A God Who Is Always Eager To Forgive

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If a medal or trophy was given to the Bible character with the most gall, who would you vote for? For me it is an easy pick: King Hezekiah.

Hezekiah came on board 200 years after the United Kingdom of Israel transformed into two divided Kingdoms, Israel and Judah. Two centuries of wars, hatred and idolatry had created a steel wall which separated these two nations and every King on both sides fully understood that.

Enter 25 year old King Hezekiah, filled with a boatload of gall.

2 Chron. 30:1 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 to the Lord, the God of Israel.

Who in his right mind would invite his vilest, idol worshiping enemy to the most special worship celebration of Jehovah in over 200 years? Hezekiah would. That invitation is what leads us to one of the dearest photos of God ever. Here is how the story goes.

First, some Israelites from Asher, Manasseh, Zebulun, Ephraim and Issachar show up. Jaws were certainly dropping all over Jerusalem. No one except Hezekiah expected that.

Second, the surprise guests from up north, probably due to ignorance, had not prepared themselves for Passover by offering their own consecrating sacrifice of a lamb as Ex. 12:3 commanded. “For there were many in the assembly who had not consecrated themselves.” In layman’s terms, they were all unclean.

Third, “For a majority of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than as prescribed.” Certainly some were asking, “What will God do?”

Fourth, Hezekiah prayed. “May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.” Notice that Hezekiah restricted his prayer to those who set their “heart to seek God”. He didn’t ask for special forgiveness for anyone who knowingly ate the Passover unclean. He drew God’s attention to the hearts of those celebrating the feast.

Finally, “And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.” What an example of the eagerness of the LORD to forgive and heal those who genuinely seek Him. Truly, as the LORD told Samuel, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7 The term “heal” no doubt points a finger directly at 2 Chron. 7:14 “if my people who are called by my name 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.” Truly this was one of the greatest celebrations to the glory of God in the entire Old Testament.

That is so important for every faithful follower of Christ to remember these days. God yearns to forgive those who sincerely worship Him. However, He limits His forgiveness to those who honestly seek Him from their heart. That is important for you and I to remember so that we know for certain that we seek Him with all of our heart. But it is also crucial for our family and friends to seek Him with all their hearts. Maybe we need to have a little talk with some of them, to remind them of this truth. After all, we want to spend eternity with them.

 Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at pawdad@nts-online.net.

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