“King Hezekiah said to the Levites.
‘Listen to me, Levites!
Sanctify the house of Yahweh!
The God of your ancestors!
Carry out the filth from the holy place!
Our ancestors have been unfaithful.
They have done what was evil in the sight of Yahweh our God.
They have forsaken him.
They turned away their faces from the dwelling of Yahweh.
They have turned their backs.
They also shut the doors of the vestibule.
They put out the lamps.
They have not offered incense or made burnt offerings,
In the holy place to the God of Israel.
Therefore the wrath of the Yahweh came upon Judah and Jerusalem.
He made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing.
As you see with your own eyes.
Our fathers have fallen by the sword.
Our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this.
Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with Yahweh,
The God of Israel,
So that his fierce anger may turn away from us.
Do not now be negligent!
Yahweh has chosen you to stand in his presence,
To minister to him,
To be his ministers
And make offerings to him.’”
This is a stirring reminder of what had happened in Judah. He wanted the Levites to sanctify themselves and the Temple. They were to clean up the house of God. Their ancestors had turned away from Yahweh. They let the Temple fall into disrepair. They shut the doors and put out the lights. They made no burnt offerings. They had become an object of horror and astonishment as many fell by the sword. Their families were taken captive. Now is the time not to be negligent. They were to stand in the presence of Yahweh. They were to minister to him and make him offerings.