In one of the Bible’s “new years,” 2 Chronicles 29:3 records of Hezekiah, “In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them” (ESV).
At first glance, this may seem like simple maintenance, but further study shows that opening and repairing these doors was a significant statement in light of who preceded him as king—his father Ahaz, one of Judah’s most wicked kings.
Ahaz forsook the ways of David, worshipped the Baals, and even sacrificed some of his sons (2 Chronicles 28:1–4). In response, God punished Judah through the hands of multiple nations (2 Chronicles 28:5–21). Instead of turning to God, Ahaz sacrificed to the gods of the Syrians, destroyed the temple vessels, and shut the temple doors (2 Chronicles 28:22–27).
Hezekiah was not like his father. “He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him” (2 Kings 18:5 ESV). Not only did he repair the temple and restore its worship, but he also reinstated the Passover, restored the temple’s storerooms, and saw God answer his prayer to deliver Judah from the mighty Assyrians (2 Chronicles 29–32).
Looking back to his first month and first year, we see Hezekiah as an example in multiple ways for how we might live out the coming year:
First, he obeyed the word of the Lord. 2 Chronicles 29:2 states, “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done” (ESV).
Second, he took initiative. He started his reforms “in the first year of his reign, in the first month” (2 Chronicles 29:3 ESV).
Third, he overcame
obstacles. Though his father Ahaz once shut them, Hezekiah “opened the
doors” (2 Chronicles 29:3 ESV).
Fourth, he acknowledged the problems of the past. 2 Chronicles 29:4–9 records his admission that those before him had sinned.
Fifth, he recommitted himself to the Lord. 2 Chronicles 29:10–11 records that it was in his heart to make a covenant with the Lord. This covenant is probably just a renewal of commitment to obey the law of Moses.
Sixth, he influenced others for good (29:12–30). He led the Levites to cleanse the house of the Lord and the priests to cleanse the Holy of Holies (2 Chronicles 29:12–19). The temple was then used for worship (2 Chronicles 26:20–30).
Seventh, Hezekiah attributed his success to God. Among the many sacrifices given, thank offerings were part of Judah’s worship in 2 Chronicles 29:31–36. Hezekiah thanked God for what He had done.
It was said of Hezekiah, “there was none like him,” and his first month and year were like no other. If you follow Hezekiah’s example, what might this coming year hold for you?