Morning Light – December 31st, 2015

MLToday: [2 Chronicles Thirty] Hezekiah Celebrates the Passover. In this chapter Hezekiah completes the repairs on the temple that his father Ahaz had defiled. The sacrifices are reconstituted and the city of Jerusalem is once more a city of joy and holiness. Hezekiah in his zeal reaches out to the northern tribes and invites them to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Some tribes mocked but others willingly came with humble hearts to connect with what God was doing. The result was a move of God that patterns for us what revival can look like in our day.
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[2Ch 30:1-27 KJV] 1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel. 2 For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month. 3 For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. 4 And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation. 5 So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done [it] of a long [time in such sort] as it was written. 6 So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, [who] therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. 8 Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers [were, but] yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. 9 For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children [shall find] compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God [is] gracious and merciful, and will not turn away [his] face from you, if ye return unto him.
Hezekiah in the previous chapter had repaired the temple and restored it to it’s ceremonially cleansed condition. The sin offerings and burnt offerings were carried out for the first time in many years because under Hezekiah’s father Ahaz the door of the temple had been sealed. Now having reconstituted temple worship Hezekiah’s ambition and zeal for the Lord knows no bounds. Not only does he invite the southern kingdom to come to the renewed temple he extends an unprecedented invitation to the 10 northern tribes to come to Jerusalem for the Passover.
Up until this point only Benjamin and Levi had continued in their fidelity to the Davidic kings. Under king Solomon’s reign a prophet had raised up a servant by the name of Jeroboam and given him the 10 northern tribes by the word of the Lord – because of Solomon’s idolatries. Now after generations of civil war and enmity between these brother nations Hezekiah brings down all his defenses and invites their enemies in the north to come again to the temple to sacrifice and celebrate the Passover.
The Passover is the one great feast that represents for us the new birth experience. In Passover Jesus is our savior. In Pentecost He is our baptizer and in Tabernacles He is our resurrection. In Hezekiah’s time the Passover becomes a great unifier of brother tribes once in enmity with one another. In Christ the new birth is a great unifier of peoples who otherwise have nothing in common but come together as brothers in Christ. In the early years of the Charismatic renewal unity was a theme that brought churches and groups together across national borders and denominational lines to celebrate oneness in Christ and the unity of the Holy Spirit. It has been many years since this has been in evidence in the body of Christ. It is one thing to cross ideological barriers and take your brother’s hand but in today’s cultural climate the church is more personality driven by strong and competitive leaders who are reticent to sanction their followers to connect with anything they do not control.
10 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the LORD. 13 And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation. 14 And they arose and took away the altars that [were] in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast [them] into the brook Kidron. 15 Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth [day] of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD. 16 And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, [which they received] of the hand of the Levites. 17 For [there were] many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one [that was] not clean, to sanctify [them] unto the LORD. 18 For a multitude of the people, [even] many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one 19 [That] prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though [he be] not [cleansed] according to the purification of the sanctuary.
When Hezekiah’s letters reached the northern tribes many mocked and turned away but others humbled themselves and came down willingly. Not everyone will be excited about what God is doing in your life. There will be those that you absolutely presume would delight to stand with you that will reject and disdain and marginalize what you claim God is saying and doing in your life. Hezekiah did not respond to these insults. Other kings before him would have mounts an invasion but instead Hezekiah focused on those that had repentance and willing hearts and the plan of God was advanced.
With all the different people’s converging upon Jerusalem to take the Passover there was some confusion. As a result there were many who inadvertently took the Passover without first being made ceremonially clean by the appropriate protocols. At this point many may have put their foot down and mired the celebration in legalistic demands of ritual purity. Hezekiah would have none of it. While being careful not to encroach on the priest’s office he declares that God will certainly pardon those who inadvertently took of the Passover without first carrying out the prescribed ritual.
There will be times that people will come into your life to connect with what God is doing. They will not all be in a good place spiritually nor will they understand the things of God as you do. Remember that the main thing has to stay the main thing. Mercy rejoices over judgment. Keep walking in love. Be willing to overlook religious nuance in order to achieve spiritual objectives. This was Hezekiah’s heart and God accepted his efforts and pardoned the people.
20 And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people. 21 And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, [singing] with loud instruments unto the LORD. 22 And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers. 23 And the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days: and they kept [other] seven days with gladness. 24 For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. 25 And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel [there was] not the like in Jerusalem. 27 Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came [up] to his holy dwelling place, [even] unto heaven.
Here is an example of the gift of healing working among the people in an Old Testament setting. The pardon of God is accompanied by sickness and disease being removed from their midst. The feast is conducted for seven days and then continues because there were more worshippers than could be accommodated in the traditional timeframe. There is rejoicing and singing and music. There are teachers of the Levites instructing the people for they will soon return to the north and there was no way of knowing when they would get the chance again to minister to them. There was joy in the city of Jerusalem unparalleled since Solomon’s time. For us this is an Old Testament perspective on what revival and renewal looks like. The status quo of dead religion and old rivalries are set aside. Preparing is made that began in the previous chapter with the people sanctifying themselves and cleansing the temple. The sacrifices were reconstituted and the nation is changed. What a wonderful example and hope for us to look past the seeming impossible spiritual decline that is gripping our nation and look for a better day that God is certainly capable of bringing about as we humble ourselves and yield ourselves to Him.

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