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Sacrifice and Song
2 Chronicles 29:27
Hezekiah was an excellent monarch although he had a very vicious father. We have a proverb which says 'like father, like son,' but that is far from being always true. Eli, a good and pious man, had sons who were a byword for profanity; and Ahaz, who was a rebel against God, had Godfearing Hezekiah for his child. In the first month of the first year of his reign Hezekiah opened the doors of the temple. He recognized that social prosperity runs its roots down into religion. Then there followed these memorable scenes, of which our chapter gives a vivid summary, and in which the recreant and fickle multitude were brought into new fellowship with God. First there were the offerings for sin, for the people were defiled and needed cleansing. It was a scene of blood around the altars, dimly foreshadowing the Blood of Jesus. Then, following these offerings for sin, burntofferings were laid upon the altar, and when the burntoffering began, the song of the Lord began also.
Now in that ancient and dramatic scene have we not a parable of living truths? I think that always when the burntoffering begins, the song of the Lord begins also. Wherever there is devotion, there is gladness. Where there is consecration, there is music. Let a man be ignorant of self-surrender, and under the fairest sky he will be miserable. But let him devote himself, with heart and soul, to his duty, to his calling, to his God, and voices that were silent yesterday will break forth into singing as he moves.
I. We see that, for instance, in the case of work in the case of the daily task that we are called to. There is always a lack of gladness in our work when we set about it in a grumbling way. It is one of the commonest complaints today that men are not in earnest with their work. Their one ambition is to get it done, and done as cheaply and easily as possible. That is a very bad thing for the work; but I think it is a worse thing for the man, for to go to our work in a half-hearted way is a certain recipe to miss the music. It is not by doing less that joy will come: nor necessarily will it come by doing more. It is by throwing ourselves on our task with all our might, whether our task be little or be great. That is the spirit which makes labour glad, and wakens the song that sleeps on the breast of drudgery, and brings that light into the eyes of toil, which is brighter than the sunniest morn of May.
II. I think, too, that this is very true in regard to the great matter of our cross-bearing. It is not till the burntoffering begins that we ever hear a single strain of music. Every human life has got its shadow, and every human life has got its cross. It is well to distinguish the shadow from the cross, lest by confusing them we go astray. For the shadow is something into which we enter, and out of which we shall pass in God's good time. But the cross is something that we must take up, or stumble over into the mouth of hell. Now one of the deepest questions in life is, 'In what way do you regard your crosses?' Do you hate them? Do you rebel against them? Would you give anything to fling them from you? Along that road there is no voice of song. Along that road there is the hardening heart. Along that road there is a growing bitterness, the foretaste of the bitterness of death. But take up your cross as Jesus bids you do take it up as a mother takes her child. Lay it against your heart and cherish it say 'this, too, like the summer roses, is from God'. And so shall your poor life become a harmony and what is harmony but perfect music and when the burntoffering begins, the song of the Lord will begin also.
III. But once again, is not our text illuminative in regard to our social relationships? To be selfish there is not to miss the worry. To be selfish is to miss the song.
IV. Does not our text hold true of what is especially the Christian life? To be half-hearted towards Jesus Christ is the most tragical of all conditions. Other masters might be content with that. Christ will have none of it He scorns it. It must be first or nowhere, all or nothing King or nobody, with Jesus Christ. And the strange thing is, when we take Him at His word, and give ourselves up to Him in glad devotion, then when the burntoffering begins, the song of the Lord begins also.
G. H. Morrison, The Return of the Angels, p. 298.
References. XXIX. 27. S. K. Hocking, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xliv. 1893, p. 6. R. H. Lloyd, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxxiv. 1908, p. 376. W. D. Ross, The Sword Bathed in Heaven, p. 34. XXIX. 36. W. C. E. Newbolt, Christian World Pulpit, vol. li. 1897, p. 362. XXX. 1-13. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture 2 Kings, Chronicles, etc., p. 238. XXX. 17-20. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxvi. No. 2131. XXX. 18, 19. H. W. Burrows, Plain Instructive Sermons on the Holy Communion, p. 78. XXXI. 1. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. v. No. 238. XXXI. 9, 10, 13, 14, 16. A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book for All Ages, p. 147. XXXI. 21. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii. No. 433. F. Hastings, Christian World Pulpit, vol. liii. 1898, p. 404. XXXII. 1. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture 2 Kings, Chronicles, etc., p. 243. XXXII. 8. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxviii. No. 2250. XXXII. 33. C. Jerdan, Pastures of Tender Grass, p. 261. XXXIII. 2, 12, 13. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xl. No. 2378. XXXIII. 9. W. L. Watkinson, Noon Day Addresses, p. 119. XXXIII. 9-16. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture 2 Kings, Chronicles, etc., p. 251. XXXIII. 10, 11. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xl. No. 2385. XXXIII. 12, 13. A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book for All Ages, p. 124. XXXIII. 13. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii. No. 105. XXXIV. 1-3. A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book for All Ages, p. 161. XXXIV. 1-13. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture 2 Kings, Chronicles, etc., p. 257. XXXIV. 14, 20, 21. A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book for All Ages, p. 187. XXXIV. 14-28. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture 2 Kings, Chronicles, etc., p. 262. XXXIV. 15. R. Scott, Oxford University Sermons, p. 325. XXXIV. 27. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii. No. 748. XXXV. 2. Ibid. vol. xxvi. No. 1513. XXXV. 18. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in a Religious House, vol. i. p. 13. XXXVI. 11-21. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture 2 Kings, Chronicles, etc., p. 269, XXXVI. 22, 23. A. G. Mortimer, The Church's Lessons for the Christian Year, part iv. p. 231. A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book for All Ages, p. 295.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 29". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent