April 22, 2008 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Grace and Faith | 1 Comment

1 Chronicles 1-8

These chapters are a bore to most people who attempt to read them.  They consist of the genealogies of Israel – lists and lists of names.  As I read these in my devotions recently, I noticed something new.  I was scanning names while trying to absorb the little information between.  What would you expect to be said about people in your family a few generations back?  Or what things would you expect to be recorded when only a small comment is made every few generations?  There are some of the things in this text I expect to see:  major moves (4:38f) including the Assyrian captivity (5:25f); battles that were won (2:23f, 5:19f); the significant jobs of a few (4:23, 6:31); and that now-famous prayer by a man named Jabez (4:9f).  The surprise to me was the amount of tragedy recorded in these chapters.  “Judah’s firstborn was wicked in the LORD’s sight, so the LORD put him to death.” (2:3, which is followed by a reminder of Judah’s wickedness with his daughter-in-law).  We are reminded of Achan, “who brought trouble on Israel.” (2:7)  We’re told of a man who died while his wife was still pregnant (2:24); of Reuben, who “when he defiled his father’s marriage bed,” forfeited his rights as firstborn (5:1); of Ephraim, who lost two sons and named his next one “misfortune” (7:21f); and of one who was divorced twice (8:8).

Why so much tragedy when only the “highlights” are listed?  Maybe in the overall picture of things, it is the tragedies of life, more than the good things, which form our character.  God is a sovereign God who brings to our lives what is for his greater glory and ultimately for our good.  In the short view, we don’t always feel that way.  Whatever tragedy you may be facing, God can use it to build greater character in your life and to bring him the ultimate glory.  Some of those tragedies, or the lessons coming from them, may well be viewed by later generations as a part of the great legacy you’ve left behind!


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  1. As I read your comments I was reminded of a seminar we took several years ago. We were to make a graph of the times when we felt the closest to God and the times when we did not feel so close. The peaks were to be when we felt God closeness. It was amazing to realize that the peaks were most often at times of trouble or need. Does this not tell us something about how God wants us to be dependent on Him?

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