Have you ever read about Hezekiah taking the trash out of the temple? I love this portion of Scripture.
Hezekiah knew how to get rid of the unholiness in the temple (2 Chron. 29:3-16).
When King Ahaz ruled, his tenacious mission consisted of destroying and removing all things holy. He turned away from his religious heritage and built heathen altars to worship Baal and Molech, which he did by sacrificing his firstborn son by throwing him into the fire.
When it came to the temple in Jerusalem, short of pulverizing it, he rummaged through it, gave away its treasures, removed all the sacred utensils, and bolted its doors.
After his death, his son Hezekiah, obviously not the firstborn, was made king. In the first month of his reign, he called all the Levites and priests back into service. He then reopened the temple doors and repaired them.
After he commanded the Levites and priests to cleanse themselves, he told them to cleanse and purify the house of Jehovah and to “carry out the filth from the Holy Place.” (2 Chron. 29:5 AMPC) The Message version states it this way, “Give this much-defiled place a good housecleaning.”
What did they find when they entered the temple?
* The court permeated with trash and vermin.
* The altars absent of their aroma of burnt offerings for sin and for worship.
* The sweet smell of the incense of prayers dissipated.
* The laver’s bowl depleted of its last drop of water.
* The table emptied of its fellowship of sacred bread, the crumbs carried off by rats.
* The lamps stood cold and dark, doused by an evil blast of air.
* The vessels of service no longer adorned the veiled recesses.
The house of God had been ransacked, stripped of its illumination, revelation, and glory.
Haven’t we all done the same thing at times to God’s temple within us? We permit looters to ransack and haul off His precious treasures from our hearts; we slam the door shut and bar His presence, allowing the world’s trash to accumulate and quenching the Holy Spirit by dousing His light.
We disregard the well of Living Water, letting it go unattended and dry up. We acquiesce to the snatching of the Bread-Word right off the sacred table by the rat-enemy. We ignore burning the sweet incense of prayer or offering the sacrifice of praise, leaving our altar empty.
After the Levites and priests made a thorough housecleaning, they took all the debris from the temple to the Brook Kidron to be washed away.
Are our housecleaning efforts exhaustive enough to rid ourselves of all the unwanted trash in our lives? Have we taken the debris and dumped it in the stream of God’s forgiveness, to be washed away forever, never to be fished out again?
When all had been cleansed, including the people, Hezekiah told the people to bring their sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord. So, the house was returned to its holy order.
God fills each of us with His holiness through Christ’s salvation. However, the upkeep of holiness depends solely on us. Do we keep our lives clean and trash free? Having junk in our lives displeases the Lord. So, let’s be diligent to route out all unholiness in our lives and to take out the trash!
Holiness is not an option, for, without it, the writer of Hebrews says, “Seek to live a clean and holy life, for one who is not holy will not see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14 TLB)
Let us all be Hezekiahs! May our hearts be so averse to the slightest thought of unholiness that we constantly keep our temples in holy order.