There were many in the assembly who had not consecrated themselves. Therefore the Levites had to slaughter the Passover lamb for everyone who was not clean, to consecrate it to the Lord. For a majority 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. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.” And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. And the people 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 the Lord day by day, singing with all their might to the Lord. And Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good skill in the service of the Lord. So they ate the food of the festival for seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord, the God of their fathers.
Then the whole assembly agreed together to keep the feast for another seven days. So they kept it for another seven days with gladness. II Chronicles 30:17b-23 ESV
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light. Psalm 36:7-9 ESV
Sarah and Jennet’s parents were strict about table manners at mealtime. Even when they were little girls they were taught to chew quietly with their mouths closed, use their napkins properly, cut only one piece of food at a time to eat, and to sip their drinks without slurping. In their family, good table manners were a way to show respect for each other and to make mealtime pleasant for everyone. But one day Sarah invited her friend Megan to dinner. Megan’s family didn’t eat meals together at the table, and Megan had never learned good table manners. She stabbed her food with the fork that she held in her fist, put her dirty napkin on the table, and talked while she was chewing food. But Sarah’s parents didn’t scold Megan for her bad manners. They knew that she hadn’t been taught good manners, so they overlooked the things she did wrong and enjoyed having her as a guest in their home.
The same kind of thing happened when Hezekiah invited people from the northern kingdom to the big Passover celebration. Most of the people laughed at his messengers and wouldn’t come for the festival. But there were a few people who did come, and they had lived for a long time without celebrating the Passover. No one had ever taught them the proper way to make themselves clean before they ate God’s holy meal. Following the Lord’s law for being clean was very important. It was a way to show respect for God’s holiness and it showed that the people took their sins seriously. God punished people who didn’t obey his laws for being clean, but King Hezekiah prayed for the people who came down to celebrate the Passover without being clean. He asked the Lord to forgive them, and God heard his prayer and didn’t punish the people who weren’t clean. The people enjoyed this Passover celebration so much that they celebrated for an extra week!
We know the same love and forgiveness with God. We can’t come to God clean from sin, because there’s no way for us to get rid of the sin in our hearts and lives. But God sent Jesus to clean us by dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Because of Jesus, we are clean from sin and can come to God freely. Our Heavenly Father loves us and is happy when we come to him. We enjoy being with God, and our time with God isn’t only for one week or two weeks. God is with us all the time, and our time with him will continue in his heavenly kingdom, a time that will last forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving our sins and accepting us for Jesus’ sake. In His Name, Amen.