The Right Heart

2 Chronicles 30:1
May the Lord, who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the
Lord, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly
cleansed for the ceremony (vv.18-19).

Having grown up in a musical home, I started
writing songs at an early age. Some have taken
months—even years—to compose. Others have
come together in minutes, as the lyrics leaped onto the
page. One day, after contemplating what God truly
desires from us in worship, I experienced one of those
“instant song” (just add melody) moments as these lyrics
flowed from my pen: It’s in the heart, not in the voice. It’s
out of love, not out of choice.

That song excerpt captures what King Hezekiah of
Judah lived out in 2 Chronicles 30. King Ahaz, the
previous king, had “continued to reject the Lord” (28:22),
but Hezekiah reopened the temple even as the people of
Judah began reopening their hearts to God (29:3).
After getting the temple “restored to service” (v.35),
the good king prepared his people to celebrate the
Passover. In fact, he even invited the people from Israel
(to the north) to come and join the festivities (30:1). But
an issue surfaced that threatened this sacred festival
of worship to God: If Hezekiah and the people were
to celebrate the Passover on the prescribed dates, the
priests would not be prepared in time and not all the
people would have made it to Jerusalem (see v.3).

So what to do? Hezekiah pushed back the Passover
one month. Even with that unheard of alteration, some
of the people arrived late and weren’t properly cleansed
for the ceremony (v.18). But the king allowed them to take part anyway, noting
they had come with hearts that indicated their desire “to follow the Lord” (v.19).
Hezekiah revealed an important aspect of worship to God: It’s more
important to have the right heart and attitude than to simply go through the
motions in a certain way or at a certain time. Let’s worship God with truly
devoted hearts today.

—Tom Felten

Read 1 Corinthians 11:27 and consider what Paul taught us about
examining our hearts prior to worshiping God.

How will you strive to show God a heart of worship today? Why is
our attitude in worship more important than what we actually do?