About eight years ago I spent some time studying the life of Hezekiah, and preparing a series of messages based on his life.
It is an interesting and profitable subject with many lessons for us. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, points out that we can learn from history; and in particular the history of the nation of Israel in their journeying through the wilderness. In that passage he points out that we can learn from the unbelief they fell into in their response to testing.
At that time I was struck by a short passage in one of the accounts of Hezekiah’s life; the one found in 2nd Chronicles. There is a very strong emphasis in the two books of Chronicles on the Temple in Jerusalem, and the worship conducted (or not) in that beautiful building.
On a Sunday morning recently, for several reasons that have nothing to do with this post, I awoke very early and decided to re-read the three accounts of Hezekiah’s life. When I came to verses 25 through 30 of 2nd Chronicles 29, I was struck, again, by what is recorded there.
Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah as a young man; and his first priority was to cleanse the Temple and re-establish the various aspects of the worship in the Temple. When we come to verse 25 we find the musicians put in order, and the sacrifices in order.
As I was reading, I was almost overcome with the thoughts expressed in these verses:
Then Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord also began, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David king of Israel. So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.
Everything was tied to the burnt offering. In passing, it is worth noting that this is the offering mentioned first in Leviticus. The Song of the Lord began with the Burnt Offering, and continued until it was finished. I have no idea how long that might have taken, but it would not have been a matter of a minute or two; more likely half an hour or more. The Burnt Offering was to be totally consumed on the altar, and in this case was likely a young bull.
I have wondered what exactly is meant by “the song of the Lord” but have not been able to find a clear answer in any of the commentaries I have access to, but it certainly was special.
At this point, I would like to take a flight of fancy. I fully realize the dangers of seeing ‘typology’ in every little item of the Old Testament. There have been some really fanciful things said in that context. However, as I read this passage a thought came to me which moved me deeply that Sunday morning: Our Blessed Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, is the fulfilment of the Burnt Offering and, in a sense, His offering up of Himself as a perfect, and pleasing to God, offering is non-ending. He is in the presence of God for us, to quote Hebrews; and so, the Song of the Lord does not end.
In Hezekiah’s day the singing stopped; today it has no reason to stop.