On the fourteenth day of the second month, one month later than usual, the people slaughtered the Passover lamb. This shamed the priests and Levites, so they purified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Temple of the Lord. Then they took their places at the Temple as prescribed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. The Levites brought the sacrificial blood to the priests, who then sprinkled it on the altar.
Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the Lord. Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” And the Lord listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.
(2 Chronicles 30:15-20)
Passover was the most important festival of the year for the Jewish people. It required great preparation and holiness. People had to travel to Jerusalem, and the priests had to be purified, but this hadn’t happened on time (2 Chronicles 30:3). However, God’s law had a provision that, under certain circumstances, the Passover could be celebrated one month later (Numbers 9:10-11). Even then, though, many of the people weren’t ready. It seemed that they would be left out altogether. “But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law.” The people were not pure, but “the Lord listened . . . and healed the people.”
Why did God show so much grace this time? The people weren’t fulfilling the letter of the law, but they had fulfilled the spirit of it. They wanted “to follow the Lord.” This was the purpose of the law.
God shows us the same mercy today. We often fail to prepare our hearts or confess our sins and be cleansed. But God wants us first to follow him. Make your heart right, then God will listen and heal you.