Throughout Israel’s history, we see neglect and return. Israel neglects the commands of God, repents, and returns to the ways of God. At times we catch ourselves judging Israel and thinking, how could a people who saw such great miracles so quickly turn from God? But in reality, we are no different; we often neglect to obey the Lord, we forget to repent of the “little sins,” and at times don’t even realize we have committed them.
Time and again, we see God extend grace and mercy to His chosen people. Countless Scriptures speak of God’s everlasting covenant and how He will not cast away His own.
In Second Chronicles chapter thirty, we see such a story. Israel had neglected the Passover for years but had returned to the ways of God and wanted to honor the Lord by celebrating His feast. The only problem was that it was the second month; Passover had already passed over; what was Israel to do?
2 Chronicles 30:1-5 TLV “Hezekiah then sent word to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the House of Adonai at Jerusalem to keep the Passover for Adonai, the God of Israel. 2 The king and his officials and the entire congregation in Jerusalem had decided to celebrate Passover in the second month. 3 For they were not able to celebrate it at the regular time, since not enough kohanim had consecrated themselves, nor had the people assembled in Jerusalem. 4 The matter seemed right in the eyes of the king and of the entire community. 5 So they decided to issue a decree and to proclaim it throughout all Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan, calling the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for Adonai, the God of Israel. For it had not been celebrated as prescribed for a long time.”
It goes on to say in verses eighteen through twenty, “Although a great multitude of the people—many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun—had not purified themselves, they still ate the Passover lamb contrary to what is written. But Hezekiah prayed for them saying: “May Adonai who is good, atone for 19 every one who prepares his heart to seek Adonai, the God of his fathers, even though he is not pure according to rules of the sanctuary.” 20 Adonai heard Hezekiah and healed the people.”
The time of the feast had passed, but the people wanted to honor the Lord, and He granted their request. That is the grace of God, and that is the love of God’s people. So before we are quick to judge Israel for their mistakes, let us examine ourselves. Even when the people were not fully prepared for the festival, God extended mercy and allowed them to celebrate.
Joy so overwhelmed the people of Israel that they decided to celebrate for seven more days. This is the joy that is found in serving God! Think about it, three times a year; God invites His people to a celebration, a feast of the Lord! This is the joy of our salvation, and this story displays the grace and mercy of God and His love of celebration.
Remember the words of Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
That is our God, and that is our Lord and Savior! When we sin, we should run to Him, not from Him! There is grace and forgiveness for those who repent. There is correction and direction for those who seek the wisdom of God, and there is a celebration to be had at our Father’s table.