Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly, (20:36).
I just couldn’t get away from this proclamation, “the thing came about suddenly.”
Most of the events leading up to this sudden “thing” centered around the leadership of King Hezekiah as “He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done,” (29:2).
And under one who set his heart to do right and follow the example of all that his father David had done, the people followed their king into the experience of a lifetime. Because Hezekiah did right in all that David had done, his kingdom would encounter “the thing [that] came about suddenly.”
Other versions translate the thing as: “it; everything; events; this,” Thing (it, everything, events, this): “1697. דָּבָר dāḇār: A masculine noun meaning word, speech, matter. This frequent word has a wide range of meanings associated with it. It signified spoken words or speech… a command or royal decree… and something indefinite… Most important was the use of this word to convey divine communication. Often the word of the Lord signified the revelation given to prophets (2 Sam. 7:4; Jer. 25:3; Hos. 1:1). Similarly, the Ten Commandments were literally called the ten words of the Lord (Ex. 34:28; Deut. 4:13).” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
Much preparation had been made before the miraculous, indescribable, “thing came.” And while human words are limited in scope to explain this indefinite, undefinable, supernatural occurrence, “the thing came about suddenly” by the Word of God.
They assembled their brothers, consecrated themselves, and went in to cleanse the house of the Lord, according to the commandment of the king by the words of the Lord, (29:15 emphasis added).
He then stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with harps and with lyres, according to the command of David and of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for the command was from the Lord through His prophets, (29:25 emphasis added).
And “the thing came about suddenly.”
Suddenly: “6597. פִּתְאוֹם piṯʾôm: An adverb meaning suddenly, unexpectedly. It refers to things occurring all at once, surprisingly, all of a sudden: …[e.g.,] an action or word by God…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
I am reminded that the Lord is not bound by time restraints, and what may appear as Suddenly to Us, perhaps merely marks one of a zillion zeniths within the thousands of blips of time within eternity. For I am also reminded, a thousand years is as one day in His sight.
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it passes by,
Or as a watch in the night, (Psalm 90:4).
And while the people may have been surprised with this unexpected “thing,” that “came about suddenly;” the Lord had been astutely Preparing His people for the Suddenly, even since the beginning of time.
Every bit of His Preparation is provided in His Word, as the endeavors Hezekiah commanded and implemented were by the words of the Lord (29:15), and from the Lord through His prophets, (29:29).
But before we are fit to experience the Suddenly, there must be atonement for our sin.
The priests slaughtered them and purged the altar with their blood to atone for all Israel, for the king ordered the burnt offering and the sin offering for all Israel, (29:24).
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them, 35…Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven,” (Leviticus 4:1-2, 35).
And from eternity past, Jesus Christ was Preparing us to receive His salvation through faith in His Atoning Sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world… (Ephesians 1:4).
…God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, (2 Timothy 1:8-9).
in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, (Titus 1:2).
For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you, (1 Peter 1:20).
We have been Prepared for His Presence from the foundation of the world through His eternal grace bestowed in Jesus Christ, the Living Word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, (John 1:1).
And He continues to Prepare us for those experiences of a lifetime, for the Suddenly here on earth. At least ten means of His Preparation are presented in this story of King Hezekiah’s leading in reform. I am not suggesting this is a comprehensive list of His Preparation for us, but it is a great place to start.
Consider Him Who Prepares Us for the Suddenly
- He Prepares Us for the Suddenly through our Consecration
- In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. 4 He brought in the priests and the Levites and gathered them into the square on the east. 5 Then he said to them, “Listen to me, O Levites. Consecrate yourselves now, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry the uncleanness out from the holy place,” (29:3-5).
- He Prepares Us for the Suddenly through our Confession
- “For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done evil in the sight of the Lord our God, and have forsaken Him and turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and have turned their backs. 7 They have also shut the doors of the porch and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel,” (29:6-7).
- He Prepares Us for the Suddenly through our Surrender
- “Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His burning anger may turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister to Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense,” (29:10-11).
- He Prepares Us for the Suddenly through our Cleansing
- They assembled their brothers, consecrated themselves, and went in to cleanse the house of the Lord, according to the commandment of the king by the words of the Lord… 18 Then they went in to King Hezekiah and said, “We have cleansed the whole house of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering with all of its utensils, and the table of showbread with all of its utensils. 19 Moreover, all the utensils which King Ahaz had discarded during his reign in his unfaithfulness, we have prepared and consecrated; and behold, they are before the altar of the Lord.” (29:15, 18-19).
- He Prepares Us for the Suddenly through our Obedience
- Then King Hezekiah arose early and assembled the princes of the city and went up to the house of the Lord. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, the sanctuary, and Judah. And he ordered the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the Lord. 22 So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. They also slaughtered the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar; they slaughtered the lambs also and sprinkled the blood on the altar. 23 Then they brought the male goats of the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them, (29:20-23).
- He Prepares Us for the Suddenly through our Humility in Worship
- The Levites stood with the musical instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 Then Hezekiah gave the order to offer the burnt offering on the altar. When the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord also began with the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David, king of Israel. 28 While the whole assembly worshiped, the singers also sang and the trumpets sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. 29 Now at the completion of the burnt offerings, the king and all who were present with him bowed down and worshiped, (29:26-29).
- He Prepares Us for the Suddenly through our Joyful Praise
- Moreover, King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to sing praises to the Lord with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with joy, and bowed down and worshiped, (29:30).
- He Prepares Us for the Suddenly through our Thanksgiving
- Then Hezekiah said, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the house of the Lord,” (29:31).
- He Prepares Us for the Suddenly through our Willingness
- …And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all those who were willing brought burnt offerings, (29:31).
- He Prepares Us for the Suddenly through our Service
- There were also many burnt offerings with the fat of the peace offerings and with the libations for the burnt offerings. Thus the service of the house of the Lord was established again. 36 Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly, (29:35-36).
How do we respond to Him Who Prepares Us for the Suddenly?
Maybe, just maybe, the Suddenly isn’t so sudden after all; maybe it has more to do with finally coming to the place of taking His Absolute Holiness and Perfect Righteousness seriously; and maybe the Suddenly is more reflective of His time zone than our own twenty-four seven, the place He has meticulously Prepared and precisely measured within His time frame… just maybe.
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance, (2 Peter 2:8-9).
Maybe the Suddenly is that place that transcends time, where the temporal and the eternal intersect.
while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal, (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Maybe when things come about Suddenly, maybe they are the moments in time that look more like heaven than earth; the moments when His will is done on earth as it is in Heaven.
“Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven,” (Matthew 6:10)
And maybe after we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ as our Sin Offering to Atone for all our sin, and we are then enabled to cooperate with His Preparation through Consecration, Confession, Surrender, Cleansing, Obedience, Humility in Worship, Joyful Praise, Thanksgiving, Willingness and Service; maybe it is then that we too are actually in the very midst of the Suddenly.
And as we daily commit ourselves to His Preparation, we will be Prepared for the most unbelievable Suddenly of all time.
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality, (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up, (2 Peter 3:10).
Oh Lord, Prepare Us for the Suddenly we pray, that we would set our hearts to do right and follow the example of our King Jesus; that we too would be ready for the experience of a lifetime, that we might hear Your Words,
“Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master,” (Matthew 25:21).