One of my favourite stories in the Old Testament is Hezekiah’s Passover in 2 Chronicles 30. It gives a fascinating account of the king’s attempt to host the Passover festival in Jerusalem. On the surface, it was a bit of a disaster.
First of all, they missed the original date and had to postpone it for a month (30:2-3). Then many of the Israelites refused to attend (30:10) and, of those who did, many weren’t adequately prepared (30:17a, 18). On top of that, there weren’t enough Levites (those who served in the temple) who were prepared for the event (30:15b).
What becomes clear, however, is that the Lord is at work in this hot mess of a Passover! He gave those who attended a unity of mind (30:12), heard Hezekiah’s prayer on behalf of those who ate the Passover in an unworthy manner (30:18b-20), and blessed the people at the end of the celebration (30:27). The outcome is that the people are filled with joy (30:21, 23, 25, 26) and then pour out of Jerusalem and destroyed their idols (31:1). This latter action is almost unique in Scripture; usually it is the king who seeks to destroy idolatry. Here it is the people! It’s a revival!
The principle is that even our stumbling attempts to turn to the Lord are met with his full-hearted response. As we prepare for the Day of Discernment (September 17) I have been thinking about this story a bit. Has our preparation been perfect? No. Are our hearts totally prepared to hear from the Lord? Probably not. Will the day be an exemplar of how to discern the voice of God. Again, probably not. However, I take great encouragement in the story of Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem.
As we turn to the Lord – to the best of our ability – I believe that he will meet us and, I pray, will do something amazing in our hearts. It is not too late to begin to pray for the day of discernment or to register!
Let us join together to seek the Lord and see what he does in our midst!