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Keys to Experiencing God: Return to the Lord

The writer of 2 Kings gives King Hezekiah of Judah (715–686 B.C.) very high marks. His works are favorably compared to King David, his ancestor. He is credited with sweeping reforms of Judah’s temple worship. He restored the Passover celebration and it was such a time of joy that 2 Chronicles 30:26 records, “Since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.”

King Hezekiah made an invitation, to the entire nation to return to the Lord, not to be stiff-necked, and receive forgiveness. How did he do it? How did he pull off this revival?

We can find the way to revival from what he said about his predecessor, king Ahaz. He makes four statements that describe life for anybody who is in a backslidden condition and needs a revival.

First, the doors were shot to the place of worship.  There was no church attendance.

Second, Scripture says that the lamps were put out, a symbolism meaning that the light of the Word of God and the Spirit of God were excluded.

Third, there was no incense. Incense in the Old Testament pictures the prayers of the people of God as they ascend to the throne of God. Prayer was gone.

Fourth, the burnt offerings were also gone.  In the Old Testament system of offerings and sacrifices, the burnt offerings represented the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  There was no longer any dwelling on a personal God.

Hezekiah inherited a mess. The people were backslidden; the nation had lost its spiritual moorings.

What’s interesting is that every great revival begins with one person who is willing to humbly approach God with an open heart. The revival in the Samaritan village started with the heart of one woman who had seen Jesus at the well. It was one man, Peter, who stirred 3,000 to revival in the book of Acts. Martin Luther shook up Europe. George Whitefield brought revival and healing to both England and America. It’s Hezekiah who brought revival to Judah and it spread to Israel.

The point is that God uses men and women someplace to begin an awakening.

How do they do it? With all of their heart.

2 Chronicles 31:21 says, “And in every good work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.”

Hezekiah approached God with all of his heart. He approached him humbly, openly, and prayerfully. He also approached Him with intensity and urgency.

Henry Blackaby summarized Hezekiah’s revival and wrote, “This was a call to worship, but not everyone wanted to honor the Lord. Detractors scorned and ridiculed the messengers. Others however, humbled themselves and gathered to worship. And “the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 30:12). Hezekiah prayed for the people, “And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people” (2 Chronicles 30:20). When God’s people repented of their sin and worshipped Him, the covenant relationship of love was reestablished.”[1]

Humility and prayer lead to repentance that leads to revival. Let’s clean out whatever is in the way in our lives and humbly seek God in repentance. Then, let’s pray for this nation and revival.

[1] Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby, Claude King, Fresh Encounter: God’s Pattern for Spiritual Awakening, (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2009), 74

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