2 Chronicles 29:18-36 – Saying that God Does Not Exist Does Not Make Him Not Exist!

Posted: October 19, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 29:18-36

Hezekiah Reopens the Temple

Opening Illustration/Comments

Yesterday (Sunday), I preached on the first two commandments of the Ten Commandments. In these commandments, we find that we are (1) to have no other gods before the one and only true God and (2) we shall not bow down and worship graven images. It means that we are to place God as the first and only top priority in our lives. Nothing else should take His rightful sovereign place over our lives not should we be tied down to, or worship things instead of Him.

When we put God and worshiping Him as the top priority in our lives we understand that it is He who defines right and wrong. It is He who defines sin. It is He who is perfect and holy. It is not ours to decide what is right and wrong for us. It is not ours to decide whether or not we deserve to go to heaven or not. He is the Sovereign Ruler of the universe – no other gods are real. He is the only One. He is the one and only true God. Therefore, with Him being God, He is the one that decides what holiness is and who meets that standard such that we can exist with Him in heaven. He sets the standards that we must meet. We do not define it. He states that we must keep His law 100% of the time for the entirety of our lives. Any violation of His holiness code condemns us to impurity and unholiness and thus disqualifies us forever from existing in communion with God in heaven when we die. It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God Himself in the flesh, acting as the Son, on the cross, the shedding of His blood, that reconciles us to God. It is only through belief that Jesus Christ was indeed God in the flesh, that He died on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins, and that He arose from the dead that we can receive His perfect holiness and thus exist with God in heaven.

We may think that belief in Jesus Christ is just an option among many. But simply put, all other belief systems are false. Even if we day we do not believe in any of the historically rooted systems of belief, we do believe in something to guide our lives. Even those who profess to believe that there is nothing to believe in believe in something. Usually, all belief systems, even humanism and atheism are belief systems, tend toward trying to become the best version of ourselves. It usually involves a very self-centered approach to me becoming better and better as a person – that we think higher and more altruistic thoughts and express those in our lives. It’s all about doing more good than bad so that we can be satisfied with ourselves. That leaves us free to go do pretty much as we please including acquiring things that are the status symbols of a blessed life of being a good person. However, God tells us through His Word that we cannot be more good than bad. And it this Sovereign God that says that we cannot exist with Him if we have sinned – no matter how much good we have done. One sin disqualifies us from His perfect and holy presence, much less the lifetime of sins that we commit. It’s not about offsets, because we sin every day and the pile of evidence of sin is a skyscraper in comparison to the one story building of good things we do in a lifetime. It’s not about the good things we do. It’s about the sins we commit that make us unholy. Doing good does not remove the sins we commit. Thus, in order to exist in God’s presence in heaven there must be a sacrifice for sin the covers us. Jesus completed the sacrificial system established way back with Moses. Jesus was the once and final sacrifice for sin. All other sin offerings, blood sacrifices, were imperfect animals born in an imperfect world. These imperfect sacrifices had to be repeated annual because though cute and cuddly lambs, they were not on the measure of perfection with Jesus. Jesus, since He is not a created being from a sin-filled world, was able to live the perfect life and be the perfect once and final sacrifice for sin. It’s only in Him that we have a chance.

What are we believing in? What are we putting in the top drawer priority in our lives? Do we worship something other than God? Do we worship that which we create in our own minds so that it makes it easier to reconcile who we are with our own definition of heaven? Man has tried to do that throughout history. Get rid of the real God in favor that which stacks the deck for us so that we can qualify for heaven. It’s like the inmates running the asylum for us. We don’t want there to be a God external to us who defines right and wrong and defines the consequences of sin. We want to define for ourselves what qualifies ourselves for heaven. As such, we create our own gods with our own definitions of right and wrong and what qualifies for heaven and, so, make it easier on ourselves.

I am here to tell you that it does not work that way. Sorry! God is external to us. He is sovereign. He is the one who defines right and wrong. He is the one who sets the standards. He is the supreme being and we are His subjects. Hezekiah, here in this passage, is saying just that. He is saying that we have been worshiping the wrong things. Just because we decide for ourselves to worship other things does not take away the fact that God is still God and that He is still sovereign over us. Hezekiah says let’s wake up and return to Him.

It is that idea of God being Sovereign over us whether we want to believe that or not is what I thought of this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 29:18-36. Let us read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

18 Then the Levites went to King Hezekiah and gave him this report: “We have cleansed the entire Temple of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table of the Bread of the Presence with all its utensils. 19 We have also recovered all the items discarded by King Ahaz when he was unfaithful and closed the Temple. They are now in front of the altar of the Lord, purified and ready for use.”

20 Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials and went to the Temple of the Lord. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, and seven male lambs as a burnt offering, together with seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the Temple, and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, to sacrifice the animals on the altar of the Lord.

22 So they killed the bulls, and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. Next they killed the rams and sprinkled their blood on the altar. And finally, they did the same with the male lambs. 23 The male goats for the sin offering were then brought before the king and the assembly of people, who laid their hands on them. 24 The priests then killed the goats as a sin offering and sprinkled their blood on the altar to make atonement for the sins of all Israel. The king had specifically commanded that this burnt offering and sin offering should be made for all Israel.

25 King Hezekiah then stationed the Levites at the Temple of the Lord with cymbals, lyres, and harps. He obeyed all the commands that the Lord had given to King David through Gad, the king’s seer, and the prophet Nathan. 26 The Levites then took their positions around the Temple with the instruments of David, and the priests took their positions with the trumpets.

27 Then Hezekiah ordered that the burnt offering be placed on the altar. As the burnt offering was presented, songs of praise to the Lord were begun, accompanied by the trumpets and other instruments of David, the former king of Israel. 28 The entire assembly worshiped the Lord as the singers sang and the trumpets blew, until all the burnt offerings were finished. 29 Then the king and everyone with him bowed down in worship. 30 King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to praise the Lord with the psalms written by David and by Asaph the seer. So they offered joyous praise and bowed down in worship.

31 Then Hezekiah declared, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, bring your sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings to the Temple of the Lord.” So the people brought their sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings, too. 32 The people brought to the Lord 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 male lambs for burnt offerings. 33 They also brought 600 cattle and 3,000 sheep and goats as sacred offerings.

34 But there were too few priests to prepare all the burnt offerings. So their relatives the Levites helped them until the work was finished and more priests had been purified, for the Levites had been more conscientious about purifying themselves than the priests had been. 35 There was an abundance of burnt offerings, along with the usual liquid offerings, and a great deal of fat from the many peace offerings.

So the Temple of the Lord was restored to service. 36 And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had done for the people, for everything had been accomplished so quickly.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that Hezakiah reinstituted the Temple, its priests, and all of the rituals of the Temple. In that rededication of the Temple, we are reminded of that the blood sprinkled on represented the innocence of the sacrificed animal taking the place of the person making the offering. The animal died so the so the sinner could live. Even though the Law does mention some cleansing rites apart from sacrifice (for example, Num. 19:11–12), we must remember that once a year, on the Day of Atonement, blood was offered for the sins of the entire nation (Lev. 16).

As such, all of the cleansing rites of the old covenant were of interim importance under the absolute necessity of a blood sacrifice once every year. Likewise, the grain offerings that in some cases could atone for sin were ultimately effectual only because of this annual, “bloody” event. The shedding of blood was absolutely necessary for atonement under the old covenant, and, as we are to infer from these verses, death is also absolutely necessary for atonement in the new covenant. The importance of the blood sacrifices in the Old Testament sacrificial system looked forward to the day when Jesus Christ, God in the flesh acting in the Godhead function of the Son, would complete the sacrificial system. Jesus, as God’s perfect son, would sacrifice His innocent life on the cross in order that the sinful and guilty human race might be spared the just and rightful punishment we deserve before a perfect and holy God.

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that there is only one true God and He is sovereign over us. His Word defines how we should relate to Him. We must learn that just because we may not believe He exists does not make Him cease existing. Do not spend your life thinking that you can just out-good all your bad stuff. Don’t spend your life worshiping the wrong things – the things that you self-define as being worthy of worship, and that you self-define that make you a good enough person to reach heaven. Don’t spend your life on that bet that an external God who created the world and defines His relationship with us does not exist. Just because you believe He does not exist does not make Him stop existing. He is real and He is the One who defines what qualifies us for heaven. It is only through Christ that we qualify for heaven and nothing else. Let us wake up and return to God just like Hezekiah was trying to do with the people of Judah in this passage.

Amen and Amen.

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