God’s Grace

2 Chronicles 30-32

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Friday, December 2

Just a couple quick things to notice in these readings. One is that our readings this week have covered more than 200 years of Israel’s history. To put it in context of United States history, George Washington would have been president when this week started and most of you will be retired by the end of tomorrow’s reading. Just imagine how much has happened that we know nothing about. If you remember your readings in 1 and 2 Kings, you’ll notice differences in the story. I was surprised that this account does not include the sun moving backwards as a sign of  Hezekiah’s healing, nor does it give as dramatic an account of the defeat of the Assyrian king Sennacherib.

I want to focus now on 2 Chronicles 30:13-22. The back story is that Hezekiah is determined to celebrate the Passover like it had not been done since the time of Solomon. He is not content to celebrate only with those loyal to David in Judah, but has reached out to the northern tribes, many of whom have already been defeated and carried away captive by the Assyrians. Many have refused to come, but Judah graciously welcomes those who do.

Notice verses 18-20. “For a multitude of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the passover otherwise than as prescribed. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “The good LORD pardon all who set their hearts to seek God, the LORD the God of their ancestors, even though not in accordance with the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.” The LORD heard Hezekiah, and healed the people.”

We have noticed throughout our readings that God gave strict instructions as to how his feasts were to be celebrated. Yet here we see grace, first in inviting those who were outside the faithful of Judah to celebrate the feast, and then in pardoning their mistakes in celebrating the feast. God understands human weakness.

We might imagine a person visiting our church who does not know how to behave in church. Perhaps she doesn’t know how to dress, perhaps he uses language that many would consider inappropriate. They don’t know the words to the songs, don’t know when to stand, when to sing, when to be quiet, what communion is about. Can we be glad they are with us, rather than focusing on their mess ups? How can we gracefully communicate that we are glad they are with us, welcoming them as Christ welcomes us?

-Greg Demmitt

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