Method to the Madness.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” – 2 Timothy 3:16 NASB
I know what you’re thinking. Why in the world did God include this chapter in the Bible? What could possibly be the purpose of this mind-numbing list of hard-to-pronounce names? But we have to keep in mind the original author’s intent AND who his original audience would have been. For us, as modern-day Christians, these names mean next to nothing, except for the occasional reference to Adam, Abraham, and Isaac. But even though we know who these men were, we aren’t exactly sure what they have to do with us. But the Chronicler was writing to a particular audience for whom this list would have had real significance. It is believed that the books of Chronicles were the last books written of the Old Testament. They would have been penned after the people of Israel had returned to the Promised Land from Babylon where they had been exiled by God for their disobedience. Upon their return, they would have been suffering from a kind of an identity crisis. Many of them would have been born in exile, having never set foot in the land of Canaan before. Now here they were, living in the land of “promise.” What did that mean to them? Where was the promise? The land would have been desolate and its cities would have been in disrepair. They would have returned weak and powerless. This would have been a whole new land to them. They were strangers in their own home. It would have been much like a prisoner sentenced to life in prison, who gets released after 50 years and allowed to return home. He would feel like a stranger, an alien, even in his own home.
So the writer of Chronicles begins by reminding his readers of their heritage. They needed to remember who they were and
how they belonged to God. He had a plan for them. Their detour into captivity had not changed God’s original plan. Beginning with Adam, the author takes them through the genealogy of Adam, Abraham, and Isaac, all the way to David, all the while giving them a history lesson in who there were and what God was doing in their midst. He reminds them that they are descendants of Abraham and Isaac. They have been chosen by God. He is going to remind them of the temple and the God-ordained worship prescribed to take place there. He is going to remind them of their covenant relationship to God as descendants of Abraham. David was their covenant king. He had placed over them by God Himself, and through him would come the ultimate Shepherd/King, the Messiah.
Sometimes we can forget who we are. As we live in this fallen world, surrounded by sin and bombarded by the false lies of the enemy, we can too often lose sight of who we are and forget what God has promised. We are children of the promise. We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. We have been chosen by God and He has a plan for our lives. While our circumstances may not be the best and we may sometimes feel as if we are anything but saints, we must constantly remind ourselves of the truth of God’s Word and His promises found in it. While this first chapter may be hard to read, and even harder to find something spiritually life-changing to pull out of it, we can walk away knowing that we too are children of Abraham, with access to all the promises made to him. “So that’s why faith is the key! God’s promise is given to us as a free gift. And we are certain to receive it, whether or not we follow Jewish customs, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe” (Romans 4:16 NLT).
Father, sometimes I lose perspective. I get hung up on the things taking place around me and I begin to doubt that I am who You say I am. Like the Israelites, I feel like I am coming out of a land of captivity, and I have forgotten what the land of promise was supposed to be like. Remind me daily just exactly who I am and what Your plan is for me. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men