The Reign of Hezekiah
29 Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. And the name of his mother was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. 2 And he did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, according to all that David his father had done.
3 In the first year of his kingship, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of Yahweh and strengthened them. 4 And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and he gathered them into the eastern square. 5 And he said to them, “Hear me, O Levites! Sanctify yourselves now, and sanctify the house of Yahweh, the God of your ancestors, and bring out the defilement from the sanctuary. 6 For our ancestors acted unfaithfully and did evil in the sight of Yahweh our God, and have forsaken him and turned away their faces from the dwelling place of Yahweh. They have turned their backs on it. 7 They also shut the doors of the portico and extinguished the lamps. And they did not burn incense or offer burnt offerings in the sanctuary to the God of Israel. 8 And the wrath of Yahweh was upon Judah and Jerusalem. And he made them as an abhorrence, as a desolation and an object of scorn, as you see with your own eyes. 9 Now behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity on account of this. 10 Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with Yahweh, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger might turn away from him. 11 Now, my sons, do not be negligent, for Yahweh has chosen you to stand before him to serve him and to be his servants and incense burners.”
12 Then the Levites arose—Mahath the son of Amasai and Joel the son of Azariah, from the Kohathites; and Kish the son of Abdi and Azariah the son of Jehallelel from the Merarites; and Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah, from the Gershonites. 13 And from the descendants of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeiel; and from the descendants of Asaph: Zechariah and Mattaniah; 14 and from the descendants of Heman: Jeiel and Shimei; and from the descendants of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel— 15 and they gathered their brothers and sanctified themselves, and they went in according to the command of the king because of the words of Yahweh, to purify the house of Yahweh. 16 And the priests went into the inner part of the house of Yahweh to purify it. And they brought out all the impurity that they found in the temple of Yahweh out to the courtyard of the house of Yahweh. And the Levites took them to bring them outside to the Wadi Kidron. 17 And they began to sanctify themselves on the first day of the first month. And on the eighth day of the month they came to the portico of Yahweh. And they sanctified the house of Yahweh for eight days, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished. 18 And they went into the inner part to King Hezekiah and said, “We have cleansed all the house of Yahweh: the altar of burnt offering, all its objects, the table of the rows of bread and all its objects, 19 and all the objects that King Ahaz discarded in his reign when he sinned, we have prepared and sanctified. Look, they are before the altar of Yahweh.”
20 Then King Hezekiah rose early and gathered the officials of the city, and he went up to the house of Yahweh. 21 And they brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats as a purification offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. And he commanded the descendants of Aaron, the priests, to offer them on the altar of Yahweh. 22 And they slaughtered the cattle, and the priests received the blood and threw it toward the altar. Then they slaughtered the rams and threw the blood toward the altar, and then they slaughtered the lambs and threw the blood toward the altar. 23 Then they brought the goats of the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid hands upon them. 24 And the priest killed them and offered their blood against the altar to make atonement for all Israel, for the king had commanded the burnt offering and the sin offering for all Israel.
25 And he stood the Levites in the house of Yahweh with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the command of David and Gad, the seer of the king, and Nathan the prophet, for the command was by the hand of Yahweh by the hand of his prophets. 26 When the Levites stood with the objects of David and the priests with the trumpets, 27 Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And at the time the burnt offering began, the song of Yahweh began, and also the trumpets, at the hands of the instruments of David king of Israel. 28 Then all the assembly bowed down, and the song was sung, and the trumpeters trumpeted—all together until the end of the burnt offering. 29 And when the offering was finished, the king and all who were found with him knelt down and bowed themselves. 30 Then King Hezekiah and the princes commanded the Levites to praise Yahweh with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they offered praise with joy, and they bowed down and worshiped.
31 Then Hezekiah answered and said, “Now you have consecrated yourselves to Yahweh. Come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the house of Yahweh!” And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all who were willing in heart brought burnt offerings. 32 And the number of burnt offerings that the assembly brought was seventy cattle, one hundred rams, two hundred lambs—all these were to offer to Yahweh. 33 And the consecrated offerings of cattle were six hundred cattle and three thousand sheep. 34 But the priests were too few, and they were not able to offer all the burnt offerings, so their brothers, the Levites, strengthened them to finish the work, and until the rest of the priests consecrated themselves. (For the Levites were more conscientious to sanctify themselves than the priests.) 35 And beside the many burnt offerings was the fat of the peace offerings and the libations for the burnt offerings. So the service of the house of Yahweh was established. 36 And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had established with the people, for the matter happened suddenly.
Hezekiah Celebrates Passover
30 Then Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and he also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, to come to the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem to make a Passover feast to Yahweh the God of Israel. 2 Now the king and his princes, and all the assembly in Jerusalem had taken counsel to make the Passover feast in the second month—3 but they were not able to make it at that time, for the priests had not consecrated themselves in sufficient numbers, and the people had not been assembled in Jerusalem—4 and the plan seemed right in the eyes of the king and in the eyes of all the assembly. 5 So they let the decree stand, to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, to come to make a Passover feast to Yahweh the God of Israel in Jerusalem, for they had not kept it as often as prescribed. 6 And the runners went with the letter from the hand of the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah according to the command of the king, saying, “O sons of Israel, return to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that he may turn again to the remnant of you who escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your fathers and like your brothers, who acted unfaithfully before Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them as a desolation, as you see. 8 Now, do not stiffen your neck as your fathers, but give a hand to Yahweh and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve Yahweh your God that his fierce anger may turn away from you. 9 For when you return to Yahweh, your brothers and your children will find compassion before their captors and return to this land, for Yahweh your God is gracious and compassionate, and he will not turn away his face from you if you return to him.”
10 And it happened that the runners were passing from city to city in the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and up to Zebulun, but they were laughing at them and mocking them. 11 Only men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 The hand of God was also upon Judah, to give them one heart to obey the command of the king and the princes concerning the word of Yahweh.
13 So many people gathered in Jerusalem to hold the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month; it was a very great assembly. 14 And they rose up and removed the altars that were in Jerusalem. And they removed all the incense altars and threw them away in the Wadi Kidron. 15 And they slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. And the priests and the Levites were disgraced, so they consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings into the house of Yahweh. 16 Then they stood at their positions according to custom, according to the law of Moses the man of God. The priests were sprinkling the blood from the hand of the Levites. 17 For there were many in the assembly who did not consecrate themselves, so the Levites were over the killing of the Passover sacrifices for all who were not clean, to consecrate them to Yahweh. 18 For a majority of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves. But they ate the Passover sacrifice otherwise than prescribed, but Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Yahweh make atonement unto 19 everyone whose heart is set to seek God, Yahweh the God of his ancestors, though not according to the cleansing for the sanctuary.” 20 And Yahweh listened to Hezekiah, and he healed the people. 21 And the Israelites who were found in Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great joy. And the Levites and the priests were offering praise to Yahweh day by day, with powerful instruments to Yahweh. 22 And Hezekiah spoke to the heart of all the Levites who were skilled at service to Yahweh. So they ate the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and giving thanks to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.
23 Then the whole assembly decided to make seven more days of feasting, so they made seven more days with joy, 24 for Hezekiah the king of Judah had provided one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep for the assembly, and the princes provided one thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep for the assembly. And many priests consecrated themselves. 25 And the whole assembly of Judah, and the priests and the Levites and all the assembly who had come from Israel, and the sojourners who came from the land of Israel and those living in Judah, rejoiced. 26 And there was great joy in Jerusalem, for from the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there was nothing such as this in Jerusalem. 27 Then the priests and the Levites arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came to his holy dwelling place in the heavens.
7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the message which you have heard. 8 Again, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light already is shining. 9 The one who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother resides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Encouragement and Assurance
12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you on account of his name. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you have known the One who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the evil one. 14 I have written to you, children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known the One who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God resides in you, and you have conquered the evil one.
Praise to Yahweh for His Creation and Providence
104 Bless Yahweh, O my soul.
O Yahweh my God, you are very great.
You clothe yourself with splendor and majesty,
2 you who cover yourself with light as with a garment,
who stretch out the heavens like a tent curtain,
3 the one who sets beams in the waters for his upper chambers,
who makes clouds his chariot,
who rides on the wings of the wind,
4 who makes his messengers the winds,
his attendants a flame of fire.
5 He established the earth on her foundations,
so that it will not be moved forever and ever.
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment.
The waters stood above the mountains.
7 At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they ran off.
8 They ascended the mountains and drained though the valleys
to the place that you established for them.
9 You set a boundary that they may not cross over,
so that they would not return to cover the earth.
10 You are the one who sends forth springs into the valleys;
they flow between the mountains.
11 They give drink for every beast of the field.
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 Along them the birds of the heavens abide.
From among the branches they sing.
13 You are the one who waters the mountains
from his upper chambers.
The earth is full with the fruit of your labors:
14 who causes grass to grow for the cattle
and herbs for the service of humankind,
to bring forth food from the earth,
15 and wine that makes glad the heart of man,
so that their faces shine from oil,
and bread that strengthens the heart of man.
Conflict can be good. And in communities, it’s inevitable. The ways in which we respond to it can display and develop character. But what if we are the ones responsible for creating conflict with others?
John addresses the root of chronic conflict in a letter to a church community. He tells them, “The one who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother resides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:9–11).
John was giving the church a way in which they could judge false teachers who created conflict and division. Those who were not walking in the light—who hated their brothers—were known by their contentious nature. Conversely, those who walked in light did not serve as a stumbling block for others. The light they dwelled in was shown in their love for other Christians.
Love for other Christ-followers is not optional—it’s an outpouring of the love that God shows to us. The nature of our interpersonal relationships is a reflection of where we stand with Him. External conflict that has hatred at its root might point to our own internal conflict—one that can be defined by a disagreement between what we confess and how we live (1 John 1:6).
What is causing conflicts in your relationships? If you are the one causing conflict, how can you seek peace—with God and others?
Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord
Publisher: Lexham Press
Publication Date: 2012
This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.