“Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old. In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites and said to them, ‘Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the Lord, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place. For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God. They have forsaken him and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord and turned their backs. They also shut the doors of the vestibule and put out the lamps and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the Holy Place to the God of Israel’… They gathered their brothers and consecrated themselves and… went into the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and they brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the Lord into the court of the house of the Lord. And the Levites took it and carried it out to the brook Kidron.
“Then Hezekiah the king rose early and gathered the officials of the city and went up to the house of the Lord. The Levites stood with cymbals, harps, and lyres, and the priests with the trumpets. And when the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord began also. The whole assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded. When the offering was finished, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshiped. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed down and worshiped. Then Hezekiah said, ‘You have now consecrated yourselves to the Lord. Come near; bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the house of the Lord.’ And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all who were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings. And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because God had provided for the people.” 2 Chronicles 29:1-7,15-16,20,25-31,36
New king, new reign, new year, new resolve. Hezekiah came to power following his idolatrous father Ahaz, who had shut the temple doors and made altars to other gods in every corner of Jerusalem. First of all, he opened God’s temple door–a vivid picture of holy priority. He set out to cleanse the temple, identifying its impurities, and that necessitated the consecration of the religious leaders who would take on the task. He reestablished proper worship that resulted in abounding joy, as it always does.
Hezekiah’s first actions set lofty vision for his people, as they do for us. He invites my ‘first of all’ to be opening the door of my Lord, delving into His word and presence, with receptive mind and will to His ministry and voice. He invites my ‘rising early’ to be a consecration of self, repenting of sin that has blocked our communion and entangled His effectiveness in my life, and an ensuing offering of deep gratitude and praise. Cleansed and thankful, my life will be characterized by glad rejoicing and generosity. Why would I not begin a new year, a first month, this way, setting the table for a bountiful feast with Jesus that is never ending, and a pathway for Him to do wonders among us? (Hebrews 12:1; Joshua 3:5
King of kings, I offer myself for You to consecrate and use. Work Your character and will in me, that I might exalt You and my life cause others to praise You and rejoice. (John 3:30; 4:34; Romans 12:1)