Chapters 29 and 30 in the Book of Second Chronicles tell the inspiring story of a “revival” that took place under the leadership of Hezekiah, King of Judah. The Assyrians had already overrun the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the people of Judah had strayed from their devotion to God. But Hezekiah knew that faithfulness to the covenant would be the key to maintaining the health and safety of his kingdom; so he restored the Temple, re-instituted the sacrificial offerings, and invited his people to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover in the way they had been instructed by the Lord.
Interestingly, the Bible notes that many people who came to this Passover celebration failed to purify themselves in the way that the scriptures required. And yet, they participated in the holy feast anyway. So, what should be our attitude to those who “take lightly” the traditions that have been handed down to us, or who fail to maintain the standards of righteousness that the Lord requires?
Well, here’s how Hezekiah responded: “‘May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God—the LORD, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.’ And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.” (2 Chronicles 30:18-20)
Even in this day and age, we are sometimes tempted to spend our energy debating the externals of worship (what should we wear, what kind of music should we use, etc) rather than focusing on the heart of the matter. And the heart of the matter has to do with what (or better – who) our hearts are seeking: Are we seeking the Lord — desiring to honor him, albeit imperfectly? Or are we seeking to “check off a spiritual box” — to go through the “right” religious motions so that we can feel like we’ve done our duty and earned God’s favor?
May we set our hearts on seeking God today. And even when we pursue that goal imperfectly, may God hear us – and heal us – and make us the kind of people through whom His glory is made visible.