By Collin Ross
My father-in-law is in the business of restoring old cars. The work that he does never ceases to amaze me. The vehicles he brings into his shop are often rusted metal shells. I’ll see one of these junkyard finds in his garage and wonder, “What good could possibly come from that?” But my father-in-law can see wondrous possibilities where many can not. It’s long and arduous work, but piece by piece, the car is restored to its original glory.
“What good could possibly come from that?” This must be the Lord’s favorite question to be asked. Throughout the Scriptures, our God is found taking old rusted shells of men and women, and He brings forth beauty and life.
A perfect example of this is found in the story of Hezekiah. Just before Hezekiah took the throne, Judah languished under one of its worst kings, Ahaz. Faithfulness to the Lord was at an all-time low. Judah was headed full steam toward its own destruction. What good could possibly come from this man’s lineage?
Enter Hezekiah. On day one, the son of Ahaz reopened the doors of the temple that his father had shut, and he set about turning his countrymen’s hearts back to God. The Lord was on the move, working in and through King Hezekiah to initiate a renewal movement for His covenantal people.
How many of us crave spiritual renewal? While our lives may not look as bad as Judah’s under King Ahaz, there are certainly times when our faith feels like a dried-up lake bed desperate for water. This is why the story of Israel’s history continues to be fruitful even thousands of years later. Just as Israel’s faith ebbed and flowed, our spiritual health comes and goes. We are in constant need of renewal, and what we see in Israel’s story is that without fail, the Lord is up to the challenge.
In true Lenten fashion, Hezekiah’s renewal involved a rhythm of giving up and picking up. First, he helped Judah give up its faithless past by cleansing the temple and the surrounding cities of idols. Then, he prompted the people to pick up a new (or rather, old and forgotten) practice of temple worship and Passover. Judah’s spiritual renewal was fanned into flame in these two acts, giving up old habits and picking up new ones.
But perhaps my favorite part of this entire saga is the sense of shock that reverberated across the populace at how quickly the spiritual renewal took hold. They were surprised at the transformation! “Look at all the good that has come from us!” And notice who was given ultimate credit for the widespread change of heart. It was the Lord who was the heavy lifter (2Chronicles 29:36).
We must never forget the true source for our renewal. Hezekiah sure didn’t forget (2Chronicles 31:21).