Today we begin the Days of Unleavened Bread. As we begin to celebrate this day I would like to talk a little bit about one of the most special Passovers in the entire Bible, one which took place during the reign of the righteous King Hezekiah that teaches us both about the importance of Passover in bringing us all together, regardless of what nation we are part of, as well as giving us an example of the sort of offering and service that we should expect from a godly king. Since our time is short, let us briefly look at how the story of King Hezekiah’s Passover helps us to understand the importance of unity and generosity in the Days of Unleavened Bread.
And Hezekiah Sent To All Israel And Judah
We find the story of Hezekiah’s Passover in 2 Chronicles 30, which is where we will spend all of our time in scripture today. In 2 Chronicles 30:1-13 we see the connection between the unity we are supposed to experience during the Days of Unleavened Bread and our humility toward God and each other. 2 Chronicles 30:1-13 reads: “And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel. For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at the regular time, because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem. And the matter pleased the king and all the assembly. So they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner. Then the runners when throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the command of the king: “Children of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel; then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see. Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourself to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.” So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the Lord. Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month.”
The Bible commands that we keep the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread in the first month of the Hebrew year, as we have done. However, in the law it is permitted for those who are on a journey or those who are not clean according to the standards of God to keep the Passover a month later. I will talk about this in more detail next Sabbath. Since there were not enough priests to keep the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, it had to be done a month later, and Hezekiah invited all of Israel that was not yet in captivity to repent, to humble themselves, and to show their commitment to obey God by keeping the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread in Jerusalem, promising them that God would have mercy on them and their brethren if they would humble their hearts and turn from their wicked ways. And some of them did, but most of them ridiculed the messengers of righteous King Hezekiah and refused to obey God. But those who did were united together in obedience to God and were blessed for doing so.
For Hezekiah King Of Judah Gave To The Assembly
How do you recognize if a king or if a ruler is righteous and great or not? By the standards of God, Hezekiah was a great and righteous king, not perfect, but good. What did Hezekiah do to become great? Did he tell Israel how important he was since Israel had lost their king when Assyria took over? No, he humbled himself and set a good example for the people of Israel and Judah to humble themselves and worship God. He did not limit involvement in the Passover to elites, but accepted all who would attend, even if they were not citizens of his nation. Neither did he focus on his own majesty, but pointed people to respect God as their sovereign and king. And, as we will shortly see, Hezekiah showed he was a great and good king by not gaining wealth on the backs of his people, but by showing them and God great generosity from what God had given him and inspiring other leaders of Judah to do the same.
We see this in 2 Chronicles 30:24-27. 2 Chronicles 30:24-27 reads: “For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the leaders gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah. So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.”
Here we see that Hezekiah showed his godliness and greatness by his generosity, and by inspiring the leaders under him to be generous as well, so that all people, whether they were rich or poor, Jews or Israelites or foreigners and sojourners, as are most of us here in this assembly, could enjoy the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread together as one. For Jesus Christ Himself in His last prayer before His crucifixion asked for God to make all of the brethren one as God and Jesus Christ are one, united in love and in purpose. All too often we are divided by our ethnic origin, our place of birth, our personality, or our politics. It should not be so. We are called by God to be one body, united in love and in the Holy Spirit, with Christ as our head, as living sacrifices living in obedience to God’s ways and giving offerings of love to serve God and each other. With the help of God working through us, let us start acting like the children of God, and let us follow the example of righteous king Hezekiah.