The priests went into the sanctuary of the Temple of LORD to cleanse it, and they took out to the Temple courtyard all the defiled things they found. From there the Levites carted it all out to the Kidron Valley. They began the work in early spring, on the first day of the new year, and in eight days they had reached the entry room of the LORD’s Temple. Then they purified the Temple of the LORD itself, which took another eight days. So the entire task was completed in sixteen days. – 2 Chronicles 29:16-17
Judah has wandered away from the Lord under King Ahaz and the Kings before him. Ahaz closed up the temple and instituted idol worship around the country, and the nation suffered because of this. After Ahaz dies, Hezekiah is crowned king, immediately reinstates worship of the Lord, and commands the Priests and Levites to reopen the temple. But over the years, the temple had become a storehouse of hoarding. It was so full of wicked implements and garbage that they couldn’t even get into the entry room of the temple for eight days. After 8 days of decluttering and hauling the garbage out to the Kidron valley (aka garbage dump), they were able to begin the purification process. In all, it took 16 days to get the temple ready for service again. Given the circumstances, 16 days was not a great deal of time. The people worked tirelessly to get the garbage and false gods out, and to purify the temple for the worship of the one true God. God blesses Hezekiah and Judah for turning to Him, for their intensity of clearing the junk out of the temple, and for their worship of Him and Him alone. The years of discipline are over, and the years of blessing had arrived. God is quick to forgive, if we will just put him first in our lives.
This is such a great picture of our lives. We accumulate junk in our lives as we wander in sin and worship other gods (like money, power, success, relationships, sex, comfort, etc..). Like Hezekiah, we must make a clear decision to worship God alone and get the junk out of our lives. The new testament refers to our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. We must come to a point where we choose to worship God alone, and clean the junk out of our lives. God will cleanse and purify us through Christ, but we must choose to ruthlessly declutter our lives from the sin and idolatry we have accumulated along the way. It is a big job, it was for the priests and Levites. But they went at it with focused intensity and cleaned the temple out in 8 days. It may take you longer than 8 days. The time is not the point, but the focused intensity to throw out the things that have cluttered our lives and pulled us down for so long, and the dedication to the Lord alone that brings the freedom and blessing.
So often I see people simply add God to the mix of their messy temple, and then wonder why there is not peace and blessing. Hebrews 12:1: So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. So what’s messing up your temple? What do you need to take to the trash heap so that your life is dedicated to God? Whatever it is, it’s just slowing you down and bringing you pain.
Take a few minutes and ask God to show you what you need to clean out. Then do it!!! As you dedicate the temple of your body to the LORD, He will cleanse you and restore you. It can be really helpful to find someone to share your mess with – someone you trust, who can pray with you and for you, and help you walk the junk of your life to the trash heap (Kidron Valley) and dump it.
Father, search my heart today and show me anything cluttering up your temple. If there is anything in my life that is unpleasing to you, help me see what it is and give me the strength to get it out of my life. This day, Father, I dedicate my life to you. You are the Lord, the King, and the focus of my worship. Forgive me and cleanse me, I pray, for where my heart has strayed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.