When the Burnt Offering Began…

“Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem… 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…’

“Then Hezekiah the king rose early and gathered the officials of the city and went up to the house of the Lord. And they brought… a sin offering for the kingdom and for the sanctuary and for Judah. And he commanded the priests… to offer them on the altar of the Lord… that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel.

“He stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment…  The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. Then Hezekiah commanded that the burnt offering be offered on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord began also, and the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded. All this continued until the burnt offering was finished. When the offering was finished, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshiped. And Hezekiah and the officials commanded the Levites to sing praises to the Lord… And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed down and worshiped.” 2 Chronicles 29:1a,3-5,20-21,24b-30

King Hezekiah was determined to set things right spiritually when he became king, and temple worship was first priority. After consecration of the priests, he directed offerings be made for their sin, the requirement for God’s favor. And when the burnt offering began, so did the singing and gladness. Joy always accompanied obedience.

Hezekiah opened the door to God, and led in consecration by and before Him. He saw to the removal of filth and deterrents to purity. He rose early, before the onslaught of voices vying for his attention. His mind was clear and heart set to follow God’s prescription for right worship. He led in sacrificing self, substance, and song.

We rush to prayer to recite our list and ask for help with concerns, even to ‘check it off,’ and fail to consecrate ourselves through thoughtful, sincere confession. We haste to find satisfaction and happiness and skip the step of repentance. We rattle words and generalities, but there is no substance of expectation. Always the gold glitters beyond and we chase it, but neglect the refining fire of searching and waiting that must preclude it.

Have we considered what we offer God each day, when He has done immeasurably much for us? Are we so stuffed with self-importance that we breeze up for a nod and a wave, then on by, in some perverted way thinking we have done our due? Without deliberation and serious investment, joy will be shallow. But when we near the flame, and offer ourselves whole and clean, rejoicing is beyond full.

Lord, take all of me. You are worthy of full consecration, and sacrifice, and praise.

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