Praying Through the Bible #31 | with Daniel Whyte III
TEXT: 2 Chronicles 30:15-20
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the new Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 30 messages in this series.
This is message #31 titled “Loving Sinners and Praying for Sinners”.
Our passage for today is set in the time of the Divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The northern kingdom of Israel had been defeated by the Assyrian army. God allowed the Assyrian army to take over Israel because Israel had turned to worshiping idols and, despite numerous warnings, refused to turn back to God. However, the southern kingdom of Judah was still holding on, and at this time, the southern kingdom had a righteous leader, King Hezekiah. Having seen what happened to the northern kingdom, Hezekiah planned a large Passover celebration at Jerusalem and invited the people who remained in the land of Israel to attend as well. Seeing that the northern kingdom was without a real leader, this was probably Hezekiah’s attempt to unite all of the children of Israel as one nation once again.
Hezekiah’s decision to invite the idolatrous northern tribes to Jerusalem for the Passover may have been a controversial one. But, God’s hand was with Hezekiah, and He guided him in putting together this great event. Today, I want us to notice three things that Hezekiah did that the church today can learn from when we are dealing with the world, or even when we are dealing with other Christians who have fallen into sin and unrepentance.
1. Notice that Hezekiah worked to make sure his own people were right with God. What do you think would have happened if the members of the northern tribes came to the Passover celebration, and they found that the children of Judah were not right with God themselves? Well, the Israelites would have mocked them. They would have said, ‘How dare you invite us to celebrate Passover when you’re not right with God yourselves.’
2. Notice that Hezekiah lovingly invited those who were not righteous to the feast. The northern kingdom had been hit hard by Assyria. Many of those of royal blood and those of the upper classes had been taken captive. Most of the people who were left behind were poor commoners who were farmers struggling to survive. These people had a religion that was corrupted — the worship of Jehovah mixed with pagan rituals. Yet, despite such a sad state of affairs, Hezekiah wanted to invite them to the Passover feast in Jerusalem.
3. Notice how Hezekiah prayed for the children of the northern kingdom. Once the Passover celebration was underway, Hezekiah realized that many of the people whom he had invited from the northern kingdom were ritually unclean and thus, according to Mosaic Law, should not be partaking in the Passover meal. The Bible says that “a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the Passover otherwise than it was written.”