Sunday, June 12, 2016

1 Chronicles 1

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Chronicles 1. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Today we launch into 1 (and then later, 2) Chronicles. It is believed that 1 & 2 Chronicles were written by the prophet Ezra (the book after 1 & 2 Chronicles is named Ezra, after this prophet Ezra), and written in the later half of the fifth century B.C. If you've been doing the Verve reading plan on the weekends, prepare for some deja vu. 1 & 2 Chronicles tells about the same period of history of God's people as 1 & 2 Kings (which we just read). In the same way that there are multiple books that tell the history of America, even of the same period, say the time of the Civil War, 1 & 2 Chronicles tell about the same time period (for instance, of Kings David, and Solomon) as 1 & 2 Kings.
  • The first chapter is a "genealogy" - a family record of the nation of Israel. Why was this important?
    • This list was put together after the people of Judah (the southern kingdom of Israel) were taken captive to Babylon (which we read about at the end of 2 Kings). A fear amongst the people was that their heritage would be lost. God had promised special blessing to Abraham and his descendants, and the Jews wanted to be able to show how they had descended from Abraham.
    • God had promised that the Messiah (the Savior) would be a descendant of Abraham, and of David. A genealogy like this helps to establish Jesus' family line.
  • Interestingly, this genealogy gives information on the descendants of Edom (verse 43ff), who were Israel's enemies. Why? Because they were descendants of Esau, who was Isaac's oldest son and thus was a direct descendant of Abraham.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • It was very important to the Jews to prove they were Abraham's descendants, because they knew that would mean they were special to God and recipients of His promise. Guess what? If you have put your faith in Jesus, YOU are Abraham's descendants and recipients of God's promise. Check out:
    • Galatians 3:6-7, "In the same way, 'Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.' The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God."
    • Galatians 3:29, "And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you."
    • Also see Romans 9 (though, warning, it's a bit deep and challenging to understand).
  • The idea is that it's not being a descendant of Abraham is not because you share in his bloodline, but because you share in his faith.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • It is an incredible thing that we are God's specially chosen people, the people of God's promise. There's great dignity in knowing that you are called by God, special to Him. There's also great security in knowing that God is with you and loves you with a perfect love. There's great hope in knowing that no matter what happens, ultimately you are and will be the recipient of God's blessing. Why don't you take some time to pray, thanking God that you are a descendant, by faith, of Abraham, and the recipient of God's great promises.