For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you. – 2 Chronicles 30:9b
Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill they displayed as they served the LORD. – 2 Chronicles 30:22
The entire assembly then decided to continue the festival another seven days, so they celebrated joyfully for another week. – 2 Chronicles 30:23
King Hezekiah is a healing King. He turns Judah back to God, re-institutes the passover festival (another step in restoring the worship of the LORD), and then invites their estranged relatives from the northern kingdom of Israel to come and celebrate the feast with them. Hezekiah is clearly trying to heal the divide between God and His people and between the two kingdoms. An amazing heart to restore and heal, Hezekiah not only has the heart to heal, but the leadership acumen as well.
In verse 9, Hezekiah sends the invitation to the people of both Israel and Judah to come declaring the mercy of God. He understood that God’s mercy and grace bring healing and turn people from their sinful ways. (Paul captures this in Romans 2:4b: “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.”) Then, as the Levites who were performing the priestly duties for the first time in generations (who were unpracticed and had never seen them practiced in their lifetimes) were doing the best they knew how, Hezekiah cheered them on and encouraged them. “Way to go guys…. You are doing great.” Another sign of great leadership… the ability to encourage people is the path of sustainable motivation leading to personal ownership. Finally, Hezekiah has the courage to extend a 7-day celebration by another 7 days. He sensed in the moment that the healing that was happening between God and His people, and between the two kingdoms was so profound and powerful that they needed to stay in that moment a little bit longer. They needed to rearrange the schedule and just be with God and each other. That they needed to celebrate a little longer… again, a brilliant leadership move in the direction of healing a nation. Hezekiah was creating a culture of openness for all who would choose to return, extending grace and declaring the mercy of God. He was establishing a culture of encouragement and celebration. These things ultimately will bring people together with God and with one another.
As we seek to bring healing to the world around us, uniting people with God and building bridges to his family (the church), we must learn the lessons that Hezekiah demonstrates for us here. We must be people and churches that declare the grace and mercy of God, we must be encouragers, and we must create spaces of celebration and be willing to let God mess with our schedules so we can rest in His healing.
Father, help me this day to be a person of grace, of encouragement, and of celebration. Make me a force of healing in our broken world, and move through me by your Holy Spirit this day to bring that healing to the people and places in my life. Help me to lead like Hezekiah…. In Jesus’ name, Amen.