2 Chronicles 30
“For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you.” (2 Chronicles 30:9b, NLT)
I love Hezekiah. He set his heart to bring spiritual reformations to the nation, and the LORD blessed his efforts. He could have kept a tight focus on Judah. Certainly there was enough to clean up after Hezekiah’s father had led the nation into disgusting idolatry. But Hezekiah had broader vision than that. He had compassion on the lost sheep of the northern kingdom. Israel had already fallen captive to the Assyrians about seven years earlier in 722 BC, and her people had been deported in large numbers. But there was a remnant of people remaining. So Hezekiah sent out invitations for these people to join them in Jerusalem for the Passover. Hezekiah’s heart was big, and he wanted to gather as many people as possible to worship the LORD. These sheep were scattered. The kings of Israel had led them astray into idolatry and the worship of Baal, but where had it gotten them? The Assyrians had invaded, their fellow countrymen were deported, and they were left isolated from the covenant God who had brought their ancestors into this good land. Their fathers had been stubborn and rebellious, but they could turn and worship the LORD who is the only true God.
Hezekiah reminded them that the LORD is gracious and merciful. And if they would return to Him, then He would not reject them. Unfortunately, most of the people just laughed at the messengers who invited them to the Passover. However, some people humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem. It was worth the effort just to see some lost sheep gathered to the fold.
God’s patience, mercy and compassion are amazing. He will not turn away from those who seek Him. And this carries into our relationship with Jesus.
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:37, NKJV)
All that is needed for genuine spiritual revival is for people who have stood at a distance from Christ to humble themselves, depart from their sins, and return to Him. He will receive them. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. We don’t know who will respond to the invitation. It may only be a small percentage of the people. But the Lord wants us to go and invite them. He wants us to go into the hills and gather lost sheep and bring them into the fold. There is no joy like the joy of bringing even one person to the Good Shepherd. May the Lord give us His compassion and grace to do it!