Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 1:1-2:17 (additional reading: Psalm 3:1-8 and Proverbs 18:14-15)
The books of Chronicles cover the same historical ground that the books of Samuel and Kings do, but from quite a different point of view. These books can be compared to the Gospel of John in the New Testament. If you are familiar with the four Gospels, you know that the first three — Matthew, Mark, and Luke — are what we call the Synoptical Gospels. These three parallel each other and cover the same general incidents, often from the same general viewpoint. But the Gospel of John is something quite different. When John sat down to write his Gospel, the last New Testament book written (probably about 90 or 95 A.D.), he employed a deliberately selective process. He says, “Jesus did many other signs … which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God …” (John 20:30-31 RSV). He made no attempt to cover the whole of the Lord’s ministry. Instead, John carefully selected certain things out of Christ’s ministry to illustrate the great point that he wished to make — here is the one who fulfilled all the divine predictions of the coming of Messiah, the Christ, and furthermore, He is the Son of the living God. This was his purpose. The books of First and Second Chronicles are similar in their selective process.
The central points around which everything in these books gathers are the king and the temple. The king was David. In one sense, he is the only king that appears in these two books. He is God’s king. The first book centres on him completely. The second book of Chronicles follows the house of David down through the time of the captivity, almost totally ignoring the northern kingdom because this is the book of God’s king and the temple.
The selective character of First Chronicles is evident right in the opening chapters. The first nine chapters are given over to a long list of genealogies. These are not merely the stringing together of a lot of names, however; these genealogies are of great importance. I know sometimes we are tempted to hurry by these long lists of Bible names. We feel so much like a dear old Scotch preacher who was reading from the opening chapter of Matthew. He started out reading, “Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judah and his brethren,” (Matt 1:2 KJV). Then he said, “They kept on begatting one another all the way down this side of the page and clear on to the other side.” And he picked up the reading and went on from there.
Some of us also would like to dismiss these genealogies, but they are too important for that. If we read them in a hurry, we will miss the point of this whole passage. If you look carefully at them you will see that God is choosing and selecting, excluding and including, working toward an ultimate goal.
This genealogy is recorded so that we might see both the goal toward which the Lord works in human history and the principle by which he includes or excludes event. God is always looking for a humble heart.
- Do you hurry over parts of Scripture?
- How can we slow down and listen to God speak to us?
Father, Thank You that You establish Your Kingdom. Help us in these coming days to praise You for all You have done and are doing. In Jesus’ name, Amen