Saturday, September 22. 2 Chronicles 30 – 32

    When I read 2 Chronicles 30 I am reminded of the little epigram by Edwin Markham: “”He drew a circle to shut me out, heretic rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win, we drew a circle that took him in.”

    One of Hezekiah’s great projects was to unite the northern and southern kingdoms: not so much politically, but spiritually.  The political unions had failed.  Rehoboam had, early in his reign, tried to force the reunification of God’s people.  Other kings, notably those from the north, had tried the same thing without success.  You cannot effect unity by conquering people.  Jehoshaphat had tried unity through an alliance (2 Chronicles 18).  Amaziah had tried it by hiring Israelite soldiers (2 Chronicles 25).

    None of it had worked.

    I don’t know if Hezekiah’s real goal was political union.  Instead, if he could just get all of Israel to worship together, and to worship the one true God, in the place God had caused His name to dwell, that would be enough.

    He could, rightly, exclude the northern kingdom.  After all, as idolators, they were certainly not purified to worship the Lord.  But Hezekiah, for a greater good, drew a circle to take them in.  Hezekiah made concessions.  The Passover was held at the wrong time (yes, such was permitted for those unprepared, but Hezekiah changed it for everyone).  It lasted twice as long as God specified.  Some of the participants were not qualified to participate.  Hezekiah knows all of this, but he does it anyway, and prays that God will find it acceptable.

    Is this an example of disobeying God and asking God to make it ok?

    Not really.  It is an example of people trying to do what God wants under impossible circumstances.  Hezekiah wasn’t changing the date of the Passover for all time.  He wasn’t saying it wasn’t important to prepare for it by purification.  He wasn’t saying they could disobey God’s will.  He wasn’t even saying these irregularities would be ok.  He was simply doing the best he could to bring God’s people together for worship, and he asked God to make it ok.

    And God did.

    It’s a testimony to God’s grace, and His desire for unity among His people.