2 Chronicles 30.1-11 – Sin, repentance and the remaking of hearts
Posted: 17 October 2012 in 2 Chronicles

And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel…. For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem…. So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. So the posts went with the letters from the king…. saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see….. but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.

Earlier in the books of Chronicles, and of Kings, shortly after the northern kingdom had split away from Juda, the northern Kingdom had been described as being in rebellion. It is easy to see in that the slightly biased attitude of somebody living under the Davidic dynasty, in the southern Kingdom. Nevertheless, it appears in the pages of scripture, and so, whatever the human author’s motives, we must suppose that the Divine Author there reveals to us an objective truth: Namely that the northern kingdom really was in rebellion against God’s rule over them.

In the above passage, centuries later, Hezekiah invites them to return to the southern kingdom, and take part in the yearly Passover festival at the only venue God had established for the purpose: Namely the temple in Jerusalem. In response to the invitation Hezekiah’s messengers are mocked.

This passage speaks much about the recalcitrance of humans when men (and women) are invited to repent of their ways and return to God. In fact there would be no repentance at all, were it not for the work of the Holy Spirit in converting the hearts, and bringing people to God. Hezekiah’s messengers were also God’s messengers, and it must be assumed that those few who did respond had been subject to the Holy Spirit’s activity in remaking hearts. In fact it pretty well says as much (or at least implies as much) in the very next verse (verse 12). Having nothing to offer God except our sin, and yet being undeserving recipients of his mercy, we ought to have all the motive we need for never ending worship of God – both now and in eternity.

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