As I studied the book of Kings and Chronicles, I’m now at the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah who just took over the throne from Ahaz, his father, who worshipped idols and sacrificed his children in the fire. At this period, the northern kingdom of Israel has already been invaded by Assyria and the people have been forcefully displaced and scattered to lands far away from Israel, while Israel was being repopulated by people from other nations conquered by Assyria because of the sins of Israel in disobeying God, worshipping other gods and practicing sexual and moral impurity.
The state of Israel was very very bad. But then came along a king who resolved to bring all the people back to seek after God. This was to be Hezekiah, at 25 years of age, he sought to honour God and bring not just Judah but all Israel back to seek God. But to do that, he had to first walk steadfastly with God and have an intimate knowledge of His word.
The 1st thing that Hezekiah did on the 1st day of the 1st month of the 1st year of his reign(in short, immediately), was to call all the Levite priests together to consecrate themselves and consecrate the house of God and restore it back to order.
2 Chronicles 29:10 “Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that His burning anger may turn away from us. 11 “My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister to Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense.” (NASB)
As I read Hezekiah’s words to the priests, these words struct a deep chord in my heart. It was as if I could hear King Hezekiah speaking directly to me. It was then that I was reminded that in 2 Peter 2:8 as a believer I am called God’s “royal priesthood”. These were indeed words for me, that I needed to hear, know and act upon in obedience.
do not be negligent –
the hebrew word means “to be at ease”, “being quiet”. Basically all comfortable and snuggled up, having no impact or influence in the lives of people around you or the society about you to speak of. Taking reassurance in the security of my daily routine or being comfortable of not doing what I’m suppose to be doing after a while of ignoring it. A few examples i could think of were, obeying the great commission of evangelism and discipleship to the world, unceasing prayer and quiet time, diligence in studying the word of God. But most importantly to sum it all up, I felt that “obeying every word of God” was difficult and sometimes I can become negligent in it after a while of not making it my priority to obey.
the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him –
Can I even begin to understand what it means to be chosen by God to stand before Him? To be chosen out of billions of people whose lives are eventually as the Bible says like “chaff” or a “mist”(blown away in an instant, gone in a flash), by a God who exists from eternity to eternity, who spoke and all things came to be, who spread the stars out in the night sky and set their courses above. How tall an order for a man! Except to bow down and worship and desire to withdraw from the presence of God lest I be consumed for being a man of unclean lips(Isa 6:5), can there be any other response? Yet, I don’t frequently find myself in such an understanding of my God. May God have mercy on me.
In light of this truth, my testimony unto all man is highly important. What do I wish to be known for? A man just like any other man? Or a man of godly charactor, integrity, unwavering in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation? Just like Hezekiah, who was willing to stand up to the truth of God’s word and zealous of honouring Him despite the scorn and mockery he got from telling people to follow him in worshipping God. I think my decision here is easy, though the path is much more difficult. No pain no gain… without much trial and testing, I cannot be refined as gold.
to minister to Him and to be His ministers –
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire. (NASB)
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (KJV)
By calling us into salvation, God has called us into serving Him! From these verses what was most direct to me was that to be saved, Scripture presents us no other option really but to serve God. And not just ministering to God, but we are to be His ministers – to His people and to the world! Other then being called to serve God, we are also called to serve man. To point people back to our God and His message to all men in the Bible.
Every Christian is gifted and called to ministry. -John MacArthur
burn incense –
To burn incense to God. What does it mean?
Psalm 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (KJV)
- Revelations 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. (KJV)
Incense was God’s metaphor in the tabarnacle to signify prayer! It’s a timely reminder again and again to get out of my laurels and negligence and devote myself to burning incense(okay, prayer)! In all things pray! Prayer as much a part of my life as breathing is. A natural response to any circumstance! That’s what God is telling me.
I pray, what God has taught me this week will have spoken to you as directly as it felt to me. Every believer a part of the royal priesthood, called out from darkness to live a life of worship and service to our King. At 25 years of age, Hezekiah was a great leader for God. Often, it makes me wonder at 23 years of age, what am I for the Lord? Is it time to step out of negligence and step into a life that is yielded to be used by God mightily? If yes, am I aware and fully prepared for the cost of dying to self, picking up the cross and following after Jesus?
p.s. If you’re are keen to study the word of God for yourself and see it mold and change your life with great power, do join us (I say this because the whole team is in it 😛 ) on Monday nights, Precepts Class at 7.45pm. -okay, there ends my advert.