The puritan’s pulpit

BY AMBROSE KIRAGU There is a wonderful record of a revival in the days of godly king Hezekiah in the book of 2nd Chronicles chapter 29. The Lord stirred this king, whom the scriptures record as the greatest of all kings, even above mighty David. Every word of that wonderful chapter is beautiful to behold, in a book where everything else is sacred. Indeed, a faithful Christian cannot endorse parts of scripture above others, though it is true that in times of spiritual mess like ours, every jot and title that records a revival is of utmost pertinence. Hezekiah ruled from age 25 and begun his revival work immediately. It is a good sign when we start the Lord’s work soonest, either in our lives or early in the morning. He started by clearing the temple, which work took sixteen days. The spiritual condition of the people was so low the temple had been closed after it had first been made a dumping site. And so the first job for the priests and Levites was to remove the filth out the temple and then open its doors. This shows that before we can ask the Lord to be our all-sufficient Savior, we must first repent – oh, how that word is needed in the days our lot is cast! Similarly, the temple fell into the same ill fate during our Lord’s earthly life. In his day, the priests and Levites had turned the house of prayers into a den of thieves. On two occasions, he drove out the merchants forcefully from the temple. We note that the temple was as unclean in the days of Hezekiah as it was in the days of our Lord. The spiritual significance is hard to miss: the smart sinner (profane, greedy, hypocrite) is as much a sinner as the vilest (adulterer, murderer and idolater) in the eyes of the thrice-holy God. From our text, we behold an even dirtier misuse of God’s temple. This man wore no clothes, stayed in the tombs, was exceedingly violent and was unfit to live with other men. All this because he housed a Legion of demons, so many of them that they entered into two thousands pigs and drove them into the sea! A man ‘fearfully and wonderfully made,’ had so sunk so as to be the temple of demons! Thank God, for the mercy and power of his dear Son, that he could reverse such a fearful monstrosity. It would be hard to excuse the behavior of the men of Gadara. A miracle had been performed in their village. A man, whom they all knew and feared, had been healed. In the process, a lucrative business had been disturbed. Politely but firmly, they requested the Lord to leave their village to its swine business.  Perhaps a little history about these villagers is in order. When the Lord delivered the Israelites from Egypt, it was to the end that he would be their God and also give them a better inheritance in Canaan. But along the way, two and a half tribes (Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh) saw and admired Gilead, which on the eastern side of Jordan- Canaan lay west of Jordan. These Gadaras were the descendants of Gad. Like their fathers, fourteen hundred years before, these men in Jesus’ day rejected the Lord and instead chose pigs! Lest we judge them too harshly, let us remember that what was written aforetime ‘happened unto them as examples, and they are written for our admonitions,’ 1Cor 10:11. The men of Gadara represent the ‘Christians’ who have rejected the blood of Christ, as the only sufficiency of their peace with God. They substitute their poor works, others do penance and a multitudes of self-imposed like rituals.  Others assume they have the faith simply because they can recite their church’s creed. By far, the largest numbers in the pig business assume there is a God for their particular fancy. ‘I believe God is love- He cannot create man and burn him in hell,’ such and similar kind of gods men create. They create God after their own vile image. ‘…thou thoughtest that I was altogether as thyself,’ Psa. 50:21. The Lord God has promised us an inheritance in Jesus Christ. But only in him are we to come into it.  Each must be sure to cross alone; salvation is not to be had in groups, or by proxy. To possess our inheritance, we must be ‘buried with him by baptism into death, that as Christ was raised up from the dead …we also walk in newness of life,’ Rom 6:4. Beloved brethren, nothing can substitute the efficacious sacrifice of Christ. If you have trusted in any other than the blood, yours is a thriving pig business. Jesus Christ has come to the graveside, and he seeks to have you cleared of the demons, that you may henceforth be a sanctified temple for the habitation of the Holy Spirit.

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