“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 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. And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.”
2 Chronicles 30:18-20
Man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). In God’s economy, what is happening in our hearts is far more important than our outward conduct. We may impress others with our apparent acts of piety, but God sees what is really motivating us. In the days of His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus warned that there would be no reward from God for works done with the wrong motives (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16). Today’s passage reveals the positive corollary to this teaching. That is, God was willing to cleanse and forgive the sins of His people even when they did not follow the dictates of the Mosaic Law to the letter. King Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah that God’s people should gather in Jerusalem to keep the feast of Passover as commanded in the Law (2 Chronicles 30:1). There was an amazing response to the King’s invitation; an enormous crowd appeared in Jerusalem to honor the Lord by keeping the Passover feast (2 Chronicles 30:13). Nevertheless, because they were in a ritually un-sanctified state (verse 17), the Levites (not the heads of the families as prescribed in the Law) slew the sacrificial animals and brought their blood to the priests to administer (v.16). The amazing thing here is that God was willing to overlook this modification to His Law, choosing rather to respond with grace to the sincere desires of His people and the heart-felt prayer of their godly king. The whole account reminds us that our God is not a heartless tyrant, but a loving and forgiving Father who desires above all that we come into a love/trust relationship with Him (Matthew 22:36-38). Today’s passage also reminds us of our great and blessed King, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, like king Hezekiah in the days of old, made intercession for the people. “Father, forgive them” cried Jesus from the cross, “for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Unlike Hezekiah, whose intercessory ministry ended centuries ago, Jesus ever lives to represent us to His Father (1 John 2:1-2; Hebrews 7:25) and to present us faultless before His throne (Jude 24). May this revelation of God’s heart on the matter strengthen and encourage us all today.
God bless you dear saints,