Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Under New Management

Face 2 the Wall
Under New Management
2 Chronicles 29

What do you do when you’re back is to the wall?

“About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.’” When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD,”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭38:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬
We are looking at the life and decisions of King Hezekiah in the Old Testament.

Last week, we looked at him in contrast to his father, King Ahaz, so that we could set a foundation for our discussion.

We saw that King Hezekiah had a trend of surrendering to God when hard times and hard decisions came his way. 

His father did everything he could to run from God and ended up closing down the temple in Jerusalem because of his bad decisions. 

But there is a new king in town in 2 Chronicles 29...

2 Chronicles 29 New Living Translation (NLT)
Hezekiah Rules in Judah
1 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done.

Today, we are going to look at the very first moments of Hezekiah’s reign in Judah. Starting in verse 3...

Hezekiah Reopens the Temple
3 In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple of the Lord and repaired them. 4 He summoned the priests and Levites to meet him at the courtyard east of the Temple. 5 He said to them, “Listen to me, you Levites! Purify yourselves, and purify the Temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary. 6 Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God. They abandoned the Lord and his dwelling place; they turned their backs on him. 7 They also shut the doors to the Temple’s entry room, and they snuffed out the lamps. They stopped burning incense and presenting burnt offerings at the sanctuary of the God of Israel.
8 “That is why the Lord’s anger has fallen upon Judah and Jerusalem. He has made them an object of dread, horror, and ridicule, as you can see with your own eyes. 9 Because of this, our fathers have been killed in battle, and our sons and daughters and wives have been captured. 10 But now I will make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer! The Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him, and to lead the people in worship and present offerings to him.”

Hezekiah’s very first initiative as king was to reverse what his father, King Ahaz did.

He opened and repaired the doors so that people could come in again.
He reinstated the Levites to clear out and care for the Temple and the worshippers who came in.

Look at verse 7 again...
7 They also shut the doors to the Temple’s entry room, and they snuffed out the lamps. They stopped burning incense and presenting burnt offerings at the sanctuary of the God of Israel.

This verse paints a bleak picture of what the once thriving Temple of God had been reduced to. 

This was the same temple that Solomon dedicated to the Lord with a rare appearance of the Shekinah glory in attendance.

This was the same temple that had been the center of the universe for every Israelite in the kingdom for many years, but now it sits covered in cob-webs and filth. Dark and dank.

What does a dusty, broken down temple have to do with us?

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:19-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We are the temple
We bear the responsibility when our lives are in disrepair or suffering from neglect and indifference.

Like King Ahaz, many of us have closed the doors to our relationship with God. Many of us have turned the lights out on that place in our heart that still carries His presence. Still more of us have become indifferent to the fact that we are meant to be living temples, displaying the presence and power of God wherever we go!
How do we reverse the damage that has been done to our temple?

Look at verse 15...

15 These men called together their fellow Levites, and they all purified themselves. Then they began to cleanse the Temple of the Lord, just as the king had commanded. They were careful to follow all the Lord’s instructions in their work. 16 The priests went into the sanctuary of the Temple of the Lord to cleanse it, and they took out to the Temple courtyard all the defiled things they found. From there the Levites carted it all out to the Kidron Valley.

Under New Management
It’s almost like King Hezekiah put a HUGE banner across the front of the temple saying, this temple is “UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT”

The best thing that could happen to Judah happened when the temple came under new management!

The best thing that will ever happen to you is when your heart, your life comes under new management.

There are four things we must do to bring our temple, our lives, under new management and they are found in vs. 11...

Come in (from the outside)
“The Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence…”

The levites and congregation couldn’t stand in His presence until they repaired the doors of the temple.

The doors were broken which made it impossible for anyone to go in or out. Because the doors were broken, it was impossible to stand in the Lord’s presence so the only way they could come in from the outside was if they did two things:
  1. Repair the doors
  2. Clear the junk out

Think about it...the temple was filled with junk that kept it from fulfilling it’s purpose because the junk took up all the room that the levites and congregation were meant to fill. So the levites began the process of restoring it and clearing it out.

“...Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary.”

Cardinal sin: Trampling through the house with mud.

  • “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his holy prophets.”
    ‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭3:19-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Look up
...to minister to him

  • “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.”
    ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:15-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Focusing on what God wants causes us to lose our selfishness.

Don't make your faith about you.

Ask yourself whether your faith plan truly ministers to God.

Reach out
“...to lead the people in worship”

How do you worship?
  • “David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the LORD —to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel.”
    ‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Reach out from the inside

  • “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.”
    ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:22-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Others should want to honor the God you honor.

Live Face Down
“...and present offerings to him.”

The people’s offerings to God required them worship face down.

They recognized God as their source and their offerings helped them live a life of humility before Him.

This posture of worship is something that we desperately need to practice with our hearts as we come to God.

If you want to avoid a face to the wall experience, keep your face to the ground.

" A clean heart is a free heart."
~Mother Teresa

If you want to bring your life under new management, pray this prayer today...

"Jesus, I need you to come and sweep through my life. Help me clear out the clutter and junk. Heal the brokenness in the temple of my heart and come, live in me. I want to know your presence and feel you near in the place of the distance and awkwardness I feel between us now. I humble myself with my face to the ground so that I won't have to live with my back against the wall anymore. Give me a fresh start, in Jesus name. Amen"

If you prayed that prayer today, I would love to know! Email me at adamsrescue1@gmail.com and let me know what God did in your life today!