Credit to Whom Credit is Due

I have learned so much while studying the life of Hezekiah. I know that some would quickly dismiss the life of Hezekiah as “boring old history.” But in reality, it is anything but boring. I have been fascinated to see once again, God’s hand at work in the lives of his chosen ones.

Here’s one of the things God showed me during my study of the life of Hezekiah:

In today’s terminology, Hezekiah would be described as a go-getter, a doer not a dreamer, a real nose to the grindstone kind of guy. And all those descriptions would be accurate because Hezekiah was clearly a man on a mission – in every sense of that phrase.

I was excited to see that Hezekiah didn’t cautiously get himself adjusted to his new position as king. No, he got down to business, God’s business, right away. The temple was more than non-functional; it was, in fact, a disaster. Hezekiah’s father had essentially disassembled the holy instruments and remodeled the temple to something unrecognizable by biblical standards.

Second Chronicles 29 gets into the description of Hezekiah’s actions as quickly as Hezekiah apparently did: It gives us two verses of introduction to the new king, then verse three tells us that in the first month of the first year of His reign, Hezekiah opened the doors of the temple and began the repairs and consecration. But, since verse three is a summary statement, it might be easy to underestimate the quickness with which Hezekiah actually got to work. It is from 2 Chronicles 29:17 we learn that it was on the first day of Hezekiah’s first month in office that the consecration began. Wow! Talk about a quick starter.

The process of consecration was more than saying a quick hocus-pocus formula, splashing a little holy water and poof things were back in order. No, it was a physical process of removing and replacing all the unclean things that were found in the temple of the LORD and replacing them with the proper instruments. All of those unclean items were brought out to the temple courtyard, and from there the Levites carried them into the Kidron Valley for disposal.

After 16 days of hard labor at an apparently feverish pitch, the temple had been restored and was ready for re-dedication. Early the next morning, King Hezekiah, accompanied by the city officials, made his way to the temple to make a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary and for Judah. The animals were sacrificed in their particular order, and the sanctuary was restored.

Clearly, this is only a summary of that day’s activities; and it’s intentionally brief so that I can get to the main point of this post, which is this: Without question, King Hezekiah labored diligently, both in a personal sense and as a leader of leaders. His efforts were clearly honored by the LORD, but notice how the chapter ends: “So the service of the temple of the LORD was reestablished. Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly (2 Chronicles 29:35-36).”

They rejoiced at what God had done. Yes, Hezekiah led the restoration labors and God got the credit.

Now, some will think I’m making much ado about nothing. But, I’m really not, and here’s why: In the circles I come from, it is quite common to hear of a man (and his wife) who went somewhere and started with nothing, and after a lifetime of labor, there stands a church, usually a large church, that wasn’t there when they arrived so many years prior.

Upon his retirement, the accolades generally follow this pattern: “Brother Church Builder came out here when he and the misses were barely old enough to get married. They started with just a handful of people, married the young, buried the old, and faithfully preached the gospel. They gave their lives here, and now, all these years later, look at the church that Brother Church Builder built.”

I’m sure that such kind words are never intended to rob God of His credit, but my question is this: Do they?

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