ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
August 1, 2003
A STUDY OF HEZEKIAH AND ZEDEKIAH
II Chronicles 29-32,36
Hezekiah literally hit the ground running after the death of Ahaz and the spiritual deprivation which characterized his administration and reign. Spiritual acuity in Hezekiah was diametrically opposed to the lethargy of his predecessor. The Chronicler speeded past his genealogy to assert his righteousness and show how it manifested itself the first month of his regime.
At 29, he knew that spiritual matters were at the heart of the national problem.
In the first year of his reign, the first month, he opened the doors Of the house of the Lord and repaired them. II Chron. 29:3
Notice the sequence and scope of his actions. As king, he demanded the Levites to make themselves holy and the house of God Holy. (This is what must take place in 2003.) "...carry out the rubbish from the holy place." (The vestiges of a dead worship must GO!)
As the national figurehead, he confessed the sins of the fathers and based his administration upon repentance in the inner man. vs. 6-10. "Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us."
Continuing to address the religious leadership, he encouraged them to be what God had called them to be. "My sons, do not be negligent now. II Chron. 29:11) (What a wonderful message could be developed from this text for any meeting of clergy and leadership--any convention or gathering.)
The leadership took the challenge. They gathered brethren, sanctified themselves, cleansed the temple and sanctified it. They took "the articles which King Ahaz in his reign had cast aside in his transgression." (Reflect on what has been cast aside spiritually by this generation [begin with tears, repentance, fear of the Lord, mourning for sin and a burden for the lost].)
When restoration of the ministry TO GOD began, the songs of David and Aseph began.
"So they sang praises with gladness and they bowed their heads and worshipped."
What followed is the textual fodder of many a televangelist...an offering...a "willing heart" offering (This would be the starting text for most messages today.).
Note, verse 23 says,"the sanctified priests were too few." (A cogent commentary on the leadership of today...if ministry qualification was based on sanctification, thousands would go without a message next Sunday!) Such is the prerequisite to hearing "the house of the Lord was set in order."
One message was sent from the king, Repent! That message is now being sent from the King,who is mightier than Hezekiah. II Chron. 30: 5 "They resolved to make a proclamation throughout Israel." The proclamation message was simple: (1) Don't be like you fathers; (2) Do not be stiff-necked; (3) serve the Lord. (Wouldn't it be nice to hear these three points from a pulpit?) This exhortation was based on the principle that "God is gracious and merciful and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him v.9"
The proclamation met with laughter and mockery by the majority, but a sacred few heard the message and responded because "the hand of God was on Judah to GIVE them singleness of heart to do the commandment of the king and the leaders, at the word of the Lord." (Better to have a congregation of this kind, than a huge crowd of the other kind.) When these single-hearted folks were confronted with the truth...they repented. "There were many in the congregation who had not sanctified themselves."
The king prayed for them...(Imagine a prayer of national repentance...how should it begin?). The Lord listened to the prayer of Hezekiah! (That is the litmus of prayer) and He healed the people."
When healing starts, so starts the confessing (v.22) among the people. When the people start confessing, it forces the clergy and church leaders to get right! When they get right, they can bless the people. (Today an unhealed leadership speaks to an unhealed congregation about how to live in a world of the unhealed...and has the audacity to call it a blessing!)
A cleansed clergy makes effective prayer (Their prayer came up to His Holy dwelling place v.27).
An atmosphere of repentance broke out everywhere as men and women got honest with God about their lives. "For in their faithfulness they sanctified themselves in holiness (II Chron. 31:19)." (Alas, today there must be such an atmosphere--where repentance is the norm and healing is the common.)
Hezekiah did not stand aloof in his political arena, "he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God v. 20." " He did it with all his heart v. 21"
Adversity came upon him in the form of Sennacherib, but his prayer for deliverance was answered by angels. "Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the Hand of all others, and guided them on every side. (v. 22)" The scripture summarizes his life with: "Hezekiah prospered in all his works. (v.30)."
After the scriptural interim of Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin, one is introduced to Zedekiah, who arrived in power at a younger age than Hezekiah. Scripture points to three errors: (1) He did evil in the sight of the Lord; (2) He did not honor the prophet or the Word of the Lord and (3) He stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord God of Israel.
The atmosphere of his day was not repentance, but selfish pursuit. "Moreover ALL the leaders of the priests and the people TRANSGRESSED more and more according to all the abominations of the nations, and defiled the house of the Lord which He had consecrated in Jerusalem."
Again, the Lord sent his message and his messengers with awesome appeal: REPENT! Alas, the mocking crowd (1) mocked the messengers of God; (2) despised His words ;(3) scoffed at His prophets...UNTIL (IIChron. 36:16).
How large looms that word UNTIL, for following it is a word no one wishes to hear in these last days--yet its phrase hangs in dark color above the unfaithful efforts of modern man's religious self pursuit. "Till there was no remedy v.16b)" Defiance is deafened before this screaming indictment. When the Lord has sent His final servant, His final prophet, His final appeal from his compassion and has taken His final look of longing upon His congregation...THEN God says what leadership cannot bear to speak for Him... "There is no remedy." Eclipsing this, there is no intercession strong enough, no prayer and weeping sorrowful enough, no cry pitiful enough to reach His ears. Subject closed, discussion over, time run out, appeals finished, all glimmer of hope distinguished, when those words are spoken. Would to God there would be one more of Hezekiah's prayers, one more time to hear a message about repentance and know that hope lay before it, one more song of Zion to lift the wounded heart and one more prophet's appeal before the altar of truth, one last flurry of Holy Ghost hovering, one more scripture to melt away the darling sin; but alas, the seal is set.
Before God and man, this prophet knows...Hezekiah's had his day...Zedekiah reigns!!!
This past week, a Pennsylvania farmer, Dean S., emailed to say that one morning he awoke to the strangest sight--his field had a huge Z cut in it. He prayed and found the Lord wished him to study about Zadok. He began and was soon introduced to a volume Entitled, "The Sons of Zadok." He ordered a copy. (Wonderfully strange)
Week before last, a lady emailed from Texas to say she walked into an establishment to take photographs...upon development the words ELI were situated above the merchandise, leading her to believe the message was for her. She had just finished the chapter on the ELI system. She sent a copy of the picture. (Wonderfully strange)
Mr.and Mrs. D, from Kerrville, Texas, earlier this year, felt impressed to invite me to attend a convention in Houston. Surprise, it was filled with Spanish language pastors. Tom C, an American living in Mexico was among those who received copies of Sons of Zadok to distribute to pastors. Last week, he came to visit and mentioned he was going back to hold a convention for many native pastors. All of you who have purchased books, paid for the 5 boxes of Sons of Zadok and the 4 boxes of Solomon's Secret. Be assured that whatever came as profit has been similarly turned to blessings. Thank you ever so much and know that you are somehow there in Mexico now....(Wonderfully strange).
Wendy writes: "Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Malachi are examples of the prophet-priest. They are known for their distinct concern for the Lord's holiness, offerings, sacrifices, and ministerial service. God usually dispatches them to ministers and those who handle the vessels and administrations of the Lord's temple and His earthly tabernacle, the church. These are prophets whose words heal the body, release its captives, and trigger the latent prophecies concerning the assembly that have been held up for various reasons and, as a result, are holding the church back. They turn the church back to its original purpose, revive its worship and re-establish its focus on the righteousness and holiness of God. In short, this type of prophet will challenge the church to return to its first love or be forever taken out of its place among candlesticks that the Lord Jesus showed His apostle that He patrols. Typically, this prophet inspires repentance, renewal and recommitment to the initial call and work of God in the local church." ( This is one email of hundreds that come almost daily from you, the beloved. My heartfelt thanks for all of you who follow the Lord in sending here a word, there a word, but always a word...Blessings.)
The Regal Pair regales at the press, awaiting its time.
Until Next Month,
Dr. C. R. Oliver, PhD.