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May 19 Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 28-29
“Carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.”
2 Chronicles 29:5
In these two chapters God the Holy Spirit has given us the brief histories of the reprobate idolater, Ahaz, who did everything he could to destroy the worship of God and the souls of all under his influence, and his son, the godly King Hezekiah, who did everything he could to restore and promote the worship and glory of God and the salvation of his elect.
Obed the Prophet
How good and encouraging it is to read in 2nd Chronicles 28 that even in the dark days of Ahaz there was a faithful Obed to speak for God, and a faithful remnant, according to the election of grace, who had not departed with their families and their nation from the worship of God. God never leaves himself without a witness. He always has his elect remnant scattered among the nations. And he always provides his sheep with good shepherds, pastors after his own heart, to feed them with knowledge and understanding.
Ahaz stands before us as a glaring example of the lost, depraved, hardened and wretched state of fallen humanity. How sin has reduced man! How it has robbed us! But, as we are forced here to think of fallen man’s sinfulness and worthlessness, let us adore God’s grace and his faithfulness. As soon as our father Adam fell and we fell in him, the Lord God promised redemption by his Son. To generation after generation the Lord God sent his faithful servants, like Obed and Isaiah, to keep alive the memory of his promised mercy, assuring his people that redemption was approaching and would appear in and be accomplished by Immanuel, a virgin’s child!
As we turn the page and read about the reign of Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah, we are again reminded that grace is not hereditary. Reprobate fathers sometimes have elect sons, and elect fathers often have reprobate sons. Hezekiah had it put into his heart by the Spirit of God to restore God’s worship to Israel and to restore Israel to God. He “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord…opened the doors of the house of the Lord…and carried forth the filthiness out of the holy place.”
His charge to the priests and Levites was a charge that every gospel preacher should take to himself as a charge from God. — “My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.” As we stand in God’s house preaching the gospel of Christ, let us be found faithful, knowing that as we serve his people, we “minister unto him” and “stand before him.”
Hezekiah’s cleansing of the temple reminds me of the gracious work of God the Holy Ghost in cleansing the hearts of chosen sinners by “the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5), washing “away the filth of the daughter of Zion with the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning” (Isaiah 4:4).
In the solemn service performed “according to the commandment of the Lord by his prophets,” everything pointed to our Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us as the Lamb of God. The sin-offering represented Christ our Savior who was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. The king and the people laid their hands upon the goats, ceremonially transferring their sins and their guilt to the innocent victim to be sacrificed. Blessed Spirit of God, let me never forget, not even for a moment, the thing here typified. — The Lord God really made all the sins and all the guilt of his people to be our Redeemer’s. — “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” — “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”