The Hand of God Was also on Judah to Give Them One Heart to Do
Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem to keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. 2 For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem had taken counsel to keep the Passover in the second month— 3 for they could not keep it at that time because the priests had not consecrated themselves in sufficient number, nor had the people assembled in Jerusalem— 4 and the plan seemed right to the king and all the assembly. 5 So they decreed to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that the people should come and keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem, for they had not kept it as often as prescribed. 6 So couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his princes, as the king had commanded, saying, “O people of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that he may turn again to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were faithless to the Lord God of their fathers, so that he made them a desolation, as you see. 8 Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. 9 For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”
10 So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. 11 However, some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord. (1 Chronicles 30:1-12)
2 Chronicles 30:1-12 describes the preparations made by King Hezekiah for the celebration of the Passover in Jerusalem. This passage highlights the religious reforms initiated by Hezekiah to restore the worship of God according to the Law of Moses. In this passage, Hezekiah sends letters throughout Israel and Judah, commanding the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, which had not been observed properly for many years. Hezekiah acknowledges that the people have turned away from God and have not kept His commands. However, he assures them that God is merciful and will forgive them if they repent and return to Him. Hezekiah's invitation is thus an appeal to the people to turn away from their sins and seek forgiveness from God.
The response was mixed, with some ridiculing and mocking the couriers while others humbly responded to the command. The contrast between those who mocked and those who repented reveals the importance of individual response to God's command. While some chose to reject the command and ridicule the messengers, others humbly accepted and came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. This contrast underscores the biblical theme of repentance, which is the necessary response to God's call.
While verse 11 depicts the human response to the command to celebrate the Passover, with some accepting and others rejecting it, verse 12 provides insight into God's role in the events, revealing that repentance and humility ultimately originates from Him. This is evident as the hand of God was also on Judah, to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord.' The word "also" in verse 12 is significant, as it reveals that the other tribes who humbled themselves, including Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun, were also granted the same heart to obey the commandment. This demonstrates that while the text in any given Bible verse may not explicitly reveal God's intervention in every instance of repentance, we can trust that He is always at work behind the scenes. It reminds us to read the whole counsel of scripture to gain a deeper understanding of God's character and ways, even when the text does not provide a full explanation in a particular passage.
In the same way, the Bible repeatedly emphasizes the sovereignty of God in salvation, highlighting the fact that repentance and faith are gifts from God. This passage illustrates this theological truth, as it reveals that even human repentance is ultimately a result of God's gracious intervention. This does not negate human responsibility, as individuals are called to respond to God's summons to believe. However, it underscores the fact that our response is always wholly dependent on God's grace.