Public Worship

2 Chronicles 29:31-36

Today’s scripture reading summarizes what Hezekiah has been trying to do: a restoration of temple worship. In verse 31, Hezekiah pronounces that the Levites have dedicated themselves to the LORD, and in verse 35b, we see that the service of the temple of the LORD was reestablished” (29:35b). What we see in verses 31-35 is the resumption of public worship in the temple. Ahaz had defiled and shut off the temple (28:24-25), so Hezekiah needed to first restore, purify, and rededicate the temple before public worship can resume scripturally. Hezekiah understood that God is to be worshipped in the way prescribed by the commandments of Moses. Unlike the modern proverb, when it comes to worship, sincerity is not the best policy. It is possible to be sincerely wrong, and “it is not good to have zeal without knowledge; nor to be hasty and miss the way” (Proverbs 19:2).

After ensuring that worship can be done scripturally did Hezekiah invite the people to “come and bring sacrifices” (29:31). And the people (“all whose hearts were willing” – verse 31b) responded with such eagerness that there were not enough priests to prepare for the sacrifices (29:32-34). This was such an encouraging scene, to see the king’s commitment to restoration of worship responded so zealously by all the people.

But it also seemed that Hezekiah was not only looking at obedience, but also at how speedily the reformation needed to be done. Verse 36 describes how Hezekiah and the people were joyful because the reestablishment of temple services was “done so quickly.” They were on a timeline, because Hezekiah intended to celebrate Passover nationally so that Judah could begin the year in the presence of the Lord and in the remembrance of His deliverance.

Let us ponder upon this: There is a lot that we can learn from Hezekiah in this day and age, because we, too, live in a crisis of truth. We often think that truth no longer matters; and that everyone can decide what is good for himself. But it is indeed not good to have zeal without knowledge; and a misguided enthusiasm can in fact do more damage. We must recommit ourselves to the truth of God’s word, and to do so in the same urgency that Hezekiah felt. Let us repent, and do it quickly.

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Hebrews 3:15)