2 Chronicles 29:1-3
1 Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah.
2 And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done.
3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them.
A revival was needed in Judah and Israel, and Hezekiah didn’t waste any time in starting it. His father Ahaz had started off well but had finished badly, and so Hezekiah had a lot of work ahead of him to eradicate the altars of foreign gods and to restore the worship of the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob. Therefore, Hezekiah started at the place of worship: the temple itself.
When we think of spiritual revival today, we usually think of big tent meetings that draw flocks of unbelievers and end up having mass baptisms. In a more modern context, we may envision a stadium event that brings people to their knees at massive altar calls. But let’s be clear on something: that is NOT spiritual revival. Such evangelism is good and it even brings many people to Christ, but once the tent is taken down and the preacher moves on… Well, what happens then to the crowds of new believers? Who will keep the fire burning? Who will feed these newfound sheep and maintain their strength for the Lord? We may call those events “revival meetings,” but it doesn’t do much good to revive someone only to leave them to die without the food and water of proper ministry.
Hezekiah understood where it all started, and so the young king did a simple thing: he repaired the doors of the temple. Why repair the doors? Why not repair the roof or the sanctuaries or the courts or the altar? The doors to the temple had been shut during the reign of Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:24) and often during the reigns of previous kings of Judah. Every time a king strayed from the Lord, the house of the Lord would be further neglected. Altars to false gods would be built in groves and on high places all over Judah, and no one would enter the house of God, no one would minister to the people, no one would make sacrifices to the Lord. So, in the first month of the first year of his reign, King Hezekiah opened the doors of the temple to let people in–and to let the presence of God OUT.
That is the first step in revival: to invite people to experience the wonder of God’s presence, and to release the Spirit of God among them. Opening the doors is an invitation to come to God openly and unashamed, to repent and seek forgiveness, to enter His house and be assured of finding Him there. And opening the doors also releases God’s blessing, showing the world that the priests are not keeping God to themselves but bringing Him to the masses. Truly, until just recently, it was a rare thing for any Christian church to have locked doors, because the house of God is meant to be an open and inviting place, a place of sanctuary, a place of prayer and repentance, and, as in the days of Hezekiah, a place of sanctification and revival.
Of course, it’s not enough to simply open the doors–much more needs to happen. Hezekiah took that first step to open the doors, and then he took a second step and REPAIRED the doors. Why have doors at all? Why not just remove them, and thus remove all barriers between God and men? There are two reasons Hezekiah needed those doors on the temple. First of all, the time was not yet come for the end of temple worship. At the coming of Emmanuel–Jesus Christ–there was no need for the sanctuary nor for the veil in front of the holy of holies. At the death of Christ, the veil was torn from top to bottom–i.e. by the hand of God Himself–and so we can now worship God in Spirit and in truth. But in Hezekiah’s time, that day was not yet come, and so there was still a proper time and place for worship, a place set apart for God’s presence.
The second reason for repairing the doors is because there was–and still is–a need to protect the Word of God. When a society departs from the Lord, the Word of God gets watered down, worship becomes tainted, and sacrifice and prayer are no longer sanctified. Even as the presence of the Lord flows out among the people, the presence of foreign idolatries still creeps into people’s hearts. They start adding to and subtracting from the proper worship of God, and next thing you know, all anointing and spiritual truth is gone. The doors of the temple are opened to invite God’s children to return to Him, but they can also be closed to keep out enemies of God both in thought and deed. Doors set a stopping point, a place beyond which only the selected and sanctified may enter. So Hezekiah opened the doors to allow people to know the presence of God, but he repaired the doors to enable him to keep out that which was not of God.
Revival begins in the church, not on street-corners nor in tents, not among random strangers nor even in the home. For true revival to take hold, the church itself must bring believers to God and set boundaries for the elect. It is not enough to simply seek more warm bodies to fill the seats of our churches. We must also restore the Word of God to its proper place and preserve and protect it–“keep” it, as the Psalmist would say–so that we will experience the new life that only the gospel of Christ can bring.
Are the doors of your church open? And can they be closed to keep out the influences of modern society? Does your church have a clearly defined stopping point that is essentially the cover of the Bible itself? Will the doors of your church be able to withstand the assault of unbelief and immorality that threaten to invade and overwhelm? Has anyone repaired the doors of the temple in YOUR life? Are you yourself able to keep the temple of your body secure from pagan practice and foreign idolatry?
For true revival to break forth in this land, it will be nice to have new believers coming to Christ, but it is essential that the churches become true bastions of worship and truth. The doors of the churches need to be open for the people but closed to immorality, idolatry, and false doctrine. So long as the church of the living God is vacillating and divided, so long as the servants of the Lord fall and become servants of Satan instead, so long as doctrine becomes watered down by secular beliefs, and so long as God’s own shepherds doubt His true divinity, then we will not have revival anywhere. But if men and women will rise up to enter the doors of the temple, if people will open the doors for true faith and close them against outside influences, if the shepherds of Christ’s flock will gird themselves with integrity and humility and do the hard work of repairing the doors themselves, then we will see such an outpouring of the Spirit as has not been seen in our lifetime. Revival starts at the doors of our churches–at the point where we enter and the point where we keep out unbelief. Let us rise up and repair the doors of the temple for the Lord our God.
Father God, we may not need temples and altars to worship You and bring our supplications, but we know that Your desire is for us to gather together in Your name. We praise You for the church instituted in Christ’s name, the church founded upon Simon Peter, the first to recognize Jesus as Your Son, the Christ. Strengthen us, Lord God, to repair the doors of our churches, to bolster our faith with Your Word, to set boundaries for doctrine and worship that are consistent with Your statutes, Your testimonies, Your will. And in our own lives, may Your Spirit enable us to repair the doors of our soul to invite You in and to keep Satan out. Amen.