"Then (the Levites) went inside to King Hezekiah and said, 'We have cleansed all of the house of the LORD, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the table for the rows of bread and all its utensils. All the utensils that King Ahaz repudiated during his reign when he was faithless, we have made ready & sanctified; see they are in front of the altar of the LORD."
(2 Chronicles 29:18-19)
I love the story of King Hezekiah. He was 25 years old when he assume the throne. He reigned for 29 years. One of his first actions as King was to clean out the temple and get it back in working order. Over the years it had been neglected. Items had been brought inside which were inappropriate. It was dirty, abandoned, and nothing like what God had intended it to be.
For 2+ weeks the Levites cleaned it. They got it back to its original splendor. And one of the projects they tackled was restoring the worship utensils. These are items used in worship (surrounding the altar sacrifices, sacraments, etc.). Evidently a prior king (Ahaz) had intentionally misused & abused the utensils - not using them for the purposes originally intended. But instead of throwing them away and ordering a new set from Amazon.com, the Levites cleaned, consecrated, and made them new again!
As I was reading today, I felt drawn to this detail. It was as if God was reminding me that there are many people just like these utensils. People who were created to be instruments of joy, praise & worship... but instead have been abused, misused, and neglected over the years (sometimes by the church itself!). They feel unclean & unworthy. But they are not!!! They simply need to be restored & renewed. And that's something God specializes in!
I'm going to be embarking on a sermon planning day soon. I need to solidify my 2016 preaching schedule. I've been praying for insight & inspiration as to what to preach/teach about here at my new appointment in Palmdale. Maybe this is somehting I need to give more thought to: redemption & restoration.
Speak to me, Lord... I'm listening!