2 Chronicles 29-30 tells us about the beginning of Hezekiah’s reign. In his first year and in the first month of his reign, so the first thing he did, was to open the doors of the temple. He called the priests and Levites to consecrate themselves. Hezekiah had them clean out all the filth from the temple. He was calling them back to the worship of God.
But, this took long enough that they missed the time to keep the Passover, which had not been fully kept since the time of Solomon. So, Hezekiah had them keep the Passover in the second month. He sent to all Israel that they should come to Jerusalem to keep the Passover. This was a call to repentance. Many mocked, scorned, and laughed at the people who brought the call from Hezekiah. But many came.
However, the many that came had not cleansed themselves. Yet, they ate the Passover anyway. Numbers makes a big deal about distinguishing between the clean and the unclean and not allowing anything unclean into the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God. So, this is quite shocking that they ate the Passover unclean. But, Hezekiah prayed, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets their heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.”
What was God’s response? “And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.”
We get so caught up rules and in the right way to do something. But, this speaks to me that setting our heart to seek God that we might know him is more important than anything else. Though unclean, these people heard Hezekiah’s call to repentance and came to God.
Jesus knows our uncleanness. But, he too has called us to repentance. He says, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He says, “Come to me all who are weary, burdened, and thirsty.” When we set our heart to seek Jesus, despite our uncleanness, he hears our cry and heals us. And, it’s then that Jesus shows us the clean way, the right way.
So, the priests and Levites, the people of God, consecrated or cleansed themselves and did the same to the temple. But, they didn’t demand this of the others that came, that heard the call of repentance. Our way is to get cleaned up, follow the rules, worship God, then demand that of others. But, God says let those come who have set their hearts on him and seek him. Then, he heal will and cleanse them.