Reflections From 2 CHRONICLES: 2-7 “THE TEMPLE DEDICATION POINTS TO GOD’S FIDELITY”

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The conditions for blessing and cursing are directly linked to our obedience or disobedience.  God clearly stipulates this to Solomon after the dedication of the temple:

11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s palace, and successfully completed all that he had planned on doing in the house of the Lord and in his palace.  12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 18 then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.’  19 “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 As for this house, which was exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22 And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them from the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this adversity on them.” (2 Chron.7:11-22)

 And yet, what we see in King David’s life are glimpses of the new covenant where God’s mercy to the king seemed to be a travesty of justice (E.g., Uriah and Bathsheba).  If our hope was not on the heart of flesh God would put into those He chose, we would be in utter despair:

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”  (Jer.31:31-34)

 And yet, this new covenant demands the holiness of God in those professing to be believers, in order to warrant its genuineness.  That is, in the new covenant God brings dead sinners to life through Christ’s work on Calvary’s cross.  This new life is God’s life which necessarily produces the fruit of holiness in his children.  That’s the power of the gospel.  That’s what Jeremiah prophesied would take place, and that’s what Christ accomplished for His own.  The genuine believer does have a sin problem, but in Christ it can no longer prevent us from loving God and neighbor as ourselves.  That is, where once before Christ all we could do was sin, now after being in Christ through new birth, we actually have a choice of whether or not we will obey.  May we choose life always.

(SDG

Reflections From 2 CHRONICLES: 1 “GOD GRANTS WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE”

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I have often ruminated in the proverbs over the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom, qualities for the soul to attain and develop or so I think.  But when texts like the following appear something foundational to these qualities seem to elude me:

 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?” 11 God said to Solomon, “Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king, 12 wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed nor those who will come after you.” (2 Chron.1:10-12)

This text accounts Solomon’s prayer to God for aid in ruling Israel.  The proverbs often speak of wisdom and knowledge being superior to anything else one may desire or possess.  Why?  Because it comes from fearing the LORD (Prov.1:7); it is true treasure (Prov.8:11) not riches, wealth, honor, revenge nor a long life.

That which is so dear to our society is shown to be vain by this text for it is fleeting and in the end incapable of satisfying our deepest longings and desires.  To rule the people of God Solomon understood that he needed nothing less than the all-knowing God’s wisdom—the proper application of knowledge for the flourishing of a thing or person according to its divine design.

When I prepared to do a seminar on “Darwin, Design & Origins” I was both nervous and perplexed at the amount of study and preparation I needed to execute.  But Solomon’s prayer is an insightful model of asking God for these qualities and rigorously applying oneself to the task of said acquisition.  Consider the following texts:

“Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.”   (Prov.10:14)

 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof is stupid” (Prov.12:1)

 “My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.
”   (Prov.2:1-5)

 We see here that hard work is indispensable and nevertheless through it knowledge and wisdom are granted.  That is, God is the source of that which is given even if we (and we must) labor rigorously.

We’re so desperate for you LORD God in our lives, our hearts may fail but nevertheless you remain faithful and true.  Often we are derailed from fixing our eyes upon you yet this is not hidden from your sight.  Our passions, sloth and the resulting misery have brought us low.  Yet, for your Names sake lift us up so that we might enjoy the delights purchased for your children by your son.  For the sake of your renown give us wisdom and knowledge to rule well in the lot apportioned for us.

(SDG)

Reflections From 1 CHRON: 27-29 “THE ORDER OF THE KINGDOM”     

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Every tribe and part of the land was organized under King David.  The commanders of the army, the chief officers of the tribes and the many overseers made life in Israel ordered and prosperous (27).  Part of human thriving comes from order, not chaos and this too comes from the LORD.  I tremble at the thought of disorder in our country today from the top down.

The temple was also to be built under Solomon’s reign not his father David because of the blood of war on David’s hands:

“Now David assembled at Jerusalem all the officials of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the commanders of the divisions that served the king, and the commanders of thousands, and the commanders of hundreds, and the overseers of all the property and livestock belonging to the king and his sons, with the officials and the mighty men, even all the valiant men. Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build it. But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’ Yet, the Lord, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever. For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father’s house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel.  (1 Chron.28:1-14)

 As God chose King David so also he chose Solomon to rule over Israel.  However the stipulation for ruling righteously was simple—obey the LORD and you’ll be blessed, reject God and he’ll reject you:

Of all my sons (for the Lord has given me many sons),He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be a son to Me, and I will be a father to him. I will establish his kingdom forever if he resolutely performs My commandments and My ordinances, as is done now.’ So now, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek after all the commandments of the Lord your God so that you may possess the good land and bequeath it to your sons after you forever.  “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be courageous and act.” (1 Chron.28:5-9)

 The time to build and move forward with the temple required courage and action and the means for said items were Gods very presence:

“All this,” said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern.”  20 Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished. (1 Chron.28:19-20)

I often feel timid with life’s challenges and need the reminder to act through with courage God, the LORD has not abandoned me, but is rather graciously ever with me.

LORD, I need a renewal in my soul of the reality of Your presence in my life for I feel bowed low and weary, my sins are ever before me so hear my cry for mercy and lift me up from the miry pit and cleanse me from idolatry and the anxiety it produces in me.  Also help me live in light of life’s brevity before Your face, my LORD and my God:

“But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You. 15 For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope… 28 Then he died in a ripe old age, full of days, riches and honor; and his son Solomon reigned in his place.(1 Chron.29:14-15, 28)   

Reflections From 1 CHRONICLES 16-21 “OF KING’S & WAR: DAVID’S EXPLOITS RETOLD”

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When Israel worshipped the LORD under David’s command, the song of the LORD God of Israel was skillfully sung with instruments, cymbals, trumpets, harps and lyres 16:1-7:

“And they brought in the ark of God and placed it inside the tent which David had pitched for it, and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. When David had finished offering the burnt offering and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord. He distributed to everyone of Israel, both man and woman, to everyone a loaf of bread and a portion of meat and a raisin cake.  He appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, even to celebrate and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel:Asaph the chief, and second to him Zechariah, then Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom and Jeiel, with musical instruments, harps, lyres; also Asaph played loud-sounding cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests blew trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.  Then on that day David first assigned Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the Lord

The ark of the presence reminded Israel of their God who acts in space time history and reveals His covenant to the chosen ones.  These revelations are to be in song (16:8-36) so that a telling and remembering of Him could be passed down to the generations.  This is why God raised David up as leader, and it’s also obvious to David that his successes are based on the God who is there (17:16-27) not through the arm of man.

Moreover, this warrior-king David, was God’s chosen to administer justice and righteousness for all His people 18:14-17:

“So David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and righteousness for all his people. 15 Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; 16 and Zadok the son of Ahitub and Abimelech the son of Abiathar were priests, and Shavsha was secretary; 17 and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and the sons of David were chiefs at the king’s side.

Why do rulers rule?  They should do it so that justice and righteousness reign, not for self-aggrandizement.  Rulers should recognize that they serve those who they rule, but too often, the converse is true.  David as warrior-king was also ruthless when it came to dealing with his enemies and a bloody scene transpired 20:2-8:

David took the crown of their king from his head, and he found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there was a precious stone in it; and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount. He brought out the people who were in it, and cut them with saws and with sharp instruments and with axes. And thus David did to all the cities of the sons of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.  Now it came about after this, that war broke out at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, one of the descendants of the giants, and they were subdued. And there was war with the Philistines again, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot; and he also was descended from the giants. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.”  

Perhaps the puzzling to me was the numbering of Israel and the severe punishment meted out by God (21:1-17) toward David.  Why did God allow Satan to move David to number Israel?  (See: Gleason Archer: Bible Difficulties).  According to Archer:

“God’s anger was unleashed on Israel because of their pride thinking their numbers are what gave them victory and prominence as a nation, rather than God’s sovereign grace.”

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the name of the LORD our God.  Whenever we as a people move away from the bedrock of the Savior as our protector, deliverer and our Good Shepherd, we inevitably fall into self-reliance and pride swells up the soul.  This ends in judgement always depicted in the Angel of the LORD’s destruction through pestilence.

After the judgment was met out, David was terrified of the Angel’s sword before the altar of God.  It’s as if his pride melted away before the God of creation, the God who redeems Israel (21:18-30).  We must thus tell and remember with thankful hearts the deeds of the LORD God so that we don’t forget the Creator/creature distinction and His good acts toward His people and opposite wrath toward His enemies.  Today this is very instructive.

(SDG)

Summaries Now Available!

310D727a2fL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Now available in summary form is Politics for Christians.  This is an election year and the candidates for both the Democrats and the Republican parties are less than stellar according to many.  Moreover many people while having opinions on their preferred candidates have no grid from which they clearly decide on a particular person for office.  As Christians, we divide on many things and our preferred political party is certainly one of them.  Whatever party lines believers find themselves coming under, a fundamental question needs to be answered: “what policies come closest to our worldview as ambassadors for Christ?”

Answering that question takes careful thought and humility.  It’s my hope that the summaries of this book will help the Christian in particular be salt and light as they engage to the glory of God, the political process.  Moreover, it’s my desire to see the citizens of heaven consider their temporary earthly citizenship as a means to rule and reign that honors Christ and their fellow man, rather than shaming his name.  Take up and read friends.

Reflections From 1 CHRONICLES 11-15 “MIGHTY MEN WORTHY OF NOTE—REMEMBERED”

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          Reading the accounts of David’s mighty men is fascinating to me.  These are the ones who are named by clan, country, father and brother, men skilled in tactical warfare.  Some are ambidextrous with the bow, sling and sword, others were adroit with spears, ran like gazelles but all were amazing warriors.  Among these special mighty men of valor was Uzziah whom David betrayed.

These men had names and are forever memorialized in the annals of heaven.  In a dark world, the need for valiant warriors doing righteousness is necessary and thus sanctioned by the LORD.  War reminds us of how chaotic things have always been since the fall of man, and how it will continue to be with us until the consummation.

I’m not surprised at the commercial that says, “make love not war,” seeing how gruesome it is, while not understanding the horrors humans are capable of performing against one another.  Moreover, a relativistic society has nothing to say about this matter if it’s going to be consistent with its worldview…but it can’t be.  But is war ever warranted?  The views on this issue are nuanced and deeply affected by one’s understanding of humanity (i.e., are people basically good or bad, is there real evil in the world or not?)

People once lived in fortified cities, had watchmen on the walls protecting their citizens, and would sound the alarm if invaders were approaching.  In America today we live in huge cities, towns and suburbs protected by unseen agents, military and para-military units.  For the most part, our protectors go unnoticed to us (depending on our neighborhoods).  The irony is so many people disparage our modern day “watchmen” who truly keep law and order, who provide us the ability to make a life for ourselves, who even protect our freedom to speak against them.  Many laud their execution.  Such a position is deplorable.

What would happen if our “watchmen” (i.e., law enforcement agents, police) did not exist?  Do you really think things would be better?  Are you trained in tactical warfare, hand to hand combat, or have skills with weapons?  If not, and the real bad guys came knocking at your door, what would transpire?  Would you feel safe or threatened?  Remember, there’s no one to call for aid, no 911 or police or militia, nothing to rely on except “your” abilities to protect “your” loved ones, what would you do, how would you feel?

I think considering the abovementioned scenario is essential to get in touch with a stark reality too many anti-law, anti-police, anti-military people have not considered—those you tend to despise are the very ones protecting your ability to speak against them.  Do that in Castro’s Cuba and they won’t put you into the Holiday Inn, do that in an Arab Islamic State and they’ll relieve you of any headaches, do that in Hitler’s Germany and you’d partake in “The Final Solution”.

David’s men of valor are memorialized because with skill they fought real evil in the land, they were God’s hand of wrath in a very real way and these provided safety for those who could not provide it for themselves.  In a similar way our military and para-military “watchmen” should be appreciated and remembered for putting their lives on the line for people that hate them.  They with great skill fight real evil in the land; they are God’s hands of wrath against evil doers (Romans 13); they protect those who can’t protect themselves.  These people should be appreciated not disparaged, lauded not berated, welcomed not shunned.

(SDG)

1&2 KINGS Now Available in Summary!

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Solomon’s true wealth was not his material possessions (which were massive), but the wisdom God gave to him.  This wisdom was given to the young king in response to his petition for; “An understanding heart to judge Your [Gods’] people to discern between good and evil…” (3:9).

What would occur if leaders and rulers would make this petition the content of their desires, rather than the obvious prestige and power which come along with said positions?  I think those following would be more joyful and less oppressed because this mark of a righteous leader mirrors God’s priorities in ruling.

Yet not all of Israel’s kings had Solomon’s disposition, but one bent toward practicing what is evil in the sight of the LORD.  These annals of history have many lessons for us to consider, not least of which is what occurs when the righteous rule a people as opposed to the wicked.   In this presidential election year this book seems to be especially pertinent.

Take up and read in complete summary form Reflections From 1&2 Kings !

SDG

 

Reflections From 1 CHRONICLES 5-10 “WHAT’S IN A GENEALOGY” Part 2

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As I continue to reflect on the importance of genealogies I’m further struck with how they humanize the dead, those who have gone before us.  They are remembered not forgotten and their mark on history (whether small or great) does not go unnoticed by their Creator.

This remembrance notes tasks allotted to certain individuals like the sons of Rueben and the Gadites who were men of valor in battle:

 The sons of Reuben and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, consisting of valiant men, men who bore shield and sword and shot with bow and were skillful in battle, were 44,760, who went to war.”  (5:18)

 Again, the Levites are remembered for; “…all the service of the tabernacle of the house of God.” (6:48); or consider how the sons of Issachar are memorialized:

“Now the sons of Issachar were four: Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron.The sons of Tola were Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam and Samuel, heads of their fathers’ households. The sons of Tola were mighty men of valor in their generations; their number in the days of David was 22,600.(7:1-2)

 Still again, the sons of Elpaal are mentioned:

12 The sons of Elpaal were Eber, Misham, and Shemed, who built Ono and Lod, with its towns;13 and Beriah and Shema, who were heads of fathers’ households of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who put to flight the inhabitants of Gath; (8:12-13)

Those who kept the thresholds of the tent:

“Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his relatives of his father’s house, the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the thresholds of the tent; and their fathers had been over the camp of the Lord, keepers of the entrance.” (9:19)

 Even those who managed the tent service and worship are recalled:

21 Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was gatekeeper of the entrance of the tent of meeting. 22 All these who were chosen to be gatekeepers at the thresholds were 212. These were enrolled by genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer appointed in their office of trust. 23 So they and their sons had charge of the gates of the house of the Lord, even the house of the tent, as guards… 26 for the four chief gatekeepers who were Levites, were in an office of trust, and were over the chambers and over the treasuries in the house of God. 27 They spent the night around the house of God, because the watch was committed to them; and they were in charge of opening it morning by morning.  28 Now some of them had charge of the utensils of service, for they counted them when they brought them in and when they took them out.29 Some of them also were appointed over the furniture and over all the utensils of the sanctuary and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the frankincense and the spices. 30 Some of the sons of the priests prepared the mixing of the spices. (9:21-23, 26-30)

As I consider my life and the contribution God has allotted for me to fulfill, I too like you friend, must remember that they do not go unnoticed by He who sees everything.  An example of a task allotted to me is an apologetics sermon I was preparing to deliver at my church, this was accompanied with much anxiety and personal attacks.  That is, the work God calls each one of us to do is accompanied with joy but with conflict and cost.  Love always costs and serving for the sake of the Name is at times more difficult than others.

One way to love is to battle the forces of darkness—a battle every believer is called to wage—by considering God’s truth, recalling those who have gone before us, learning from their triumphs and defeats, and committing to look for God’s reward, not man’s recognition, for as we see in genealogies, God does not forget, He sees in the secret place and will give each one their due recompense.

By the above remark, I am in no way asserting that one can earn God’s graces through personal merit, since God throughout Scripture reveals that being in relationship with Him is all mercy.  What I am saying is that being in relationship with Him does affect the trajectory of our lives.  And depending on the choices we make, God will justly reward us.

(SDG)

Summary From Chapter#5: GOD, NATURAL RIGHTS AND THE NATURAL MORAL LAW (Pgs.145-163)

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Beckwith here explores whether or not it is reasonable to hold, as the founding fathers did, that natural moral law requires God’s existence.  He considers the atheistic, theistic and Biblical view as to its origins (Hobbes, Locke, and Aquinas were major contributors to our understanding and disputes).  Beckwith explains that it’s reasonable to believe in natural law being grounded in God’s existence and since the existence of God is a philosophically defensible position, one may legitimately claim it as an item of knowledge.  Thus, those who reject said position, aren’t unreasonable for doing so, yet neither are those who accept it.

Beckwith considers contemporary atheism and some of its key players (E.g., Hitchens and Dawkins) and sees an inconsistency with their worldview and natural rights.  That is, atheism essentially affirms that we are accidental, purposeless, pieces of meat who when we die we’re done.  Humans have no intrinsic value in and of themselves and yet when moral dilemmas arise who cares if there’s agreement or disagreement because there’s no purpose or meaning to life.  But people like atheists deeply care about their views and thus betray their worldview unwittingly.  That’s an oversimplification of what Beckwith considers [pgs.148-152].

Beckwith then considers why moral natural law suggests God.  He holds that God’s existence best accounts for said laws and are most at home in a theistic universe for these objective moral values are grounded in God, the Designer, the Supreme Being (even if Christendom is rejected, some ultimate being grounds natural law).  There are really only two options to buttress the origins of Human dignity and rights; (a) its either accidental, a chance result, or (b) its the result of intelligence.

If it’s accidental then why obey a mindless principle?  Beckwith then considers evolutionary arguments for said position that are merely descriptive, not prescriptive and there’s the rub [pgs.152-157], for that worldview only explains what is not why it is and that is precisely the realm of morals (e.g., what we ought and ought not do).

If it’s the result of intelligence, then we have an explanation that fits most consistently with human experience.  For we obey “beings” not “principles”, we fulfill our duties toward those whom are owed, the objects of which are persons, not accidents.  Beckwith continues and considers examples that have been used to ground these laws in Scripture [pgs.158-162].

He concludes the book with a wise reminder that while politics is not everything, it is not “nothing”.  It is often messy and filled with conflict, but so is much of life (e.g., family, work, school and church).  Thus he ends with words from Ecclesiastes that are often quoted, but not often reflected on:

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
”  (Ecc.3:1-8 NASB)

           

Reflections From 1 CHRONICLES 1-4 “WHAT’S IN A GENEALOGY?” Part 1

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My goal in writing reflections from 1 & 2 CHRONICLES are the following: First, to encourage you the reader that if you will pay attention to the words on the page and listen carefully you will mine a lot of truth for life without the need of a commentary or any secondary source even thought at times I’ll reference said works for help.  That is, “take up and read” to enrich your soul Christian.

Second, I write to give you a model of how observations can be done in scripture that do not read into the text something foreign to the author’s intent.  This will help you experience the joy of discovery and increase your confidence in your ability to comprehend God’s word.

Third, by doing the above my hope is that you will be able to hear God’s voice all the more clearly because it is the word of God that is forever settled in heaven, and not our subjective impressions, however valid they may be.  That is, we have a more sure word of prophecy according to Peter—meaning the inscripturated word of God—then a glorious experience we may claim to have (2 Peter 1:16-21).  Too often we Christians have bizarre ideas of what “God” is supposedly speaking to us and when it contradicts the Bible, be assured we are not hearing his voice.

I’ve often glanced through my Bible and not really paid much attention to this portion of holy writ.  A seemingly endless bouquet of names, attached to each other, I’ve thought to be laborious at worst and not relevant at best.  I was wrong!

According to Gleason Archer, scholar of Old Testament Studies and languages, genealogies are space-time-history events that occurred in redemptive history.  That is, God is revealing a specific word through these people and we would do well to heed their message.

First, these chronicles were compiled by either Ezra or one of his contemporaries after the Babylonian captivity of Israel came to an end (586-539), where Jewish colonists were returning to Jerusalem to establish a new commonwealth of Israel [Gleason Archer, Bible Difficulties, Pg. 216].

Second, because all that remained in Israel was ruins, the people had to hold on to only their memories, traditions, Scripture and their God.  This is the God who promised to them the restoration of the land after the termination of their exile [Gleason Archer, pg. 216].  They thus had to establish their lines of descent from Abraham and the twelve sons of Jacob so that the apportioned territories of the land could be allotted to the proper heirs.

Third, Yahweh Elohim (LORD God) personally made a covenant with Abraham and his “seed” through which Israel would live consecrated lives to the LORD.  Only a tenth of the people are believed to have returned to the land which was in shambles, the rest of Israel chose to die in Babylon.  God’s redemptive plan was bound up with those who returned to the land.

Fourth, emphasis in genealogies culminates in the New Testament where Christ is the rightful heir in the Davidic line (Mt.1) and by right has the authority to demand complete obedience of both Jew and gentile alike [Bible Difficulties, Pg. 216].

What’s in a genealogy?  Identity!  The identity of God’s people is wrapped up in God’s work in redemptive history which climaxed in the incarnation, Christs arrival in the fullness of time.  Here God is revealed as one who strategically, specifically and skillfully redeems a wayward people who owe their blessings entirely to mercy.

For what does this genealogy argue against?  It first argues against a cyclical worldview which eradicates any “telos” purpose, from existence and holds to a circle of events which endlessly repeat themselves.  It secondly argues against a mechanistic worldview that considers matter as eternal—thus there’s no designer, no mind to consider, no person with which to reckon.  Third, it argues against a polytheism that has endless finite gods needing to be appeased so their egotistical needs are met and it goes well with their subordinates—us.  Fourth, it argues against a radical monotheism (Islam) where the divine God can’t be known personally but must nonetheless be served and obeyed.

What does this genealogy point to ultimately?  This genealogy points to the personal, triune, self-existent, all-knowing, all-wise, all-good, all-powerful, ubiquitous God to whom we owe our very existence and to whom we will all give an account.

That’s significant, maybe laborious but with much reward, it’s not irrelevant but utterly pertinent to making sense out of the Scriptures and what the author of sacred writ (God the Spirit) is revealing.

(SDG)