II Chronicles 30-31
Hezekiah had a proclamation written up (the cell phone of the day), and sent word throughout the land. Judah – and anyone from Israel who wanted to participate – was to gather at Jerusalem in two months to celebrate the Passover.
“O Sons of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that He may return to those of you who escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. And do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were unfaithful to the Lord God of your fathers, so that He made them a horror, as you see…For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and sons will find compassion before those who led them captive, and will return to the land. For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.”(30:6-9)
When Israel and Judah had strayed so far from the Lord, it must have seemed radical to many for Hezekiah to want to put out this proclamation. The people – including the kings and priests – were deriving their vision from those around them. The present culture, and not the true God, had established the patterns of thought.
Doesn’t that seem like today? Many leaders – even ministers – use the surrounding culture to establish how they want to live. Sometimes people begin to believe that they are too smart for our Christian God. (Boy are they wrong)!
Hezekiah turned to the ancient writings to remind himself of the way it was supposed to be. And he followed the course prescribed. This was huge, since this feast had not been celebrated for many years.
The priests and Levites were ashamed of themselves, because they had been unfaithful to God’s principles of worship.
When the celebration got underway, there was tremendous rejoicing. The people didn’t know what they were missing until they experienced it.
Then they all went about destroying the idols and altars to the foreign gods.
“So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.” (30:26)
There is great joy when we return to the truths of the Bible. Of course, there are certain things which are cultural. But there are certain truths which are constant whether you are living in New York City in a high-rise overlooking Central Park or a remote village of Africa. Or whether you lived two centuries ago or today. Certain truths prevail.
Oh, Lord, let us find the truth of your Word, and let us live it out the way you want us to!
There was certainly power in the words of Jesus! And power in His breath.
When the Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus, He said’ “Whom do you seek?” They answered, “Jesus, the Nazarene.” When Jesus replied “I am He,” the soldiers drew back and fell to the ground. (V. 4-5)
Now think about that for a minute. These Roman soldiers were not wimps. The Roman Empire was known for having a strong, disciplined army. They conquered all of the neighboring territories and brought them under subjection.
Don’t you think that they themselves were surprised when they fell down? Such power came out of the mouth of Jesus that they couldn’t withstand the force.
Now that’s what I call “power in your words!”
No one could take Jesus’ life until He was ready to lay it down. This was His time, so he submitted to the arrest and the coming trial.
“The cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”(V. 11)
Thank you, Lord, for doing that for us.