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2 Chronicles 29:1-2 ; 2 Chronicles 31:20-21
I. Studying the life and reign of Hezekiah, we discover, first, that he is an illustration of the sovereignty of God in conversion. He was the son of one of the most impious monarchs that ever sat on the throne of Israel. Parental and royal influence combined to make him a bad man and a worse king.
II. The conversion of Hezekiah, therefore, should give encouragement to the children of unchristian parents. It is the way of God to save men when to human view their salvation is incredible. He delights in miracles of grace.
III. The upright character of Hezekiah illustrates also that the conversion of men is often assisted by their natural recoil from extreme wickedness. Sin is often used to defeat itself.
One of the reasons why it is permitted to run its course and come to a head is that men may see it in its hideous maturity.
IV. The narrative illustrates the fact that when God converts men from amidst surroundings of great depravity, He often has some great and signal service for them to do for Him. He summoned Hezekiah to the reformation of a kingdom.
V. The work of Hezekiah illustrates the moral power of one man in effecting a great work to which God has called him.
VI. The work of Hezekiah illustrates also the suddenness with which God often achieves by the hand of such men great changes in the progress of His kingdom.
A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book, p. 111.
2 Chronicles 29:27
The old sacrifices are past and done for ever. There are no more smoking altars or bleeding beasts; but that which they represented still remains, and will remain so long as man and God are child and Father to each other. The giving up of the life of man away from himself to serve his true and rightful Master, the surrender of his life to Another, self-sacrifice, which is what these burnt-offerings picturesquely represented, is universally and perpetually necessary. It is not beasts, but lives, that we offer. Can the life, too, be offered now as the beast was offered of old: with song and trumpet? Can self-sacrifice be a thing of triumph and exhilaration? Can it be the conscious glorification of a life to give that life away in self-denial?
I. The different forms of self-sacrifice stand around us with their demands. There is the need that a man should sacrifice himself to himself, his lower self to his higher self, his passions to his principles. There is the need of sacrificing one's self for fellow-men. There is the highest need of all, the need of giving up our own will to God's. All these needs a man will own and honour. He will try to meet them all his life. But when you come to talk of joy in meeting them, that is another matter. Self-sacrifice seems to him something apart from the whole notion of enjoyment.
II. The words of our text, however strangely they sound at first, are literally true, as the history of many a man's life.
From the moment that it began to live for other people, the nature which had no song in it before became jubilant with music. The soul that trifles and toys with self-sacrifice never can get its true joy and power. Only the soul that, with an overwhelming impulse and a perfect trust, gives itself up for ever to the life of other men, finds the delight and peace which such complete self-surrender has to give.
III. There is another reason why it would seem to be absolutely necessary that man should have the power of finding pleasure in his self-sacrifices, in the actual fulfilment of his completed tasks, the actual doing of the necessary duties of his life, and that is found in the fact that joy or delight in what we are doing is not a mere luxury; it is a means, a help, for the more perfect doing of our work. Joy in one's work is the consummate tool without which the work may be done indeed, but without which the work will always be done slowly, clumsily, and without its finest perfectness.
IV. The man who really lives in the world of Christ's redemption claims his self-sacrifices. He goes up to his martyrdom with a song. To live in this world and do nothing for one's own spiritual self, or for fellow-man, or for God is a terrible thing. There is no happy life except in self-consecration.
Phillips Brooks, Candle of the Lord, p. 22.
References: 2 Chronicles 29:27 Homiletic Magazine, vol. xv., p. 105; A. B. Evans, Church Sermons, vol. i., p. 361. 2 Chronicles 29:31 . J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 373.
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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 29". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany