Invited to Worship

Posted: January 20, 2011 in 2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 29-30, “Invited to Worship”

At a time when God has already brought His judgment upon one half of His people (Israel/Samaria), a new king arises in Judah that sees the writing on the wall.  His father had been the most wicked king to date in Jerusalem, who had destroyed the temple instrument, erected false pagan altars, and even locked the doors to the temple.  Worse yet, the people had followed him in his apostasy.

What to do?  How to respond?  Repentance & revival!  The new king isn’t going to wait for the judgment of God to fall; instead he’s going to call the people to sincerity of worship in a way that hasn’t been seen since the days of Solomon.  The whole nation will be called to worship in spirit & truth!

2 Chronicles 29 (NKJV)
1 Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. 2 And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.

  1. Not only was Hezekiah a good king, he gets the highest compliment possible as a king of Judah: to do things according to David. There couldn’t be a greater contrast with his father than what’s shown here.  Ahaz was like the kings of Israel; Hezekiah was like King David.

3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them.

  1. How soon does Hezekiah get to reforms?  It’s virtually his very 1st act.  In the 1st month of the 1st year, Hezekiah opens the doors of the Temple that his father had shut.
  2. This is a vital 1st step in revival.  For revival to occur, people have to at least have the bare access to worship God.  There’s no way Judah could have had access if the doors of the Temple remained locked. For today, we need to remind people that we’ve been given access through Jesus Christ.  He is the Door/Gate…  He gives us access to the throne of God to find grace in our time of need…  When do we (as a Church – the people of God) need grace more than in times of revival when our worship has gone stale, our actions become sinful, and our theology become stained by compromise? …  We need to remind people of the bold access we have in Christ if we merely humble ourselves in repentance!

4 Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, 5 and said to them: “Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. 6 For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and turned their backs on Him. 7 They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel.

  1. After the temple is opened, the 2nd step for Hezekiah was to restore the priests & Levites to their ministry within the temple.  They needed to be sanctified – set apart/made holy for their work unto the Lord.
  2. How are people restored to their walk with the Lord?  In his instruction to the Levites, Hezekiah illustrates 3 steps.  Step #1: confession of sin…agree with God that sin is indeed sin, and there is no excuse for it.

8 Therefore the wrath of the Lord fell upon Judah and Jerusalem, and He has given them up to trouble, to desolation, and to jeering, as you see with your eyes. 9 For indeed, because of this our fathers have fallen by the sword; and our sons, our daughters, and our wives are in captivity.

  1. Step #2: understand the results & consequences of sin.  Sin always has consequences – the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23).  Whether that’s in regards to our fellowship with the Lord, or in our relationships with others, sin ALWAYS harms.  The longer we deny this reality, the longer it will take for us to get to a place of real repentance.  Why turn away from a practice you don’t think has any consequences?

10 “Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense.”

  1. Step #3: understand the right response to sin – repentance in turning back to the Lord.
  2. Where did the desire for repentance originate?  In the heart of Hezekiah.  Obviously at a more fundamental level the command of the Lord is involved as well (as is made clear in vs. 15) – but it’s clear that Hezekiah had a passion for a right relationship with God.  He wants to do what it takes to get back into that right relationship.
  3. Understand, this is the exact opposite of what Ahaz & the others of his generation.  They turned their back on the Lord, ignoring their covenant with God.  Hezekiah isn’t about to make the same mistake.  Instead of ignoring & disregarding the covenant, Hezekiah is going to reiterate & renew the covenant.
    1. This is exactly what we ought to do as well.  Instead of turning away from God, or pretending like nothing ever happened, we need to run TO our Lord & Savior.  When we do, we have a wonderful promise: if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (Jas 4:8); Jesus will not cast away any who come (Jn 6:37).

12 Then these Levites arose: Mahath the son of Amasai and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah; 13 of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeiel; of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; 14 of the sons of Heman, Jehiel and Shimei; and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. 15 And they gathered their brethren, sanctified themselves, and went according to the commandment of the king, at the words of the Lord, to cleanse the house of the Lord.

  1. The names of those (14) who stepped up to the task.  Were there others?  Perhaps – but these were likely the leaders or those who stepped up 1st.  Whoever they were exactly, we know what it is they did: they followed the commandment of the king & the commandment of God to cleanse the temple.
  2. Note that the restoration of the temple wasn’t just a nice thought in the heart of Hezekiah; his command was rooted in “the words of the Lord.”  Ultimately, this was a command of God; Hezekiah was merely the instrument to pass it along to the people & lead the people in obedience. Similarly for the Church – any exhortations we receive cannot merely be based in who’s a charismatic leader or emotional speaker; it must be based upon the revealed word of God! 

16 Then the priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and brought out all the debris that they found in the temple of the Lord to the court of the house of the Lord. And the Levites took it out and carried it to the Brook Kidron.

  1. Cleansing the temple.  “Debris” might be a reference to the items that Ahaz destroyed by cutting into pieces (Ch 28:24) – it might also be a reference to pagan items Ahaz had brought into the temple.  Either way, the temple building needed to be “cleansed” as opposed to the desecration it had suffered at the hands of the prior king.
  2. Likewise for the current temple of God (the Church).  In preparation for revival, we also need to be cleansed.  Our hearts & minds need to be swept clean of the thoughts & desires of the world as we dwell upon the good things of God.  (Phil 4:8-9)

17 Now they began to sanctify on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the vestibule of the Lord. So they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished. 18 Then they went in to King Hezekiah and said, “We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, the altar of burnt offerings with all its articles, and the table of the showbread with all its articles. 19 Moreover all the articles which King Ahaz in his reign had cast aside in his transgression we have prepared and sanctified; and there they are, before the altar of the Lord.”

  1. The process of sanctification…  Once it was completed, they gave a report to the king (demonstrating accountability).
  2. At this point, the temple is ready for worshippers; Hezekiah isn’t going to waste any time.  See vs. 20…

20 Then King Hezekiah rose early, gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord. 21 And they brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. Then he commanded the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the Lord. 22 So they killed the bulls, and the priests received the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. Likewise they killed the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar. They also killed the lambs and sprinkled the blood on the altar. 23 Then they brought out the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them. 24 And the priests killed them; and they presented their blood on the altar as a sin offering to make an atonement for all Israel, for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering be made for all Israel.

  1. Sin offerings were performed exactly according to the Law, per Leviticus 4.  Offerings were made for “the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah,” i.e. the ruler, the priests, and the people.  Probably only 3 sacrifices were truly necessary, but Hezekiah went up & above, wanting a “perfect” number of sacrifices.  He’s basically demonstrating that the nation is starting fresh again through virtually every kind of sacrifice possible at this time.
  2. Do we do the same thing today?  No; the perfect sacrifice has already been given: Christ Jesus.  We do live our lives as sacrifices in a reasonable response to what Jesus has done (Rom 12:1) – we do live our lives as sacrifices of praise (Hb 13:15) – yet when it comes to cleansing from forgiveness of sin, nothing more can be added to what the Lord Jesus has already done for us.  His shed blood is perfectly sufficient!
  3. Why were the sacrifices offered? “To make an atonement for all Israel.”  The nation needed to have their sins covered – exactly the purpose of the OT sacrifice.  Yet that pales to the atonement we have in Christ.  In Jesus, our sacrifices aren’t merely covered over; they’re completely done away with.  His blood is absolutely necessary for this; without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hb 9:22).

25 And he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets.

  1. So far, we’ve seen the restoration of the temple, the priesthood, and the sacrifices.  Now we see the restoration of worship & praise through song.  God commanded that singing would accompany the worship of sacrifice (via David – 1 Chr 25) & Hezekiah follows through precisely.

26 The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 Then Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord also began, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David king of Israel. 28 So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.

  1. Through the whole process of sacrifice, singing was heard & music sounded.  Why?  Why did God want the people to offer praises through sacrifice AND song?  Good question.  (1) Probably because He likes it…which is reason enough.  (2) Music has a way of uniquely fixing our attention in worship.  Although it’s possible to go through the motions (especially for musicians!), music serves as a great tool to help us focus upon the Lord while we give Him praise.  Paul alludes to this when he tells the Ephesians how to walk as people filled with the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 5:19-21 (19) speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, (20) giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (21) submitting to one another in the fear of God. []  The melody that is in our hearts because of our thankfulness to God needs a way of bubbling out of our lips – and singing is a marvelous way of doing that.
    1. When you have the opportunity, sing out to the Lord!  If for no other reason, simply because the Lord your God & Father has invited you to sing. J

29 And when they had finished offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed and worshiped. 30 Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped.

  1. How did the Levites sing?  With “gladness” as they worshipped.  Not in a dreary, ritualistic fashion, but with gladness of heart.  The passion that Hezekiah had exampled in desiring to renew the covenant with God was also reflected in the singing of the Levites as they offered their praise & worship.

31 Then Hezekiah answered and said, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, come near, and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord.” So the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.

  1. Once the leadership had finished with their sacrifices, the time was right to open it up to the rest of the congregation – and the nation responded, “as many as were of a willing heart.”  NT giving ought to be done in the same way – borne out of willing hearts & worshipful spirits as people give cheerfully, not out of compulsion (2 Cor 9:7).

32 And the number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. 33 The consecrated things were six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep. 34 But the priests were too few, so that they could not skin all the burnt offerings; therefore their brethren the Levites helped them until the work was ended and until the other priests had sanctified themselves, for the Levites were more diligent in sanctifying themselves than the priests.

  1. Relatively speaking, this was a small sacrifice from the people.  When the temple was originally built, Solomon had offered 22,000 bulls & 120K sheep! (2 Chr 7:5)  Yet even in this offering, there weren’t yet enough priests properly sanctified in order to do the work.  Hezekiah had given the command in vs. 5, and although some stepped forward, it wasn’t enough.  The priests had procrastinated & lost an opportunity to minister.
  2. Did the priests’ neglect of their duties stop the work of God?  No.  The Levites had been “more diligent” than their cousins & were able to pick up the slack.  God always will have a way to see His will accomplished.  Praise God that our own lack of preparation won’t get in the way of His will – but we miss out on the blessing of being used in the process.

35 Also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings and with the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order. 36 Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people, since the events took place so suddenly.

  1. At this point, the temple is back in service & worship is once again taking place in Judah.  Praise God!  Decades of neglect had been reversed because of the faithfulness of God’s people to God’s word.
  2. Note who gets the glory in all of this: not Hezekiah, but God.  Hezekiah was a wonderful leader used by the Lord among the people of Judah, but it was God Himself who had “prepared the people” for this time.

2 Chronicles 30 (NKJV)
1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel.

  1. Remember that the northern kingdom of Israel by this point had basically ceased to exist.  The Assyrians had come in & taken the people captive; those who remained were few & scattered – known more as Samaritans by this point than Hebrews.
  2. Yet Hezekiah is inviting the entire nation of Israel to come & worship during the Passover.  Originally, this had been God’s intent from the beginning of the nation: all the people were to gather in Jerusalem (or wherever the tabernacle was located) for three national feasts (Exo 34:23).  Despite their differences & previous wars with the north, Hezekiah obeyed the commandment of God & invited those who had previously been their enemies to come & worship alongside them.

2 For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month. 3 For they could not keep it at the regular time, because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem.

  1. Just a note from the Chronicler explaining why the date of the celebration was wrong.  Passover was originally supposed to be celebrated in the 1st month of the year (Exo 34:18).  With all the reforms & cleansing taking place, Hezekiah could not keep Passover at the appointed time according to the Law.  Yet at the same time, the leaders couldn’t see putting off the celebration for another year, so they proceeded as soon as they could in the 2nd month (according to the Law in Num 9:10-11).

4 And the matter pleased the king and all the assembly. 5 So they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner.

  1. Other than the timing, they wanted to proceed with Passover according to the word of God…which is admirable.  At the same time, there’s a rather sad commentary here: “they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner.”  How long had it been?  We might assume since the time of David – though the Bible doesn’t describe a Passover feast over which David presided.  However long it had been, it had been a LONG time!  The people had obviously long abandoned the word of God, which was demonstrated in many areas – but especially in Passover.
  2. Keep in mind that Passover to the Hebrews symbolized basically what the Cross symbolizes to Christians.  For THAT to be neglected & lost is truly tragic!  Yet the same thing happens too often in churches today.  The Cross of Christ is neglected for a gospel of self-sufficiency – the blood of Christ is deemed too “gory” to talk about in public, etc.  These things are the very foundation of our faith!  If Jesus didn’t go to the cross for our sin & if Jesus never rose again from the grave, we’ve got NO hope & no reason even to gather together!
    1. Too lean upon the word of God in the Scripture isn’t merely wise; it’s absolutely essential for us in order that we would stay grounded in Christ.

6 Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the command of the king: “Children of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel; then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria.

  1. Obviously this is before email, facebook, and twitter. 🙂  If the nation was going to hear an invitation, people actually had to go out & tell them.  Runners went out throughout the entire land, north & south to tell them about the Passover celebration.
  2. In all of this, we get a great picture of evangelism.  Representatives have been sent out by the king to invite them to repentance & worship of God – no different than the very thing our King Jesus has commissioned us to do.  Matthew 28:19-20 (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. []  In order to make disciples of Jesus, we have to go & proclaim the good news of Christ – how shall people hear unless someone preaches the news to them? (Rom 10:14)  Like those of Hezekiah’s court, we’re inviting people to repent & come worship God – which is only available through Jesus Christ.  We’re the “runners”…we don’t do the work of conversion; we simply run to tell others about the work & grace of God.

7 And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see. 8 Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.

  1. Hezekiah’s runners went with the invitation, but they also went with a bit of history.  They didn’t hesitate to share the “bad news” being brutally honest with people about their previous sin.  Their fathers had indeed “trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers” to dreadful results as the people experienced the wrath of God & other consequences of their sin.
  2. Although our current church culture tends to shy away from this, this is an essential part of evangelism.  We cannot be mute when it comes to sharing the “bad news” that has come about as the result of sin.  For the good news to be truly seen as “good,” people need to understand that the bad news is really & truly “bad.”  This is exactly what the law does – the law is our schoolmaster that brings us to Christ (Gal 3:24); the law teaches us what sin is (Rom 7:7) & as a result we understand our need for a Savior.  To know that the wrath of God is upon all of us because of our mental idolatry, our lustful hearts, our covetous hands, etc. (1st, 7th, & 10th Commandments) ought to make us run to the salvation & grace that God lovingly makes available to us through Christ.

9 For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.”

  1. Here’s the wonderful good news to those in the north!  If they but repent by turning back to the Lord, then God would see that they would be treated with compassion by those who had taken them captive & they would return to the land of God’s blessing & promise.
  2. The good news for our generation is similar, but far greater in scope!  To those who repent from their sin & turn to Jesus Christ in humility & faith, God promises freedom from the captivity of sin (Rom 8:2), the promise of forgiveness & life (Jn 3:16), a shared inheritance with Christ (Rom 8:17), the ever-presence of God (Hb 13:5), and much more!  “Good news” almost doesn’t seem like a good enough term to describe it all!  Truly this is good news!
    1. THIS is what we have the privilege to proclaim to all the world – THIS is what evangelism is all about!  (Rom 10:15b)  As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” []  May we be those who take the glad tidings of the good things of God to the entire world!

10 So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.

  1. The reaction from their countrymen is no different to the reaction of people today to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Some mock & laugh; others humble themselves & respond.  Our problem is that we’re so afraid of the first reaction that we shut ourselves down & don’t give people a chance to experience the 2nd reaction.  Simply because SOME will mock doesn’t mean that ALL will mock.  Some will humble themselves & respond to the glorious good news of Christ!  Even if 20 people refuse the gospel before 1 person receives it – isn’t that one person worth all the other times of rejection?

12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the Lord.

  1. Once the people of the north got there, would they be treated as former enemies?  No.  God gave the people “singleness of heart” in order that they would be able to worship side-by-side.  It’s no different in the gospel – we are united together by love in Christ!  Those who were once enemies are enemies no longer.  Those who were separated by class or riches or gender find all those things done away with in the Lord Jesus.  He is the One that gives us singleness of heart with one another as we seek the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph 4:3)

13 Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14 They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron.

  1. To this point, the attention has been focused on cleansing the actual temple & getting things ready there.  However, there were apparently still pagan altars throughout the rest of Jerusalem.  These were next to be discarded.  The people didn’t leave the possibility for compromise.  (Some bridges are best burned…)

15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood in their place according to their custom, according to the Law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites. 17 For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the Lord.

  1. Why were the priests & Levites ashamed?  Scripture doesn’t say. Perhaps it was because if they had kept the responsibility that had been entrusted to them, the nation would not have had to wait so long to celebrate the Passover.
  2. Just as there were priests who were lax in preparing themselves for service, there were people in the assembly who had been lax in preparing themselves for worship.  Technically, this was a problem as they were celebrating the covering they had for sin, while they were incurring more sin upon themselves at the same time.

18 For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone 19 who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.” 20 And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.

  1. Hezekiah interceded for the people.  Their actions were not completely “kosher,” but their hearts were sincere.  God obviously knew who was coming to Him with a sincere heart (rather than just following the crowd) & Hezekiah prayed that God would show grace to those who were truly humble.
  2. God heard & answered.  God always resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble! (Jas 4:6)  To those Christians who are truly seeking the Lord’s face & striving to walk worthy of the calling with which they were called – it can be discouraging to stumble & get tripped up by the old sins of the past.  But we serve a good & merciful God!  Are you truly humble?  Do you grieve over your sin?  Go to the Lord in prayer & confession!  If we confess our sin, He is faithful & just to forgive us our sins & cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

21 So the children 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 to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments. 22 And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.

  1. The feast was a success – they kept it according to the word of God with “great gladness”…it was a time of rejoicing.  It was also a time of learning as the Levites taught about the Lord (obviously from the Scriptures).  Heartfelt worship & sound doctrine have always gone hand-in-hand.  When either aspect is missing, something is wrong. …

23 Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness. 24 For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the leaders gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. 25 The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.

  1. The feast & sacrifices were extended due to the exuberance of the people.  They doubled the length, and brought a massive amount of sacrifices.  The priests had to continue sanctifying themselves because there was so much.
  2. Keep in mind, this is the way it should have been done for generations!  The last time this sort of national worship took place was in the days of Solomon.  11 kings have come & gone since that time & not a one of them (even out of the good kings) had the sort of national celebration that God had asked of them back in Exodus.
    1. Better late, than never!

27 Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their

prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.

  1. God heard the voices of His people – exactly as He promised He would.  2 Chronicles 7:14  if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. []

Conclusion:

After decades of turning their back on the Lord, the people repent & turn back to the Lord in sacrifice & worship, declaring their reliance upon Him for atonement & forgiveness of sin.  After a king who led the people in apostasy came a king that led the people in repentance.  The invitation to worship went out among the entire kingdom, and people responded in droves!

How do we respond to the same invitation?  To those who need to receive of the forgiveness of God, the promises & grace of God are available to all who humble themselves & come to Jesus Christ in faith.  To those who are believers, but stuck in a cycle of sin the same invitation is there to turn away, sanctify yourself & cast yourself upon the loving mercies of the Lord Jesus who already paid the price for you.  Come to Him for forgiveness – come to Him in worship – come to Him because of His glorious invitation!  Come!

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