I remember a few weeks ago when I was reading II Chronicles that this story from chapter 30 stood out to me. King Hezekiah wanted the people to come together to celebrate Passover. These were children of Israel who apparently had abandoned their spiritual foundation in order to worship false gods. But, in an effort to make things right in God's eyes,
6 At the king's command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read:
"People of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your fathers and brothers, who were unfaithful to the LORD, the God of their fathers, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; submit to the LORD. Come to the sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the LORD your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the LORD, then your brothers and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will come back to this land, for the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him."
Sadly many people ridiculed these messengers and had no plans to unite with their kinsmen to remember the time the Lord passed over the Israelites and spared their firstborn sons in Egypt. However, this proclamation didn't fall on deaf ears because Chronicles reports that some men humbled themselves and a large crowd gathered in Jerusalem.
The passover lamb was slaughtered and everyone ate even though many of them were not ceremonially clean. Some people believe their cleanliness is the most important thing to God. No doubt it was very important in Old Testament times so maybe this next part is why this passage stood out to me.
So these people gathered, celebrated Passover and ate though they were unclean. What happens next? Did God strike all those defiled people dead? Let's read . . .
But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, "May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone 19 who sets his heart on seeking God—the LORD, the God of his fathers—even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary." 20 And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
How about that! Immediately my mind went back to II Chronicles 7 (14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.) and how this verse was applied in similar fashion by Hezekiah in this situation.
Chapter 30 concludes with the people celebrating, singing praises to the Lord with great rejoicing for seven days! How lovely that must have been to see! Oh wait! Seven days wasn't long enough so the people agreed to another seven days of praising the Lord!
There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27 The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.
Wow! Can you praise the Lord with great rejoicing for 2 weeks? I bet it would change your outlook. As you rejoice in the Lord, you realize how big He is and how, in reality, everything else is so small. Magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together!