2 Chronicles 30:18-20
The majority of the many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun were ceremonially unclean, yet they ate the Passover in violation of what is prescribed in the law. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying: “May the Lord, who is good, forgive everyone who has determined to follow God, the Lord God of his ancestors, even if he is not ceremonially clean according to the standards of the temple.”
The Lord responded favorably to Hezekiah and forgave the people.
Here is a great spot in the Old Testament showing people getting close to God–not by following the Law but by being sincere and turning to Him with all of their hearts.
Hezekiah called the whole nation to celebrate the Passover. The priests weren’t properly prepared, the people weren’t properly prepared, but since it hadn’t been done in so long, they had to start somewhere.
God accepted them and they were so delighted in the Passover they continued it for another 7 days beyond the amount of time the Law required. The chapter ends with God listening and being pleased with all they had to offer Him.
This makes me think about all of the pickiness we bring when we go to church on Sunday. Here is God, overlooking some blatant screw-ups during one of His most important holy days:
- Celebrated in the wrong month
- Celebrated by unprepared priests & Levites (should have only been priests that were clean)
- Celebrated by people that were unclean
- Celebrated by many people that weren’t even Jewish!
- Celebrated longer than God ever ordered it to be
- Celebrated in ways God never intended (with sacrifices from the king in addition to being from the people)
Next time you are at church (if you know me, you know I’m the “you” in this sentence) and you want to gripe or be critical about the way things are being done, look at this hot mess in 2 Chronicles 30. Very little went according to God’s plan, and look what happened:
The Lord responded favorably to them as their prayers reached his holy dwelling place in heaven. 2 Chronicles 30:27