To this point, our Bible reading has mainly moved right through the biblical order of books – but this week we’ll begin jumping around between Psalms and Chronicles (soon to include Samuel and Kings, too). Unlike Samuel (the prophetic account of Israel’s Kings) or Kings (the “royal account” of Israel’s Kings), Chronicles is the “historical account.” You’ll get a grittier picture of the Kings and an assessment of their actions based upon their faithfulness to the covenant. Pay attention to those differences as we read over the next few weeks.
The first nine chapters of Chronicles are genealogies. The Chronicler is setting the stage for his assessment of Israel’s history by going back to the beginning – to Adam and Abraham and David. If you want a nerdy/technical overview (with pictures!) of these first nine chapters and the deep theological nature of genealogies, then check out this Twitter thread. Without getting lost in the weeds, here’s the point using a mash-up quote from two authors: “Biblical genealogies aren’t merely records of history. They have a purpose, a message, and a theology to convey. And the genealogies in 1 Chronicles are no exception…These stories remind Israel of the twin pillars of their greatness – the Davidic monarchy and the worship of Yahweh. This emphasis on crown and temple runs through the entire book, providing a basis for the hopes of a people longing for the restoration of both.”
Pay attention to the themes of worship and kingship in these psalms. Psalm 45:6, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness…” This is quoted in Hebrews 1 of Jesus’ kingdom.
Back to the genealogies today. As you read, try to play a little game to see how many names you recognize and something about them from Scripture. I get it: reading names can be boring, but if you’re looking for something it helps. Our application question comes from Jabez in 4:9-10.
We’re reading three great psalms today. Psalm 73 is a helpful reminder of where we get proper perspective – from gathering with the Lord and his people. Our hearts may fail, but God is our strength. Psalm 77 feels very applicable to this situation we find ourselves in with Coronavirus. Let’s seek the Lord in the day of trouble and pray that he will make known his might among the peoples. Psalm 78 has been a focus for us during the NEXT initiative and a helpful reminder not to hide the works of the Lord from the coming generation.
If you looked at the Twitter thread I referenced earlier this week, you may remember that 1 Chron. 6 is the “center” of the genealogy because it deals with the Levites, who serve in the Temple, which holds the twelve tribes together in worship and sacrifice. You can see those two themes in 6:31-32 and 6:49. If we focus on worship and sacrifice, there’s an application for us from Hebrews 13:15, “Through [Jesus] let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
Psalm 88 is by Heman (we read of him yesterday in 1 Chron. 6:33). I think he asks provocative questions: Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abbadon? I’m thankful that in Jesus, we know the answers to these questions. Psalm 92 and 93 are a great pair – especially in light of Psalm 88. I’d invite you to make Psalm 92:1-4 a regular habit.
Today, we finish the long genealogy. The end of the genealogy includes the “returned exiles.” While this is technically NOT in chronological order, it is significant because Chronicles provides a running start for Ezra and Nehemiah. It also reminds the Israelites of God’s unending faithfulness to his people from Adam through the Exile. In light of all that history, you can see why the Chronicler assesses Saul’s reign in so poorly 10:13-14, “Saul died for his breach of faith…broke faith…did not seek guidance from the LORD.” It all hinges on faithfulness to the covenant! I like how Greg Gilbert commented in the ESV Story of Redemption Bible, “This book is more than history; it is history written for the purpose of calling the entire people of God to reunite around the rightful crown and the temple.”