I came across an interesting passage in 2 Chronicles the other day. It's one of those strange passages about which a former professor of mine may have said, "Put THAT in your theological pipe and smoke it."
Judah had come under the judgment of God due to the actions of their former king, Ahaz. His son Hezekiah, the new king, was trying to get them back on track by restoring the Temple worship. After the priests and Levites had consecrated themselves, Hezekiah decided that the nation should celebrate the Passover as an act of repentance--even though it was the wrong month (Exod 12:1–6, 2 Chr 30:1–4). A great number of people responded, but they didn't consecrate themselves and celebrate the feast according to the prescriptions in the law. The passage (2 Chr 30:18–20) says:
"The majority of the many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun were ritually unclean, yet they ate the Passover in violation of what is prescribed in the law. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying: 'May the LORD, who is good, forgive 19 everyone who has determined to follow God, the LORD God of his ancestors, even if he is not ritually clean according to the standards of the temple.' 20 The LORD responded favorably to Hezekiah and forgave the people." (NET)
So, the people repent and decide to come back to God, but they don't "do it right," according to the Scriptures. Hezekiah prays that God would honor their actions anyway, and God does. What do we do with that?
Systematic theology would be so much easier were it not for the Bible. :)
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