…But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord , who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord , the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” – 2Chr. 30:18-19 NIV
513-It Is About Your Heart_07092021
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Today’s Devotional is the second part of the Devotional with the title, “Consolidate That Re-union”, where King Hezekiah and his council members took a decision to consolidate their new status with Jehovah by encouraging the people to operate in his precepts. The most urgent was the need for them to celebrate the Passover, which was a major celebration that marked their deliverance from the oppressive actions of Pharaoh and the Egyptians – Exo. 12:1-28.
In order to get the Priests and his people ready for this celebration which had not been held for a while, he made a proclamation which was sent throughout Israel from Beersheba to Dan (2Chr. 30:1-5), the content of which was as follows:
- That the people should return to the Lord , the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, so that He may also return to them – 2Chr. 30:6.
- That they should not behave like their parents and their fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord , the God of their ancestors, such that He made them an object of horror, as they must have witnessed – 2Chr. 30:7.
- That they do not become stiff-necked to the instructions of Jehovah, like their ancestors were but submit to the Lord – 2Chr. 30:8a.
- That they should come into his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever and serve Jehovah – 2Chr. 30:8b-9.
Despite the good intention of the king and his council with this proclamation, some people scorned and ridiculed them (2Chr. 30:10), but some men from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem for the celebration. The people of Judah also, having being touched by the hand of God, developed unity of mind to carry out the instruction of the king as he had been inspired by the Word of God – 2Chr. 30:11-12.
With some of the people having taken the final decision to break all their association with idols and activities involving other altars, by throwing all those altars into the Kidron Valley (2Chr. 30:13-14), they set out to offer the sacrificial lamb as the scriptures directed, with the Priests who had earlier consecrated themselves presiding and in some cases, helping those who had not consecrated themselves to kill their passover lambs – 2Chr. 30:15-17; Exo. 12:43-49. Although, no one who was not consecrated should eat of the Passover feast, some of the people who were not, did so but Hezekiah intervened by praying for them to save them from the consequences of such transgressions, and the scripture confirmed that Jehovah heard his pleas and healed the people – 2Chr. 30:18-20. The prayer of King Hezekiah is the focus of today’s Devotional and is enumerated below;
- King Hezekiah acknowledged that the Lord is good. This was the major foundation of his plea. Had the Lord not been known with that virtue, there will have been no basis for the plea. One only wished Christians will know this about Jehovah, that He is always good and will not allow the gravity of their sin to separate them from Him. Like he told the Israelites, no matter how bad the sin is, there is always an opportunity for discussion and forgiveness – Isa. 1:18; Eze. 33:11.
- He pleaded with Jehovah to pardon everyone whose heart is set on seeking Him, even if such is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary. This he was able to do because of his good relationship with Jehovah, his good heart and his sincere love for his people – 31:21.
Aside from those who refused to heed the king’s call, the prayer of the king during feast revealed four groups of people who were in attendance during the feast as follows;
- Those who heard the proclamation of the king, humbled themselves and attended in obedience to the proclamation – 2Chr. 30:11.
- Those whom Jehovah touched directly and thereby got the unity of mind to carry out the instruction of the king as inspired by the Word of God – 2Chr. 30:12.
- Those who attended even when they were not consecrated and spiritually ready for the celebration but had their heart set on seeing Jehovah – 2Chr. 30:19.
- Those who must have attended possibly for reasons of enjoying the celebration atmosphere and the plenty food and drink that was available. Not only were they not consecrated physically, even their heart were not set to seeing Jehovah as implied by the prayer of the King – 2Chr. 30:19.
Everyone who attended had much to eat and drink, not just for the traditional seven days divinely earmarked for the celebration, but for seven additional days that the whole assembly agreed to extend the celebration for, since they were having fun (2Chr. 20:22-23), but only those who belong to the first three groups were in a position to receive healing, based on the prayer of King Hezekiah – 2Chr. 20:20. They were also the only group of people that the prayer and the blessing of the priests and Levites will be relevant to – 2Chr. 20:27. The members of the fourth group probably went home with curses, because they ate the sacred sacrifice without being consecrated an act which the prayer of Hezekiah could not exempt them from because their heart was not set on seeking God. They also had little or no chance of benefitting from the benediction of the Priests and Levites, not because they were selective in their prayers, but for similar reasons as the one earlier stated.
The above classification also applies to attendees of Christian religious activities today. Many people are indeed present at all those activities and really seem to be having fun, dancing joyfully to the musical sounds coming from the choristers, only to get back to their homes feeling empty and unfulfilled. They simply cannot testify to any form of manifestation of their prayers. The scripture for today’s Devotional should provide one of the possible reasons why that situation will exist, as such people may need to confirm that the heart they went to church with, was one that was seeking Jehovah, as any other mindset will make such depart with no positive testimony associated with the act of worship. Such may have joined several others to celebrate, eating, singing and dancing but the absence of a God-seeking heart renders the joy very ephemeral. One should not forget that Jehovah reacts more to the state of the heart of men and will always relate with them accordingly. Always come to the house of the lord or to any Christian gathering for that matter, with only one thought, which is to seek God. Any other thought pattern will only make the joy very temporal with all the time spent in such situations, becoming a waste. May God grant us the right thought pattern that will always seek Him alone at all times, especially when we come before His presence in Jesus name. Amen.