So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments. And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers. Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness. For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the leaders gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah. So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven. (2 Chronicles 30:21-27)
There Was Great Joy In Jerusalem
Worship to God has always been a fundamental part of the fellowship man enjoys with his creator. Man was formed to give glory to the Lord and through his acts of worship; he exalts the majesty of God and reminds himself of his humble station. The years of turmoil following the death of Solomon destroyed much of the spirit of worship to God. As the people sank deeper into the poverty of idol worship, their hearts were seared with the spirit of rebellion against the will of God. The northern kingdom of Israel never recovered from their impenitent hearts. Sprinkled through the history of Judah, a king would seek the will of God and do what was right. Hezekiah was one of the kings who did what was right in the sight of the Lord. It was during his reign that temple worship was restored.
Hezekiah sent letters throughout the land encouraging the people to come to Jerusalem to keep the Passover. Runners went throughout all Israel and Judah announcing the proclamation of the king. Many of the people laughed them to scorn and mocked them but the righteous in heart heeded the words and came to Jerusalem for the Passover. There was a singleness of heart among the faithful as the Lord blessed them. Singing and loud instruments filled the city with the praise of God echoing from every corner. The Levites taught the people the word of the Lord and the feast lasted for seven days. Sacrifices were made as the people confessed their sin. It was a deeply, moving time for the faithful children of God who were reminded of the holiness of worship to God. So much so the people wanted to keep the feast another seven days. They continued the worship for another seven days with a spirit of gladness.
There was great joy in Jerusalem. So much joy that nothing like it had been seen in the land since the days of Solomon. This was a high time of spiritual renewal. The faithful had rediscovered the joy of worship. God’s people had been reminded of the manifold blessings of a gracious Lord who had cared for them and protected them with His mighty hand. A restoration of spiritual remembrance infected the hearts of the humble who gladly worshiped the name of Jehovah God. The city of Jerusalem was a place of loud praise. The prayers of the people went all the way to the holy dwelling place of Almighty God who dwells in heaven. What a shout. What a joy. What a story.
Spiritual restoration is always a need for God’s people. Worship can become dull and filled with apathy. The faithful in the days of Hezekiah learned how to rekindle their hearts to the worthy praise of the Lord. It was a glorious time of worship. Tomorrow is the first day of the week. We come together – as we always do – to follow a pattern of worship. The question is this: will Sunday be a time of routine doing this and doing that; or will it be a time of spiritual renewal? How the worship impacts the heart in song, prayer and meditation upon the death of Jesus, will depend on how we prepare our hearts to worship God. I like to read about the joy in Jerusalem. Let us make our worship tomorrow be a time of joy. Be happy to be with God’s people. Rejoice that God loves us so much to give us all the blessings of His mighty hand. Do not be tied to a ‘time-keeping-clock’ mentality but desire a spirit-filled expression of eternal joy because of the Passover Lamb who gave His life so we could enter heaven. Make worship tomorrow fill the throne room of God with fervent prayers, songs filled with joy, quiet meditation on the sacrifice of Jesus and amen laced sermons of the powerful word of God. Praise God. Let the place where you are be a place of great joy. Now that will be a great story. Amen?