“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 to the Lord, the God of Israel... And many people came together in Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very great assembly… And the people 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 with all their might to the Lord. And Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good skill in the service of the Lord. So they ate the food of the festival for seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord, the God of their fathers. Then the whole assembly agreed together to keep the feast for another seven days. So they kept it for another seven days with gladness…
“And the priests consecrated themselves in great numbers. The whole assembly of Judah, and the priests and the Levites, and the whole assembly that came out of Israel, and the sojourners who came out of the land of Israel, and the sojourners who lived in Judah, rejoiced. 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 and the Levites arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came to his holy habitation in heaven.” 2 Chronicles 30:1,13,21-23,24b-27
God set into the rhythm of Israel’s year regular feasts and celebrations to remember and point to His work on their behalf. When Hezekiah instituted the Passover as part of his restoration of worship, there was great rejoicing on the part of those who’d answered his call to participate. So great, they didn’t want to stop. “So they kept it for another seven days with gladness.”
What would life be like if we drew out our sacrificial offerings of worship another seven days? If we would keep on celebrating the Lord’s goodness in salvation with glad rejoicing another seven days? If we extended another seven days the time we give to those who are lonely, who would be helped by our care or enriched by extravagant love?
How often do we apportion out our giving or surrender to God with fear-imposed limits, ‘this much and nothing more, Lord’? Where do we put strict parameters around the amount of time we’ll sing, or pray, or spend in the Scriptures, because we have other more important things to tend to or do? What would it take to jolt our hearts into keeping the feast another seven days? Another year? Another all my life?
Jesus gave His all for us. Why do we skimp on the return to Him?
“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.” ~Isaac Watts (1707)
Lord, may I never cease rejoicing in You. May I add another seven days to wholehearted worship and living, to the praise of Your greatness and glory.