In order for priests and Levites to devote their energy to the law of the Lord, King Hezekiah told the others to give a tenth of their blessings to bless those set apart by God to serve in these distinct ways. Look what happened. When Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord and his people Israel. And Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites about the heaps. Here’s the answer King Hezekiah received: “Since they began to bring the contributions into the house of the Lord, we have eaten and had enough and have plenty left, for the Lord has blessed his people, so that we have this large amount left.”
Have you ever received a heap of blessings? Sometimes our eyes are not even open to see the heap. Other times we see God’s goodness and blessings all over the situation. Let’s keep our eyes open and focused, and offer up the blessing of thanksgiving to God when our heaps are before us. And from our blessings let us bless others. Joy overflowing!
2 Chronicles 31:8-9, 10b ESV
At this point in history, God’s people lived in a sinful state no matter which nation they were in. Injustice, idolatry, pride, greed, immoral self-indulgence and arrogance ruled the day. And then there was the sin that all of this behavior could be rationalized as they went through the religious motions even though their hearts were far from God. Did they think that God is blind? Do we? The prophets continued to warn the people and they experienced God’s holy anger. Some people repented and were rescued, and praise was offered to God for His deliverance.
The reforming King Hezekiah offered hope, and spiritual renewal began to take place, as the Temple was again used to honor God. Invitations to celebrate the Passover were extended beyond Jerusalem to all of Israel. Then the priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard their voice, and their prayer came into His holy dwelling place in heaven. Oh, what joy there is when individuals and whole nations return to the Lord! Back then some people lived as if they could handle life just fine on their own. They were wrong. All people at all times have needs that cannot be fully satisfied apart from God.
We need right relationships, not rationalization. Let’s not be deceived and kept from life that is full and abundant and dependent upon God. When we realize God is the One who can, and will, meet our needs and we humbly turn to Him, joy and deep peace like never before can be ours.
P.S. The depth of our knowledge of God can grow. We do not need to be stagnant in our relationship with Him. Russell’s teaching called Essentials for Responsible Christian Growth shows how simple faith has deep implications. I’m so blessed to be able to see the joy-filled outcomes. We grow, often through hard situations, as God cares about our spiritual renewal.
2 Chronicles 30:27 HCSB
We have discovered that somewhere along the journey of leading Israel as their third king, Solomon took his eyes off God. One thousand marriage partners was not enough, and tragically Solomon’s disobedient choices had grave consequences for himself and for Israel after him. The large nation that began with Abraham was now divided in two: the Northern Kingdom, which was still called Israel; and the Southern Kingdom, Judah. Peace became a rare thing; outside kingdoms attacked the newly divided kingdom with a vengeance, and even Israel and Judah fought against each other.
Fear, instability and destruction continued for generations. When Judah’s fourth king, Jehoshaphat, heard that three mighty armies had joined to fight Judah, he knew his people were in grave danger. He also knew idols could not save them; they needed God. King Jehoshaphat begged for the Lord’s guidance and called his people to fast. After the king’s prayer, the Lord spoke and the people of Judah obeyed. The enemies would have won if not for God’s intervention. The Lord fought this battle and not one enemy escaped. With singing and great praise to God, it took Judah over three days to collect all of the valuable plunder. On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. All glory went to the Lord, and news of this event spread. And for a while everyone, God’s enemies as well as those who trusted Him, were in awe of God.
2 Chronicles 20:26a NLT