Gracefully Truthful

Love,Relationship,Relentless,Repent,Return,Sacrifice

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

2 Chronicles 30:1-7

Then Hezekiah sent word throughout all Israel and Judah, and he also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem to observe the Passover of the Lord, the God of Israel. 2 For the king and his officials and the entire congregation in Jerusalem decided to observe the Passover of the Lord in the second month, 3 because they were not able to observe it at the appropriate time. Not enough of the priests had consecrated themselves, and the people hadn’t been gathered together in Jerusalem. 4 The proposal pleased the king and the congregation, 5 so they affirmed the proposal and spread the message throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, to come to observe the Passover of the Lord, the God of Israel in Jerusalem, for they hadn’t observed it often, as prescribed.

6 So the couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the hand of the king and his officials, and according to the king’s command, saying, “Israelites, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel so that he may return to those of you who remain, who have escaped the grasp of the kings of Assyria.”

The Original Intent

1) What was the purpose of Hezekiah’s message to Judah and Israel? (verse 1)

At the time of this writing, the kingdom of Judah had been ruled in its most recent years by the extremely vile King Ahaz. (2 Kings 16:1-4) As a godless ruler, he had shut down worship in the temple. But the Lord God, in His mercy, allowed Hezekiah (Hebrew Ychizqiyah = “Jehovah has made strong”) to reign after his father. The Lord God protected Hezekiah from the wicked example of Ahaz and taught Hezekiah to live up to his name by trusting Jehovah, the One True God.

Being a righteous and humble king (2 Kings 18:5-7), one of the first things Hezekiah did was to restore worship in the temple. (2 Chronicles 29:1-3) As part of that restorative process, he reinstated the Passover celebration. (Exodus 12:1-16) Through proclamation and written letters, the king invited the remnant of the Northern tribes of Israel to join with the people of Judah in celebration. 

[Sidenote: The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh represent the northern kingdom as a whole. (Hosea 4:16-17) At this time in history, Israel was split between North and South kingdoms.]  

Although the Northern Kingdom had been captured (2 Kings 17:6-7), Hezekiah extended an invitation to those inhabitants left behind by the Assyrians. It is unthinkable that the people of Israel, by neglecting the Passover observation, had ceased to habitually remember what the Lord had done for them. It had been instituted by God to be a reminder of their intimate relationship with Him.

As we will discover in the following verses, the people had become all too accustomed to neglecting the things of the Lord. King Hezekiah genuinely desired for the Israelites to rededicate themselves to Yahweh. He was putting action to his desire by extending a call for all of Israel to come to the temple in Jerusalem, to worship, and to “reremember”!

The Everyday Application

2) Why had the observance of Passover been neglected for so long? (verses 2-5)

How could the people have forgotten to remember those firstborn children who survived as the Angel of Death passed over the homes with blood-covered doorposts? (Exodus 12:13-14) How could they not rehearse how God had delivered them from the slavery of Egypt?

Friend, maybe as you consider their forgetfulness, you’re cringing as I am. We know how it can happen, don’t we? All too often I find myself rehearsing my complaints rather than my blessings. As I do this, I become more and more convinced that God hasn’t really done that much for me. My worship of Him becomes stale as my passion dwindles.

Lord, may this not be! How could I spend so much time in this place of forgetfulness when You have done so much for me?!

By His grace, God convicts my heart to recall His faithful mercy. As I come to Him, the grace FLOWS in! I sing with psalmist of His goodness, kindness, and blessing. (Psalm 103) Can you remember His goodness to you today? If there’s nothing else that comes to mind, you can thank Him for the salvation He has provided us through His Son.

Maybe you think it’s been too long, and He won’t receive you.  Oh, His grace is FOR you right now. Even if you’re only able to whisper it, just start humming and the song of worship will come.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.

The invitation to come to Him is for all of us, sweet Friend. And there’s no cost to us. Just come to Him! (Revelation 22:17)

The Original Intent

3) How did the officials and congregation respond to the Hezekiah’s request? (verse 6)

We are told in verses 4-5 that the people of Jerusalem responded to the reinstating of Passover observance with affirmation and action. Hezekiah and his officials came together to call the people to respond with repentance and remembrance.

The news of the celebration spread “from Beersheba to Dan”, which was a figurative way of referring to all of Israel, including the southern and northern extents. (verse 5) The couriers (haratzim: “runners” who formed a portion of the king’s body-guard) spread the word, “Israelites, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel […].” (verse 6)

Hezekiah sought to bring revival to the land by calling the people together. (Psalm 80, Isaiah 58) Maybe the king recalled God’s response to the prayer of his ancestor King Solomon, “[If] my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 6 and 7)

Hezekiah was reminding the remaining Israelites of God’s promise to the humble and while giving a history lesson within his invitation. The God to whom they were to return is THE God of their rich heritage, the One of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Genesis 35:9-15) Hezekiah appeals to their understanding of God by calling on them to remember.

In the next verses, we see his desire to persuade them with reasons. In verse 9, the mercy of God is proclaimed, which was such a mercy that existed even in their case of sinful forgetfulness! Shouldn’t they realize they are but a remnant left from the devastation at the hands of the Assyrians?! “Could anything be expressed more pathetically, more movingly? Could there be a better cause, or could it be better pleaded?” (Matthew Henry)

The Everyday Application

2) What significance might we find in Jesus using the rich man’s thoughts (intentions) in the parable? (verses 17-19)

I haven’t found in Scripture a hardcore atheist in the philosophical sense. Many of the pagans didn’t know anything about the one true God. Others believed there was a God, but they did not follow Him. Most thought of God as a distant deity with the idea that “There is no God here.”

The crowd of people could likely relate to the sin of the rich man who was living for himself just as we can. He didn’t see people and he didn’t see God. He talked to himself about himself. The man who interrupted Jesus seems to be the exact same way. He wanted Jesus to fix a problem he had. His heart wasn’t in tune with Jesus’ mindset or mission.

My Sister, I don’t want to lose sight of what God is saying to me, nor do I want to miss the people around me to whom I should minister or witness. Jesus’ story was about a man who hoarded his grain. That grain would be a great resource for the people around him. By stashing it away, this man was not a life-giver. Ironically, he lost his own life.

Jesus said of Himself, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35) We don’t need to store up earthly treasures for ourselves because we have Jesus! We don’t want to spend all we have on ourselves because others need Jesus, too.

It is a tragedy when people think this life is all there is. But even more tragic is when we know there’s another life, but we spend all our time and resources investing only in this one!

Friend, Jesus asks us to hold our earthly possessions loosely so we can have freedom to carry people to Him.

The Original Intent

3) How did the officials and congregation respond to the Hezekiah’s request? (verse 6)

We are told in verses 4-5 that the people of Jerusalem responded to the reinstating of Passover observance with affirmation and action. Hezekiah and his officials came together to call the people to respond with repentance and remembrance.

The news of the celebration spread “from Beersheba to Dan”, which was a figurative way of referring to all of Israel, including the southern and northern extents. (verse 5) The couriers (haratzim: “runners” who formed a portion of the king’s body-guard) spread the word, “Israelites, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel […].” (verse 6)

Hezekiah sought to bring revival to the land by calling the people together. (Psalm 80, Isaiah 58) Maybe the king recalled God’s response to the prayer of his ancestor King Solomon, “[If] my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 6 and 7)

Hezekiah was reminding the remaining Israelites of God’s promise to the humble and while giving a history lesson within his invitation. The God to whom they were to return is THE God of their rich heritage, the One of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Genesis 35:9-15) Hezekiah appeals to their understanding of God by calling on them to remember.

In the next verses, we see his desire to persuade them with reasons. In verse 9, the mercy of God is proclaimed, which was such a mercy that existed even in their case of sinful forgetfulness! Shouldn’t they realize they are but a remnant left from the devastation at the hands of the Assyrians?! “Could anything be expressed more pathetically, more movingly? Could there be a better cause, or could it be better pleaded?” (Matthew Henry)

The Everyday Application

3) How did the officials and congregation respond to the Hezekiah’s request? (verse 6)

What a beautiful restoration awaits those who respond to the Father’s invitation. The irony in Israel’s history is seen in the way their disobedience continued to reveal God’s heart of never-ending mercy. (Lamentations 3:21-24) In Malachi 3:7, God called His people to come back to Him, once again demonstrating His desire for them to remember what they had experienced in His presence.

Oh Sister, don’t you love that God won’t let us forget for too long? He will keep pursuing us with His goodness and mercy. (Psalm 23:5-6) We only need to turn around and see Him there and remember Who it is that has rescued and kept us. I’ve experienced times of genuine revival in my own life which have produced so much blessing that my lingering doubts about God’s love are diminished. It’s for our good that we come near the Lord. We then can taste and see His goodness. (Psalm 73:26-28, Psalm 34:8)

I am forever grateful our good Father draws us back with enduring kindness just as He called to Israelites, “Return to the Lord … that He may return to you”. (Zechariah 1:3) Of course, it is so much better if we never forget, but, Sister, we can begin to reremember right now! The invitation to the celebration and remembrance of His goodness is open now. All we need is to come in humble confession and prayer. (2 Chronicles 7:13-15, 1 John 1:9)

“In short, it is a time … to remember what God has done in the past and to infuse the present with hope for a future life of well-being and communion with God.” (Graham, M. Patrick, “Setting the Heart to Seek God” Worship and the Hebrew Bible)

Listen in to “Re-surrender” and ask the Lord for revival to grow within you!

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