A Time To Decide

Key Verse: “If you return to the LORD, then your brothers and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will come back to this land, for the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”
—II Chronicles 30:9,
New International Version

Lesson Scripture:
II Chronicles 30:1-6,

WHEN HEZEKIAH WAS IN his sixth year as king over Judah, the Assyrians took most of the people in the northern ten-tribe kingdom of Israel captive to Assyria. (II Kings 18:10) The harassment of Israel by Assyria started when Hezekiah began his reign in Judah. Hezekiah had instituted immediate reforms in the kingdom. We read of his reign, “Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old. … He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them.”—II Chron. 29:1-3

King Ahaz, the father of Hezekiah, was a wicked king in Judah. He brought in the worship of Baal. A portion of his wickedness is seen as described in II Chronicles 28. “Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the Lord, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem.” (vs. 24) His son was trying to undo the wrong of his father. The ten-tribe northern kingdom was already deeply involved in worshipping Baal. The punishment of taking them captive to Assyria had begun as Hezekiah began his reforms in Judah.

The nation of Judah, much less of Israel, had not observed a national Passover for many years. Hezekiah set about to do this. First, the priests had to be sanctified, and they were not ready in the first month (on the fourteenth of Nisan) to do this. He planned to have everything ready in the second month. The precedent for keeping the Passover in the second month is given in Numbers 9:1-11. It was important that the priests be sanctified. As the scriptures say, “So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order.” (II Chron. 29:35) Hezekiah was now ready to keep the national Passover.

Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel. (II Chron 30:1) Although the punishments of the Lord had started for Israel, the ten-tribe kingdom, it was Hezekiah’s hope that a sincere sign of repentance might reverse the process and those captured might return, as expressed in our key verse. This was not to be. Most of Israel when receiving the invitation “laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.” (vs. 10) Nevertheless, some came and many in Judah came “And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation.” (vs. 13) The people also destroyed the altars erected to Baal. (vs. 14) It was a time of great rejoicing.

There can’t be a greater happiness for anyone who decides to worship God in a proper manner. Soon all the world of mankind will be given that opportunity and echo the sentiments of Psalm 122:1.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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