KEEP THE PASSOVER
2 Chronicles 30
Come To The House Of The Lord
King Hezekiah's reforms were in full swing, but the temple was not cleansed in time for the Passover to be observed at the traditional time. Passover was a feast to commemorate Israel's birth as a nation and the redemption that was experienced when God delivered his people out of slavery. Additionally, King Hezekiah needed time to announce the Passover throughout Israel and to sanctify a sufficient number of priests. King Hezekiah's plan found favor in the eyes of the assembly, and they issued a decree for the people to come because they had not kept the feast as often as prescribed. The couriers traveled throughout the land with letters from the King, and as he commanded, they implored the people of both Israel and Judah to return to the Lord including the remnant that escaped from the kings of Assyria. King Hezekiah calls God's people to humble themselves and abandon the unfaithful ways of their fathers which led to the desolation of the temple. He pled with the people to come again into the sanctuary of the Lord and worship and serve him so that his anger might turn away from them. If the people returned to the Lord, they would find compassion because the Lord is gracious and merciful and he will receive them as he had promised. Some of the people in the northern kingdom mocked the couriers and scorned the very idea that they should repent and come to Jerusalem to observe Passover. However, many in the north humbled themselves and departed for Jerusalem. God's hand was on Judah, and the people were unified, responding with repentance and obedience to the word of the Lord.
A Great Assembly And Great Grace
The people came together to Jerusalem for the Passover. The people went to work immediately, removing the forbidden altars and hurling them into the brook Kidron. Many in the congregation had not been ritually consecrated, and the Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for them which was technically a violation of the law of Moses. Although not properly consecrated, they ate the Passover meal in an unauthorized fashion because Hezekiah had prayed for their pardon and the Lord granted his request. God healed the people, and they began a weeklong celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. There was much singing and rejoicing in Jerusalem. These sounds had not been heard for many years. King Hezekiah encouraged the Levites in their ministry, and they served well before the Lord and the people sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord. The people decided to extend the festivities for another seven days, and they did so with much gladness. The King contributed 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep while the princes of Judah gave 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. A large number of priests consecrated themselves as the religious reforms took hold. This great assembly, filled with people from Judah and Israel, was joined by some sojourners from those places as well. Jerusalem was filled with joy, and the sounds of celebration filled the air, and the people experienced something that had not occurred since the days of Solomon. Revival had come to the land, and when the priests and Levites arose and blessed the people, their prayers were heard by God in his holy habitation.
Things To Consider:
- Why was the Passover so important?
- What was God delivering his people from this time?
- What does God's willingness to adjust the prescribed schedule teach?
- What was the return to Jerusalem really about?
- Why was Hezekiah so convinced that God would be merciful and gracious?
- Why is it significant that many from Israel joined Judah at the Passover celebration?
- Why did the unauthorized altars need to be removed before the people observed Passover?
- Why did the priests take their places according to the law of Moses? Did it matter since they were celebrating at the wrong time? Why or why not?
- What is atonement and why does it matter?
- Why is singing a part of worship?
- Why is the corporate worship of God necessary?
- Why did God hear the prayers of the priests and the Levites?