In our previous post, we have shared that King Hezekiah made a resolve to lead the children of Israel back to God.

This resolve is important, as it was the reason why God blessed Hezekiah later on in his life. We have discuss the fact that God is often waiting for his child to turn back to him and he would never turn his back to his children.

We had also discussed the need to hold on to God and to grab hold of him. Hezekiah did so by cleansing the temple.

We had discussed that our bodies is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The temple that we must clean is none other than our own body. Now let us look at how do we cleanse our temple.

The Example of Peter, James and John

When Jesus performed a miracle before Peter, James and John  in Lk 5:1-11. We can see 2 groups of people with 2 different reaction to that same miracle.

Many were astonish at the fact that initially the fisherman toiled all night and caught nothing and now their catch is so huge that they need more than 1 boat to haul in the catch.

At the same time, we see Peter having a different reaction, he fell onto his knees before Jesus said said

“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” – Peter (Lk 5:8 )

His reactions would have leave us baffled. For shouldn’t he be happy that he is enjoying blessings given to him by Jesus? Why isn’t he glad that his boat was used by Jesus? Why wasn’t he rejoicing for he had followed Jesus who is so powerful?  Why is he so afraid?

In fact Lk 5:10 tells us that James and John were afraid as well. At this time, Jesus said to them

“Do not be afraid, from now on you will catch men” – Jesus (Lk 5:10)

From then on the disciples made a resolve, left their nets and followed Jesus .

Let us consider the reason they ask Jesus to depart from them.

Most probably when they first saw Jesus, they regarded him as a typical Rabbi, they did not believe that he is the Messiah until they see his power. That is when they realize that they have transgressed against Jesus. They realize their sin so they find themselves unworthy before his presence.

But despite their unworthiness, Jesus told them not to be afraid and to follow him. This is why they are grateful. They are people who see their own imperfections. 

To Cleanse The Temple Is To Realize Your Own Sin

Today if we encounter the same miracle, we will likewise be astonished. Imagine if now Jesus bless us and we no longer need to worry for our livelihood anymore.  Yet how many of us would be like Peter, James and John to recognized their own sin?

Indeed if God wanted to judge us for our sins , our weakness, as well as our coldness towards him. If God wanted to judge us by the things we say and the things we do, how many of us could stand before him blameless?

Yet God gave us year and after year, so what would our response be?

Will we choose to sin more, or will we try to lead a life worthy of Gods calling?

The Example Of Isaiah

Isaiah was a man who regard himself as a pure and holy man. He rebuke Israel of their sins. He felt that he was righteous until the day when God appeared to him.

When he saw the angels of the Lord calling out “Holy Holy Holy” That is when he realized his sin, and he exclaimed

“Woe is me, for I am undone!
  because I am a man of unclean lips,
  And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
  For my eyes have seen the King,
  The Lord of hosts.” – Isaiah (Is 6:5)

He saw his own sin and that he had fallen short of the standard of God, therefore he made a resolve to return to God and to ask him for forgiveness.  As the result, God sent an angel with a live coal to touch the mouth of Isaiah.  His sin was forgiven.

It was only after that  God sent him to preach to Israel and to lead them back .

To Cleanse the temple is to see your own fault before others

In order for a prophet to cleanse another, he must himself be cleanse. Very often we complain of how we are mistreated by others, and we often push the blame to others.

But are we not partially responsible for the conflict? why are we the angels when everyone else the devil?

This is why Jesus once ask

“ Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, 
   but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 
   Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove t
   he speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own
   eye?  Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own
   eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck
   from your brother’s eye.”  – Jesus (Matt 7:3-5)

We have often considered the fault of others, but have we considered the fault that lies within us?

People who cleanse their temple consider their own weakness first. Peter, James, John and Isaiah are examples of people who seek God with their heart. They saw their own unrighteousness and weakness, and they cleanse themselves

Today if we desire blessings from the Lord, let us learn to cleanse ourselves. Let us refrain from complaining about others, and pushing the blame to them. Let us consider ourselves for we too need to bear a responsibility.

If others do not repent, why don’t we repent first? If they do not give in, why don’t we give in to them first? If they do not repent, why don’t we take the first step? If they do not love, why don’t we start by showing love first?

Sadly not everyone is willing to listen, to obey and to repent.

Cleansing The Temple Involves a Personal Repentance

2 Chron 30:10-12 Tells us how King Hezekiah ordered everyone in Judah to repent, at the same time, he sent messengers to Ephraim, Manasseh and Zebulun as well. But there are some who mocked at the messengers.

Interestingly, verse 11 tells us of the fact that there are people who indeed humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. God did move people from their stubbornness and they obeyed King Hezekiah. As the result, they received revival of faith and they regained the blessing of the Lord.

Indeed, today when one try to repent, there will be mockers who will question “what’s the use of all this?” . They claimed that it would be status quo and what is the point of speaking against sin?”

Sometimes we are discouraged with their words but we ought to remember one thing

While others may choose to mock us, but our choice is our responsibility. Disobeying God is easy when we feel that there are no consequences. We feel that we can live a life of freedom without rebuke, with no requirements to pray and serve God. It gives us a false impression that we could lead a life like that without consequences.

But We have not considered the dearer price that awaits in the future. Just like what the Author of Hebrew tells us

 And as it is appointed for men to
   die once, but after this the judgment” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 9:27)

The Example Of The Rich man and Lazarus

We all remember the parable of the rich man and Lazarus  (Lk 16:19-31) . We have a rich man, even though he is a descendant of Abraham, he hardly does the work of Abraham. He failed to love God and to love man, and he loved himself and wanted to enjoy everything that he had in his life.

He is a man who does not want to pay the price for faith. He regretted at the end of the day. Do we remember what Abraham said to him?

“ Son, remember that in your lifetime
   you received your good things, and likewise
   Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted
  and you are tormented.” – Abraham (Lk 16:25)

This is a simple illustration, and it leaves a deep impression. It remind us, even though we have the freedom to choose, but there is a price for our choice.

Let us not be like the rich man, let us be humble and come before God. Let us ask for his forgiveness and to seek his blessing let us once again choose to be obedient to the words of God.

For that will bring us peace, and when death comes there is no fear. For we know we tried our very best to walk in the way of the Lord. Even though we failed often, but we know that God will save us to the very end.

However, if we do not fear God, even when others tells us not to be afraid we would be afraid to meet him.

The Result Of Hezekiah’s Work

2 Chron 30:26-27 tells us the conclusion of the work of King Hezekiah. There was a great joy in Jerusalem, and since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.

Those who gathered in Jerusalem repented, and God forgave their sin. He heard the prayers of Hezekiah and he healed the people. He gave them this joy in their heart.  That joy is comparable to the times when Solomon dedicated the temple to the Lord.

If we recall the time when King Solomon dedicated the temple, the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The nation of Israel was strong, rich and powerful. God was abiding with them .They experienced peace from the Lord and those were the golden age.

Strangely, when they experience the joy once again, their situation was very much different.

Judah was surrounded by enemies, we know that not long after Assyria destroyed Israel and laid a siege on Judah. Life within the Kingdom of Judah was difficult and harsh. This time they did not see the glory of the God filled the temple, nor did they witness any miracles.

All they had was a heart to repent, a heart to cleanse themselves and a resolve to return to the Lord.

Yet they received great joy, knowing that God had forgiven them, and they knew that God will bless them and they could start a new once again.

The book of chronicles, ended the episode with the following words

“Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people,
  and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His
  holy dwelling place, to heaven.”

May we all experience this blessing for the new year as well.

Let us make a resolve to come before God and to receive his blessings, let us resolve to remain within his grace. Let us resolve to turn back to God and to be blessed by him.

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