which had been neglected for years. They then had a re-dedication ceremony for it to restore the worship of Jehovah alone and not long after that ceremony, they restored the observance of the Passover in honor of their future Messiah. But their worship and service to the Lord didn’t stop after they left their house of worship. An interesting thing took place right after Passover as described in 2 Chronicles 31:1–
Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.
The zeal of Jehovah completely took over their hearts and they were so repentant of their past sins that they went the extra mile to smash their idols. Those idols were known to be very ornate. A lot of labor, time, finances, and other resources went into creating them, setting them up, and taking care of them. But like Paul would state centuries later in Philippians 3:8, they counted all those things as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of the Lord and considered them dung in order to win the Lord.
No idolatrous treasure was worth standing between them and Jehovah. No false god was worthy of keeping them from divinely inspired moral and spiritual uprightness. The idols would not stand in the way of their usefulness to God and to their fellow man on behalf of God. Finally, the false gods were not worth maintaining as a hindrance to their eternal life. So they all had to be smashed throughout Judah and Israel to the north. It was only then that they could return to their cities and homes in peace.
As individual believers, we must all determine for ourselves how dedicated we really are to the Lord. When we look around at today’s congregations, there are many idols set up that hinder them from going all out for the Lord. Whether it’s false doctrines borrowed from other religions, the fear of men placed above the fear of God, sexual sins, membership in secret societies, the idols seem as numerous as the ones scattered throughout Judah. But are we willing to shun all those things in our personal relationship with the Lord to experience the type of zeal Judah had during Hezekiah’s reign? Are we able to consider the value of those false gods as nothing in order to give free reign to our one true Lord in godliness, usefulness, and attributes that exhibit our eternal life? I pray that it will be so for the sake of this generation.
(Featured image: Cormeilles en parisis 54 broken statue, used under Creative commons license from Wikimedia Commons.)