13 Now many people were gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very large assembly. 14 They arose and removed the altars which were in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and cast them into the brook Kidron. 15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth of the second month. And the priests and Levites were ashamed of themselves, and consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood at their stations after their custom, according to the law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood which they received from the hand of the Levites. 17 For there were many in the assembly who had not consecrated themselves; therefore, the Levites were over the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was unclean, in order to consecrate them to the Lord. 18 For a multitude of the people, even many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than [i]prescribed. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon 19 everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though not according to the purification rules of the sanctuary.” 20 So the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 21 The sons of Israel present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day after day with loud instruments to the Lord. 22 Then Hezekiah spoke [j]encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good insight in the things of the Lord. So they ate for the appointed seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their fathers.
23 Then the whole assembly decided to celebrate the feast another seven days, so they celebrated the seven days with joy. 24 For Hezekiah king of Judah had contributed to the assembly 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep, and the princes had contributed to the assembly 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep; and a large number of priests consecrated themselves. 25 All the assembly of Judah rejoiced, with the priests and the Levites and all the assembly that came from Israel, both the sojourners who came from the land of Israel and those living in Judah. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. 27 Then the Levitical priests arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard and their prayer came to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.
What a feast that must have been, just imagine all the people and seeing the number of sheep and bulls contributed is just mind boggling. Then we find out that it was the biggest celebration and feast since the days of Solomon. Which does make sense since his son was the one who lost the tribes of Israel and never had people from both Judah and Israel joined in worshipping God since then.
When we are divided, God will certainly still use our lives and our deeds as we follow Him. But when we are united, it amplifies our efforts. I think of all the doctrinal and denominational divisions of the church today, and how much it dilutes our efforts.
But when we come together as the church united, God can do even more through us. We do not need to give up our deeply held beliefs to find common ground and unite under God’s banner. Though there may be cause for disagreement, there is so much more that binds us together in His name.
Wherever you are, and whatever you may believe, if you follow Jesus, do not be estranged from your brothers and sisters in Christ. Look for and encourage anything that brings us together, and see what God can do when His children unite.