2 Chronicles 29:24 ESV
24 and the priests slaughtered them and made a sin offering with their blood on the altar, to make atonement for all Israel. For the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel.
The kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel, had been carried away captive, and the kingdom was destroyed. This was due to their idolatry, and the deeds of their kings. Years before, after the ten tribes had rejected the family of David, they fell into idol worship.
After generations of Israel receiving warnings from God to change, the kingdom had been destroyed. Judah was still in tact, and some may have been tempted to look down on their cousins. When judgment comes, a lot of people are tempted to gloat, or to say how much that person or group deserved a, b, or c.
The same can be true of some of us. Though, our only righteousness comes only from the blood of Jesus, many forget that we were all, at one time, in need of rescue. At some point, maybe even after coming to God initially, we all have made mistakes. The Scripture says, all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
Aren’t you glad, that God loved us in our sins? He loved us, according to Ephesians, while we were enemies of God through sin. Jesus didn’t love sin, but He loved us enough, to sacrifice His life to save us from our sins.
I mention all of this because, Hezekiah didn’t have authority over all Israel as king to offer sacrifice for them. As I said, the kingdom of Israel was gone, and the people had rejected Hezekiah’s royal family before he was ever born. He could have said, my priority is Judah and Benjamin, not these other folks, but he didn’t.
Hezekiah wasn’t concerned about what had happened in the past. He wasn’t trying to retake territory. He was concerned about the souls of those that did not know God.
He saw something compelling enough in them, to reach out to them. Maybe that’s because Hezekiah loved a family member who had made mistakes? His Dad, Ahaz, had been a horribly wicked king, steeped in idolatry.
Hezekiah, no doubt loved his father, even though he didn’t love his deeds. He didn’t condone his Father’s sins, he even had said, they had been unfaithful. Christ didn’t condone our sins, but He didn’t condemn us either.
We look at the list of the rulers of Judah almost as a checklist. Good, bad, not so good, started out good, started out bad, made up for it. Yet, while they made mistakes, they were sons, fathers, husbands, and loved by others.
I’m sure Hezekiah didn’t look at him the way we did, he saw him with love. Perhaps he wanted to rescue someone else’s family members. Maybe he wanted to rescue someone else’s loved one who had made mistakes, chosen the wrong desires, and were headed down the same path Ahaz had.
Notice, 2 Chronicles here says that, Hezekiah stated both sacrifices would be for all of Israel. One was the sin offering, the other was the burnt offering. While they were both for sin, they each had a particular meaning.
The sin offering was for both unconscious sins, intentional sins, and uncleanness. The sin offering was also offered on the occasion of the consecration of priests and Levites. Every year, on the day of Atonement, the sin offerings were taken within the veil.
Just as Christ’s Death was for the sins going back to Adam, they were for our specific mistakes. He died for the fall of Adam, and the mistake you and I made we don’t want to talk about.
The burnt offering, had a distinguishing mark, it was wholly consumed on the altar. Other sacrifices only the fat portion was burned. While it was for propitiation, it was united with the idea of the entire consecration of the worshiper to The Lord.
A relationship with God, isn’t about a one time altar, or single experience of coming to God. It’s about a continual experience, and daily walk with Him. If you prayed twenty years ago, I’m sorry, He’s waiting to hear from you and I today.
Hezekiah wasn’t just concerned with pardoning Israel, or eliminating their guilt. He was wanting to lead them into complete consecration to God. It was called the continual burnt offering, it was offered every day, in the morning and the evening. It was for the cleansing of lepers, purification, and the only sacrifice a non-Israelite was permitted to offer.
In other words, it was a pathway to a relationship with God, that was designed to deepen that relationship. The old song says He gets sweeter and sweeter as the day goes by. It’s not that He gets sweeter, He’s already sweeter than honey in a comb, The Scripture states. It’s that we get closer, and see more of Who He is daily.
I can’t help but think of two verses in The New Testament that mirrors this to me. They are the words of the Apostle Peter. A man who knew what it was like to fall short of God’s plan, but also knew what it was like to fall on your knees and receive Mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (KJV Strong’s)
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Like the tribes Hezekiah sacrificed for, we were far from God. We had failed on so many levels. Yet, a King who had no reason to sacrifice for us, other than Love, gave Himself to us. He who knew no sin, became not a sinner, but sin for us.
The Lord Jesus wholly gave Himself to us. Sacrificing His life, laying our sins to rest through His death, and rising to lead us into a new life, free from our past. Just like the burnt offering, now we should daily, wholly give our lives to God.
Hezekiah means Jehovah Is My Strength. Our strength doesn’t lie in our own righteousness, our merit, or our accomplishments. Everyone of us, everyone we have and are, is because He wholly gave Himself for us.
How much more should we daily give ourselves to serving The God who not only redeemed us, but wholly gave Himself for us? He could have showed up, died, and said now live up to my gift, but He went beyond that. He expects us to go beyond conviction, beyond conversion, to continual communication.
The Lord Jesus spent three and a half years teaching us, not only how to avoid sin, but how to live actively for God. His plan wasn’t only to rescue us, but to restore us to His original plan for us. That plan was what Adam and Eve had in the garden, a relationship with God where they walked together, talked, and were a family.
Hezekiah’s dream for the people, wasn’t to rule over them, but to restore them to the family of God. Our God is King Of Kings, and Lord Of Lords, His dream for us isn’t to be His subjects, but His sons and daughters. His sacrifice was to completely, to wholly unite us in a continual relationship with Him, regardless of our past, our flaws, and our failures, and to take us beyond them, into His righteousness.