HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
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 one19 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. 2 Chronicles 30:18-19.
A very touching prayer, that opens up deep thoughts as to the progress of the true knowledge of God in Israel, and of the comparative value of heart preparation and ceremonial cleansing. There were crowds of well-meaning people who had come from all parts of the land in answer to Hezekiah’s invitation.
Unaccustomed to temple usage, strangers to the temple rites, they had participated in the festivities of this great Passover without submitting first to the necessary ablutions. Their heart was prepared to seek God, they were proud of the great past, they desired to stand right with the Lord God of their fathers, but they were sadly ignorant and careless. The only thing to be done was to pray that their ignorances and negligences might be forgiven.
It is thus that Jesus pleads in heaven; and there are many that obtain mercy on the ground of his merit, because when they sin they do so ignorantly, and from want of knowledge rather than from want of heart. The devout ritualist who lays an excessive stress on outward forms; the man who has sensuous and distorted views of Christ, but sincerely desires to be accepted through Him; the soul that touches the hem of the garment as though the healing power were independent of the will power of the Redeemer; the dying malefactor, who, in his last hours, catches at some distorted representation of Christ which is filtered through to him from the chance word of an uninstructed preacher these are included in the fruitful pleading of the Great High Priest, who has compassion on the ignorant and on those who are out of the way. You may not understand doctrine, creed, or rite; but be sure to seek God. No splendid ceremonial nor rigorous etiquette can intercept the seeking soul.
And I say to you my brothers and sisters that God is willing and more than able to walk you through the valley of the shadows of death and give you new life on the other side. This is not the time for ignorance and rituals to find a place in the presence or Kingdom of God. It is a clean hand and pure heart in the presence of Almighty God.