Yesterday I was taking a minute to glance through (not read.....that requires time and intention) my bible in between running(see: huffing, puffing, crying) with a good friend and going to volunteer @ The D (best nonprofit coffee shop in Boise) and I can across this story in 2 Chronicles 30.....
It's King Hezekiah and he decides that they should celebrate Passover. They haven't been because the king before didn't follow the Lord. So he gets everything ready and tells all the people to come to Jerusalem to participate in this celebration even though the actual 'time' of Passover has come and gone. So the people come and even though they hadn't 'purified' themselves, they ate the Passover which was against what was written in the Law.
Back then, what you did...how you did it....when you did it....and even who did it was a BIG deal. It was a lot of what the relationship between man and God was about....at least in action.
So, it's a big no no that these people who hadn't prepared themselves for the Passover were participating.
But Hezekiah prays saying "May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God-the Lord, the God of his fathers-even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary." And then the next verse says 'And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.' (2 Chronicles 30:18-20)
In my hurried....well the bible is sitting on my coffee table, I should glance at it while I eat my oatmeal...time of reading this story I was completely struck.
I don't particularly enjoy reading the old stories of the bible. I've never been much into history....and I find it hard to relate to stories because they don't really come w/much commentary.
And I feel like it's the list of rules we need to get to God that we are no longer under since the New covenant with Jesus-and here I am looking at this story and I'm like slapped in the face w/how God is, in the midst of law, most concerned with people's hearts.
Jesus died and we no longer have to kill animals and follow long rituals to have relationship with God. No longer is access to Him like a staircase of legalistic rules.
He wants our hearts to long after Him.
And so it was in this story!
Hezekiah knew these people hadn't gone through the process of making themselves clean....of preparing to participate in Passover, and he asked God to show up anyway because these people were seeking Him with their hearts.
And He did.
God is the same, yesterday-today-forever and I feel like this story really pointed that out to me yesterday. That He IS good-all the time and He wants our hearts.