Love Came Down with Revolution

2013-10-20 17.05.26Sometimes in life, we get stuck. Rutted in bad habits.  Entrenched in false beliefs.  Laden down with false perspective.  Unable to move forward, to see farther than the horizon or to care past today’s needs.  Wedged in and stuck tight.

In the days of King Hezekiah, Judah battled spiritual apathy.  Former kings like Ahaz, Joash and Amaziah had ripped off the people, shoved God out of politics and enshrined false gods for generations.  Then the religious faithful, the temple priests and teachers, shied away from God, and pressured and faithless, they forsook God Almighty in all public forums.

Animosity and tension ruled the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah clashed.  Assyria ravaged Samaria and dispersed all the Israelites to foreign nations to the horror of their brother nation, Judah. With the crushing of Israel heavy upon the hearts of the nation, Judah had long-dismissed all national feasts of consecration or sanctification unto God.  Passover was an antiquated tradition.  Worship to idols was customary to seek fertile wombs or fields. Worship of the Lord Jehovah was far removed from current culture.  Judah had turned to polytheism, like a Wal-Mart offering of worship, picking holdable hand-carved gods instead of seeking God Almighty. Shrines polluted the countryside and the nation paid dearly for this sin.

Sexual favours and financial offerings were the least of the practices demanded in pagan idolatry.  Children were thrown off cliffs to appease the gods, and were often passed through fire, even fed alive to snakes and rats to attain the preferred favour of those incessant and demanding gods who were never satisfied and always demanded more by their greedy priests and dominating demons.

IMG_0816It was a most miserable time for Judah.

When Hezekiah ascended as king, he inherited this brokenhearted nation from a father who had locked Solomon’s temple, banned worship of the God of Israel, and then set up 7-Eleven convenience-style idol worship centres under high places in every town and city of Judah.  Unexpectedly, in Hezekiah’s first month as monarch, he painstakingly opened the temple, threw out the garbage and idols which were placed inside, and re-commissioned the Levites to guard the faith of Israel, saying:

Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense.” [1]

By the sixteenth day of the month, the Levites had cleansed the temple and reported their progress to the king, who, with his elders, brought and sacrificed “seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah.[2]” Immediately, with that small band of Levites, priests, and musicians, Hezekiah established temple worship to take place daily as prescribed by the Law of Moses.

Good kings recognize that any lasting change takes great effort and building cumulatively works the best for national shifts. Next, Hezekiah sent runners all across the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, inviting them to repent and turn to the living God:

Children of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel; then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria… yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.” [3]

Though many villagers mocked the Judean messengers, some from the tribes of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun  heard the word of the Lord and gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast with their Judean brethren in that second month of Hezekiah’s rule.

lakeNot since the days of Solomon had so great a gathering of people assembled to worship the Lord.  For fourteen days, they sacrificed in community and worshiped Lord Jehovah God, whom the people remembered through Passover.  In generosity of heart, Hezekiah and his princes provided over seventeen thousand lambs for the people to sacrifice and feast upon.  Not one person was left out or cast aside from this renewed celebration of God’s covenant with His children.  Those who did not consecrate themselves were included, despite the Law’s clear statues:

For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.” And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people. [4]

As the people chose God Almighty once more, great joy broke out among the people.  Then, under the king’s command, the priesthood worshiped and heaven heard their prayers.

Once covenant was re-established, reform broke out across the nations of Judah and Israel, as celebrants returned to their hometowns intent on obeying God’s law. When the celebration finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke the sacred pillars in pieces, cut down the wooden images, and threw down the high places and the altars—from all Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh—until they had utterly destroyed them all[5].

Revolution had come to Judah: God was given sole exclusive rights to worship by His people and He responded with an outpouring of peace and wealth in a world framed by violence and takeover ( see 2 Chron 32:27-29).

King Hezekiah activated the divisions of the priests and Levites to maintain the worship in the temple and challenged his nation to support the priesthood financially. Offerings poured in, first fruits from the harvest and tithes for the priests.  After four months of collections, storehouses needed to be constructed to hold the massive abundance of provision released by the people to support the priests of the God of Israel.

2014-08-22 18.12.09Revolution began with one man with authority and heart to change a nation. Pried loose from their apostasy, Judah enjoyed incredible prosperity as King Hezekiah ruled; as God’s own people, their favor became an international point of merit (2 Chron. 32:23)

Hezekiah didn’t have parents who pointed him to God, nor counselors who sought God’s heart.  His nation was in complete apostasy, hardened in demonic worship and ravaged by their compromise of infanticide and sexual sin. Yet Hezekiah stepped into his royal office and changed the nation as did King David before him.

Then crisis hit the nation.  Sennacherib marched to take Judah with the same brute force that conquered Israel.  At his taunts, the king withstood the threat and exhorted his people:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of the king of Assyria, or for all the multitude with him. For there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is Jehovah our God to help us and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.(6)

As Judah trusted in their king and Hezekiah trusted in his God, the enemy was defeated supernaturally, as described in Isaiah 37: 35-36:

“For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’ ” Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead.

In this intense war, God was glorified as the One worthy of all Judah’s fidelity as He defended Judah by His own hand through His angelic forces. Not one soldier stepped into battle from Hezekiah’s army; the Assyrians were crushed and retreated before the power of Almighty God.

2014-10-09 13.20.47This week, the political landscape of Canada has shifted.  Our incredible statesman, Prime Minister Harper, lost the majority government and has stepped down as leader of the Conservative party.  Mr. Justin Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, won the majority government and now prepares to lead Canada with a Liberal ideology.

Many Christians have fasted and prayed and served at constituency offices throughout these past three months of the election and were expecting a Conservative majority, not a Liberal nation.  The incoming Prime Minister has promised to uphold abortion rights, legalize marijuana and remove Canada from strategic defense against ISIS in Syria and Iraq as part of his leadership mandate.

This liberal agenda is opposed by Canadians who practice biblical ideology which opposes abortion, drug use and the persecution of Christians. Yet to judge or malign leadership, to live as vocal opponents to the government derails the Church’s mandate. God establishes all authority on the earth and instructs us to pray for our leaders, to bless, to serve and to support those whom He has placed in government:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.(7)

If ever there was a set up for revolution in Canada, it is now.  Justin Trudeau, like Hezekiah, has seen firsthand the power of the office at his father’s knee and knows that like his father, he can shift Canada.  Instead of crossing our arms in rejection of our leader’s ideology, could we  drop to our knees in great expectation of our God who loves each of us, who loves our new Prime Minister and who loves this nation?

Fall on the FarmI wonder, who prayed Hezekiah into this place of renewal and restoration, that despite culture, despite his family models, he nevertheless reached for God and changed the future of his nation forever?  Who ministered hope in God to Hezekiah? Who fervently cried out to God to turn the nation away from infanticide and occult back to revival? Was it his mother, Abijah or his grandfather, Zechariah?  Was it a daughter of a priest or a whole community of believers who stood together in agreement for the revival of their nation?

Do we understand the power of agreement, to bless our leaders, to cry out that God will direct them and to stand on guard in prayer for those whom God has ordained to govern?  Proverbs 21:1 states: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” Oh, that the Church would rise up in prayer for the government of this nation!  Oh, that we would pray in great expectation of our great God to lead this nation through those whom He has established!

Let’s Pray: Lord Jesus, King of Nations, You brought Your Love Revolution to each of us; it cost You greatly, Pure Lamb of God and we adore You. Merciful Father in heaven, direct the heart of our leaders as You did King Hezekiah. Bless our leaders with wisdom, with strategic counsel, with a heart that burns for You, for the sake of Your Name.  Holy Spirit, may Hezekiah’s example be kindling to light the flames of our expectation in Almighty God, that longing for revival would compel the Church to arise, that a spirit of prayer would overtake us until we see Canada reign in righteousness. May Your Kingdom and Your will be done, Almighty Father, here in the Dominion of Canada, and in every nation, as it is in heaven. We ask this in the Name of our Sovereign King Jesus, Amen.

This Week’s Reading: 2 Chron 30 – Ezra 9

Next Week’s Reading: Ezra 10 – Nehemiah 8

Study Question:

  1. How do you cope with leaders who hold a different viewpoint than yourself?
  2. Do you believe that a nation can change direction spiritually like it happened with King Hezekiah?
  3. What value do you place on prayer to shift circumstances or mindsets in yourself or others?
  4. Where is your heart hard to God?  How can you change?  What needs to happen for revolution to come?
  5. Do you pray for your leaders?  Why or why not?

[1]The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Ch 29:10-11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2]The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Ch 29:21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3]The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Ch 30:6-9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4]The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Ch 30:18-20). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5]The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Ch 31:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6]The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Ch 32:7-8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson

[7] [6]The New King James Version. 1982 (Romans 13:1-8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson

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