by Larry Stockstill
Jesus spent His life bearing the insults of those who insulted God. King Hezekiah's messengers received much the same reaction in the tribes of Israel when they presented the invitation to return to the Lord and celebrate Passover (2 Chronicles 30:10).
To the backslidden Israelites, the archaic idea of a Passover in Jerusalem was absurd. The messengers sincerely tried to turn the Israelites' hearts back to God, but the results were the same in village after village: "But most of the people just laughed at the messengers and made fun of them" (v. 10). However, the Scripture records that "some . . . humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem" (v. 11).
If we just want to please ourselves, we will not venture out into the stream of evangelism where our feelings may get hurt. The burden of evangelism, however, belongs to God, and if we love Him, we will be willing to "bear the disgrace he bore" (Hebrews 13:13). We must realize that we are simply messengers delivering an invitation that others can either accept or reject. If Jesus was reproached, so must we be.
Rejoice if men ridicule you. You are bearing the insults of God!
30 Hezekiah sent word to all Israel
6 At the king’s command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read:
“People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria.7 Do not be like your parents
10 The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but people scorned and ridiculed
13 A very large crowd of people assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread
15 They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed and consecrated
21 The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread
22 Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites, who showed good understanding of the service of the Lord. For the seven days they ate their assigned portion and offered fellowship offerings and praised
23 The whole assembly then agreed to celebrate
31 When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down
9 Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the heaps;10 and Azariah the chief priest, from the family of Zadok,
11 Hezekiah gave orders to prepare storerooms in the temple of the Lord, and this was done.12 Then they faithfully brought in the contributions, tithes and dedicated gifts. Konaniah,
14 Kore son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the East Gate, was in charge of the freewill offerings given to God, distributing the contributions made to the Lord and also the consecrated gifts.15 Eden,
16 In addition, they distributed to the males three years old or more whose names were in the genealogical records
19 As for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who lived on the farmlands around their towns or in any other towns,
20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful
30 King Hezekiah now sent word to all Israel and Judah, and he wrote letters of invitation to the people of Ephraim and Manasseh. He asked everyone to come to the Temple of the Lord at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord, the God of Israel.2 The king, his officials, and all the community of Jerusalem decided to celebrate Passover a month later than usual.
4 This plan for keeping the Passover seemed right to the king and all the people.5 So they sent a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north, inviting everyone to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord, the God of Israel. The people had not been celebrating it in great numbers as required in the Law.
6 At the king’s command, runners were sent throughout Israel and Judah. They carried letters that said:
“O people of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
9 “For if you return to the Lord, your relatives and your children will be treated mercifully by their captors, and they will be able to return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you.”
10 The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them.11 However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.
12 At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the Lord.13 So a huge crowd assembled at Jerusalem in midspring
15 On the fourteenth day of the second month, one month later than usual,
17 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.18 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 those19 who decide to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.”20 And the Lord listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.
21 So the people of Israel who were present in Jerusalem joyously celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Each day the Levites and priests sang to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments.
23 The entire assembly then decided to continue the festival another seven days, so they celebrated joyfully for another week.24 King Hezekiah gave the people 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep and goats for offerings, and the officials donated 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep and goats. Meanwhile, many more priests purified themselves.
25 The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, including the priests, the Levites, all who came from the land of Israel, the foreigners who came to the festival, and all those who lived in Judah.26 There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son.27 Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven.
31 When the festival ended, the Israelites who attended went to all the towns of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh, and they smashed all the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and removed the pagan shrines and altars. After this, the Israelites returned to their own towns and homes.
2 Hezekiah then organized the priests and Levites into divisions to offer the burnt offerings and peace offerings, and to worship and give thanks and praise to the Lord at the gates of the Temple.3 The king also made a personal contribution of animals for the daily morning and evening burnt offerings, the weekly Sabbath festivals, the monthly new moon festivals, and the annual festivals as prescribed in the Law of the Lord.4 In addition, he required the people in Jerusalem to bring a portion of their goods to the priests and Levites, so they could devote themselves fully to the Law of the Lord.
5 When the people of Israel heard these requirements, they responded generously by bringing the first share of their grain, new wine, olive oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a large quantity—a tithe of all they produced.6 The people who had moved to Judah from Israel, and the people of Judah themselves, brought in the tithes of their cattle, sheep, and goats and a tithe of the things that had been dedicated to the Lord their God, and they piled them up in great heaps.7 They began piling them up in late spring, and the heaps continued to grow until early autumn.
9 “Where did all this come from?” Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites.
10 And Azariah the high priest, from the family of Zadok, replied, “Since the people began bringing their gifts to the Lord’s Temple, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare. The Lord has blessed his people, and all this is left over.”
11 Hezekiah ordered that storerooms be prepared in the Temple of the Lord. When this was done,12 the people faithfully brought all the gifts, tithes, and other items dedicated for use in the Temple. Conaniah the Levite was put in charge, assisted by his brother Shimei.13 The supervisors under them were Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. These appointments were made by King Hezekiah and Azariah, the chief official in the Temple of God.
14 Kore son of Imnah the Levite, who was the gatekeeper at the East Gate, was put in charge of distributing the voluntary offerings given to God, the gifts, and the things that had been dedicated to the Lord.15 His faithful assistants were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah. They distributed the gifts among the families of priests in their towns by their divisions, dividing the gifts fairly among old and young alike.16 They distributed the gifts to all males three years old or older, regardless of their place in the genealogical records. The distribution went to all who would come to the Lord’s Temple to perform their daily duties according to their divisions.17 They distributed gifts to the priests who were listed by their families in the genealogical records, and to the Levites twenty years old or older who were listed according to their jobs and their divisions.18 Food allotments were also given to the families of all those listed in the genealogical records, including their little babies, wives, sons, and daughters. For they had all been faithful in purifying themselves.
19 As for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who were living in the open villages around the towns, men were appointed by name to distribute portions to every male among the priests and to all the Levites listed in the genealogical records.
20 In this way, King Hezekiah handled the distribution throughout all Judah, doing what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God.21 In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.
30 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel.
2 For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month.
3 For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem.
4 And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation.
5 So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written.
6 So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.
7 And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see.
8 Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.
9 For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.
10 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.
11 Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.
12 Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the Lord.
13 And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation.
14 And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron.
15 Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the Lord.
16 And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites.
17 For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the Lord.
18 For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Lord pardon every one
19 That prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.
20 And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
21 And the children of Israel that 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 with loud instruments unto the Lord.
22 And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the Lord: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.
23 And the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days: and they kept other seven days with gladness.
24 For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves.
25 And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced.
26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.
27 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, even unto heaven.
31 Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.
2 And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the Lord.
3 He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the Lord.
4 Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord.
5 And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.
6 And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps.
7 In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.
8 And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord, and his people Israel.
9 Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.
10 And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the Lord hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.
11 Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the Lord; and they prepared them,
12 And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next.
13 And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God.
14 And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of the Lord, and the most holy things.
15 And next him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in their set office, to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small:
16 Beside their genealogy of males, from three years old and upward, even unto every one that entereth into the house of the Lord, his daily portion for their service in their charges according to their courses;
17 Both to the genealogy of the priests by the house of their fathers, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their charges by their courses;
18 And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness:
19 Also of the sons of Aaron the priests, which were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every several city, the men that were expressed by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites.
20 And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God.
21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.
15 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind
7 Accept one another,
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
10 Again, it says,
11 And again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
let all the peoples extol him.”
12 And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
14 I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness,
17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus
“Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand.”
22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.
15 We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves.2 We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.3 For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”
5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.8 Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews
“For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing praises to your name.”
10 And in another place it is written,
“Rejoice with his people,
11 And yet again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles.
Praise him, all you people of the earth.”
12 And in another place Isaiah said,
“The heir to David’s throne
and he will rule over the Gentiles.
They will place their hope on him.”
13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
14 I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters,
20 My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else.21 I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says,
“Those who have never been told about him will see,
and those who have never heard of him will understand.”
22 In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.
15 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:
21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
but shame will come on those
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
for you are God my Savior,
for they are from of old.
9 He guides
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
He will instruct them in the ways
14 The Lord confides
1 O Lord, I give my life to you.
2 I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
3 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.
4 Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
for you are merciful, O Lord.
8 The Lord is good and does what is right;
he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in doing right,
teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.
11 For the honor of your name, O Lord,
forgive my many, many sins.
12 Who are those who fear the Lord?
He will show them the path they should choose.
13 They will live in prosperity,
and their children will inherit the land.
14 The Lord is a friend to those who fear him.
He teaches them his covenant.
15 My eyes are always on the Lord,
for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.
25 Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
4 Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.
5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
6 Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O Lord.
8 Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.
12 What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.
13 His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.
14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
15 Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
stay awake and you will have food to spare.
14 “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer—
then goes off and boasts about the purchase.
15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance,
but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.
13 If you love sleep, you will end in poverty.
Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!
14 The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It’s worthless,”
then brags about getting a bargain!
15 Wise words are more valuable
than much gold and many rubies.
13 Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.
14 It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.
15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.