Monday, May 28, 2007

Seeking God

The Bible tells us Hezekiah was a good king. He destroyed the pagan shrines in Judah and cleaned out the pagan pollution from the Temple of Jehovah. He restored right worship in the Temple and brought back celebration of the Passover.

Only problem was, his religious reforms came so suddenly that the priests weren’t ready for the job. Thousands of animal sacrifices had to be made, and not enough priests had gone through cleansing ceremonies. So Hezekiah bent the rules. He celebrated the passover a month late, allowed the people to eat it in ways other than prescribed, and apparently allowed the Levites to do some of the priests’ work. These decisions seemed right in the eyes of the king and the people (1 Chron. 30:4). After years of false religion in Jerusalem, Hezekiah was so eager to worship Jehovah that he was willing to do it almost right. But what did God think about these changes?

God was OK with it, at least in this case. The hand of God was with Judah (1 Chron. 30:12). The Lord heard the prayers of Hezekiah and healed the Jews (30:20). None of this is to say it’s OK to ignore God’s rules. No doubt both Hezekiah and God would have preferred the people follow the rules more precisely. But Hezekiah knew that even more than God cares about strict obedience to rules of behavior, God wants his peoples’ hearts turned to him in humbleness and love.

(c) Copyright 2007, A. Milton Stanley


Sista Cala said...

I had not thought of this passage in a long time. Seems to me it could be a principle to apply to new converts. Rather than wait until they have cleaned themselves up, laid down habits, and donned a new wardrobe; upon their confession of faith, they should be encouraged to begin worshipping immediately.

Milton Stanley said...

You're right, SC. Christians should begin worshiping immediately at their conversion. The cleaning up is an ongoing process. Peace.