Start with the Sanctuary

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 assembled them in the square on the east and said to them, ‘Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, 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… My sons, do not now be negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him.’ Then the Levites arose… They gathered their brothers and consecrated themselves and went in as the king had commanded, by the words of the Lord, to cleanse the house of the Lord. The priests 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. They began to consecrate on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the vestibule of the Lord. Then for eight days they consecrated the house of the Lord, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished.” 2 Chronicles 29:3-7,11-12,15-17

A new king, new reign, new perspective, new mission. Hezekiah would set Israel on the right path by restoring worship in the sanctuary to its rightful place. After the priests had done their cleansing and preparatory work, the new sovereign rose early to bring sacrifices and lead worship with song to the LORD. His leadership and example of humble, joyful adoration of God was contagious, and set a focus of God-centered rejoicing for the nation. (2 Chronicles 22:20,24-31,36)

As we begin a new year, holding all its promise and unknowns, hopes and plans, what will take first priority? As priests of the King of kings entrusted with much, how faithfully will we tend to our first responsibility, that of His sanctuary? Where have disordered wants or affections upended first right things? What self-stroking, what depleting or unfruitful habits, what long-held resentments or prejudices need to be discarded? What will we do in our schedules and our hearts to open wide doors to true, Christ-centered sacrifice and trim the lamps of grateful praise? (1 Peter 2:9)

Sovereign Lord Who bestows my royal priesthood, may I be faithful today, and this year, to maintain pure and glad worship, and to proclaim Your excellencies in all I do and say.

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