READ: 2 Chronicles 30-31
THINK: Read 2 Chronicles 30:1,5-9 from The Message and, as you read, listen for a new perspective on the way life is, or the way God is, that stands out to you today:
Then Hezekiah invited all of Israel and Judah, with personal letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, to come to The Temple of God in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to Israel’s God…And they sent out the invitation from one end of the country to the other, from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north: “Come and celebrate the Passover to Israel’s God in Jerusalem.” No one living had ever celebrated it properly.
The king gave the orders, and the couriers delivered the invitations from the king and his leaders throughout Israel and Judah. The invitation read: “O Israelites! Come back to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he can return to you who have survived the predations of the kings of Assyria. Don’t repeat the sins of your ancestors who turned their backs on God, the God of their ancestors who then brought them to ruin—you can see the ruins all around you. Don’t be pigheaded as your ancestors were. Clasp God’s outstretched hand. Come to his Temple of holy worship, consecrated for all time. Serve God, your God. You’ll no longer be in danger of his hot anger. If you come back to God, your captive relatives and children will be treated compassionately and allowed to come home. Your God is gracious and kind and won’t snub you—come back and he’ll welcome you with open arms.”
Perhaps you noticed that God can have dangerously “hot anger,” yet under the circumstances he is tender and open to a people who have walked far from intimacy with him. Maybe you were struck by the pigheadedness that kept some Israelites form taking “God’s outstretched hand.”
PRAY: Study the perspective you’ve absorbed, looking at it from different angles and holding it up against different experiences you’ve had. Do you ever fear approaching God because you worry he might snub you? Have you ever refused grace? Consider a specific situation. Then become aware of God’s presence with you. Tell him what was going on during that time. How does the God of this passage (offering his “outstretched hand” to the Israelites) compare to your image of God in that situation?
LIVE: Close your devotional time today by saying the Lord’s Prayer. Speak the words aloud intentionally and slowly. Picture the righteous but compassionate God described in this passage, the One who is hearing your prayer right now!
– Adapted from Eugene Peterson in Solo