2 Chronicles 30:13-17
13 Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month.
14 They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron.
15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the LORD.
16 They stood in their place according to their custom, according to the Law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites.
17 For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the LORD.
Revival doesn’t begin from the outside, it begins from the inside. I often say that you can’t legislate morality – i.e. you can’t simply pass secular laws and expect people’s behavior to change. Whatever moral structure we have is mostly the result of the breath of God living within us, and the working out of that morality – how our morals are enacted in our daily lives – is based very much on how we were raised. That is why Solomon was able to say:
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
But in the days of King Hezekiah, the people of Judah were inspired to depart from the unholy ways they had been trained and to seek God’s face. When he came to the throne of David, Hezekiah restored worship in the Temple, dragging in Levites and priests from all over Judah to perform the necessary sanctifications. Once that was done, Hezekiah and the priests sent word to ALL the tribes of Israel to come before the Lord and celebrate the Passover. But most of Israel just laughed at him. Nonetheless, some came from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun, and humbled themselves in Jerusalem.
The Passover commemorates the final plague that the Lord God put upon Egypt to break Pharaoh’s heart so he would let the Israelites go. On that first Passover centuries before Hezekiah, the Lord commanded the Israelites to purify themselves for seven days, and then to sacrifice spotless lambs and brush the lambs’ blood on the doorframe of their houses.
“For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.”
The Passover was instituted to remind the Israelites that they were God’s chosen people, to remind them that only by God’s power are they saved and only by following His requirements do they avoid death.
Note that the Passover was instituted BEFORE the law was handed down to Moses for the Israelites. The blood of the lamb was required for the people to be set free from bondage. The sacrifice of the lamb is what enabled the people to seek God in His holy place and to receive His Word from on high. Hezekiah saw that in order for a widespread revival to take place, the people first needed to be sanctified by the blood of the Passover lamb, and that the people had to come willingly before the Lord.
Today, many church leaders are crying out for revival, and I include my voice among them. We are an unholy people and we have departed from the ways of our forefathers. As in the days of Hezekiah, many people today laugh at the invitation to repent and come to Christ – even people who claim to love Him and yet remain deep in their sinful lives.
God is adding His voice to the voices of Hezekiah and the prophets and the priests and today’s church leaders. God is calling us to humble ourselves before Him, to cover our hearts with the blood of the Lamb of God, and to be saved from the death that surely awaits the enemies of God. The Lord is not calling for half-hearted worship but for true repentance and powerful faith. Jesus has shed His blood and painted the doorway of the Cross to protect us from death, to bring us to eternal life. So now, shall we die outside the protection of the sprinkled Blood of the Lamb, or shall we enter God’s grace and be washed clean to live with Him forever?
Gracious Father, let us come before You today, humbled by Your mercy, in awe of Your power, and accepting of Your grace. “Life is in the blood,” You said, and we know this to be true, that eternal life is only found through the shed blood of Your precious Son. Please accept my life today, O Lord, and consecrate me anew for Your service and Your glory. Amen.