All Israel Invited to the Passover
30 Now 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 [a]celebrate the Passover to the Lord God of Israel. 2 For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem had decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month, 3 since they could not celebrate it at that time, because the priests had not consecrated themselves in sufficient numbers, nor had the people been gathered to Jerusalem. 4 Thus the thing was right in the sight of the king and [b]all the assembly. 5 So they established a decree to circulate a [c]proclamation throughout all Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to celebrate the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem. For they had not celebrated it in great numbers as it was [d]prescribed. 6 The [e]couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the hand of the king and his princes, even according to the command of the king, saying, “O sons of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that He may return to those of you who escaped and are left from the [f]hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their fathers, so that He made them a horror, as you see. 8 Now do not stiffen your neck like your fathers, but [g]yield to the Lord and enter His sanctuary which He has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that His burning anger may turn away from you. 9 For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive and will return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.”
10 So the [h]couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord.
For those who are in rebellion, the way of the Lord often seems foolishness, but to those whose heart is searching for truth, it is their salvation and peace. Hezekiah was not only reacting to his own father’s mistakes, but those of the kings of Israel. For Israel had been sacked and many led captive to Assyria. Either there was no king of Israel to prevent Hezekiah’s messengers or at the very least there was no one strong enough to do so.
So Hezekiah invited all twelve tribes to join in worship once more. No doubt he hoped the nation might be reunited, but first he calls them back to worship God. Unfortunately, many laughed at the messengers and mocked them, for they had hardened their hearts to what was good.
But we find some who were not so cold to Hezekiah’s invitation. Their hearts were still open to God, and all they needed was an invitation to come back and worship God. As Jesus noted, some ground will be hard, some even rocky, but some will be fertile and receptive to God’s truth. Ours is not to figure out which is which, but to scatter seed and see if it may grow.
What does that look like in real life? It means befriending everyone and anyone who will listen, showing God’s love and grace to all alike, in the hopes that some will search deeper and find Him also. Don’t. be discouraged by rejection, as even those might someday be won over by the fruit of the Spirit displayed in your life. Be faithful, and let God take care of the rest.