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HEZEKIAH'S WORK OF REFORMATION
When Hezekiah had taken positive action to give God His true place of authority in the Passover feast, he rightly followed this up with the negative work of destroying the idolatrous pillars, images, high places and altars that had been introduced by earlier kings. The many people who had been present for the Passover carded out this destruction in the Cities of Judah, but also in Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh (v.1) before returning to their own property.
Then Hezekiah restored the priests and Levites to their proper places and their proper work according to the divisions appointed for them by the law of Moses, to cake care of the sacrifices of burnt offerings and peace offerings, to serve and to give thanks and to praise in the gates of the house of the Lord (v.2). He also appointed a part of his possessions to be provided as burnt offerings, whether for the morning and evening or for the sabbaths, new moons and set feasts, as was prescribed in the law (v.3).
Notice the emphasis placed on the burnt offering. This was totally for God, all going up in fire to Him, indicating the value of the sacrifice of Christ to God Himself, for God has been perfectly glorified in that sacrifice, apart from all the blessing we may have received.
The people had apparently not been taught that the Levites depended on their support for the service they performed in the temple. Hezekiah therefore took notice of this and commanded the people of Jerusalem to contribute to the support of the Levites, so that they could devote themselves to their proper service. When this order was circulated the people were quick to respond, for Hezekiah's personal devotion to the Lord had very real influence on them. They brought in grain, wine, oil and honey and other produce in abundance (v, 5). When people's hearts were affected by the truth of God, tithes were not considered a hardship. Under grace there is no commandment given to tithe, but since we are infinitely blessed by the sacrifice of Christ for us, our giving is to be voluntary and spontaneous. "Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Others of the children of Israel (outside of Jerusalem) brought tithes of oxen and sheep and of other holy things that were consecrated to the Lord (v.6). These holy things they had laid in heaps, so that at the end of four summer months of gathering, there was a great over-abundance. When Hezekiah and other leaders of Judah came to view the heaps, they were so impressed as to gladly bless the Lord and the people also (vv.7-8).
Azariah the chief priest told Hezekiah of the abundance remaining after the Levites had been sufficed, so that Hezekiah ordered them to prepare rooms in the house of the Lord in which to store the offerings (v.11). How good it is to read that "they faithfully brought in the offerings, the tithes and the dedicated things" (v.12). The Lord delights in recording the names of the twelve faithful men who did this.
One official, Kore, was appointed to take charge of the freewill offerings and their distribution, and under him six assistants who are called "faithful" (vv.14-15). Even males as young as three years were included in the distribution of these offerings, though of course the priests who served were required to be 20 years or older (vv.16-17). But the families of the Levites were all entitled to the support of the freewill offerings (v.18).
Also, there were men designated to distribute portions to the sons of Aaron the priests in the fields and common lands surrounding the cities (v.19). Thus Hezekiah was diligent to see that nothing was neglected in the work of the Lord to provide for the people what was right and good. It is a precious commendation that he did every good work in the service of the house of God with all his heart. Therefore he prospered greatly (v.21).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 31". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany