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Hezekiah: Faith And Weakness

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CHAPTER 30 Nov.1 
Hezekiah’s Great Passover
Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to Yahweh, the God of Israel. 2For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the assembly in Jerusalem, to keep the Passover in the second month. 3For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves in sufficient number, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. 4The thing was right in the eyes of the king and of all the assembly. 5So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to Yahweh, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem; for they had not kept it in great numbers in the manner that is written. 6So the couriers went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king saying, You children of Israel, turn again to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that He may return to the remnant that have escaped of you out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7Don’t be like your fathers, and like your brothers, who trespassed against Yahweh, the God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to destruction, as you see. 8Now don’t be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; but yield yourselves to Yahweh, and enter into His sanctuary which He has sanctified forever. Serve Yahweh your God, that His fierce anger may turn away from you. 9For if you turn again to Yahweh, your brothers and your children shall find compassion before those who led them captive, and shall come again into this land: for Yahweh your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away His face from you if you return to Him. 10So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, even to Zebulun; but there they were ridiculed and despised. 11Nevertheless certain men of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. 12Also on Judah came the hand of God to give them one heart, to do the commandment of the king and of the princes by the word of Yahweh. 13Many people assembled at Jerusalem to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great assembly. 14They 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. 15Then they killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought burnt offerings into the house of Yahweh. 16They stood in their place after their order, according to the law of Moses the man of God, and the priests sprinkled the blood which they received of the hand of the Levites. 
The Passover Kept in Uncleanness
17There were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves: therefore the Levites were in charge of killing the Passovers for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to Yahweh. 18For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than it is written. For Hezekiah had prayed for them saying, May the good Yahweh pardon everyone 19who sets his heart to seek God, Yahweh, the God of his fathers, even if they aren’t clean according to the purification of the sanctuary. 20Yahweh listened to Hezekiah, and healed the people. 21The children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised Yahweh day by day, singing with loud instruments to Yahweh. 22Hezekiah spoke to the heart of all the Levites who had good understanding in the service of Yahweh. So they ate throughout the feast for the seven days, offering sacrifices of peace offerings, and making confession to Yahweh, the God of their fathers. 23The whole assembly took counsel to keep another seven days; and they kept another seven days with gladness. 24For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly for offerings one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. 25All the assembly of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the assembly who came out of Israel, and the foreigners who came out of the land of Israel, and who lived in Judah, rejoiced. 26So 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. 27Then the priests and the Levites arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to His holy habitation, even to heaven.


30:1 By doing so, Hezekiah was seeking to bring together the spiritually minded of both Israel and Judah (see too :5). Technical divisions between God’s people are always ended ‘on the ground’ when like minded believers find they have so much in common, and the official divides between them only exist from a human viewpoint; God sees His people as one, whatever divisions between them there may be from human perspectives.
30:2 The second month- Passover was to be kept in the first month; but Hezekiah perceived the urgency which there is in serving God, and he rightly perceived it was better to technically infringe the Law in order to keep the spirit of it.
30:9 Note that if they turned to Yahweh, then their spiritually weak brethren currently in captivity would be blessed; to some extent, our spirituality can affect third parties.
30:12 God is capable of working directly on the human heart to make us obedient to His word; given the tragic weakness of our will, we should also ask Him to be with us in this way, as David often does in Ps. 119.
30:18 They ate the Passover otherwise than it is written- This needs to be ever remembered by those who fear they aren’t worthy to participate in the breaking of bread service, which is the Christian equivalent of the Passover feast. Our desire for God and His thirst for relationship with us are between them more than enough to make our weaknesses no barrier to remembering the great salvation He achieved for us in Christ. However, the reference in :20 to God’s healing of the people at this time suggests that although He agreed with their keeping of Passover in an unclean state (:12 “by the word of Yahweh”), He also made them recognize their sinfulness at this time.
30:23 If we truly love God, we will not be minimalists, doing the minimum required by His word; we will joyfully go beyond. For His commandments are but a springboard to more total dedication by us on our own initiative. We need to ask, when was the last time we decided to do something for God as it were “extra”, on our own initiative?