It’s been several years since I’ve read through the Bible- you know, the whole Genesis to Revelation thing. I’ve done plenty of studying, mind you. I just haven’t given in to the whole ‘order and structure’ thing. (That right brain asserts itself occasionally.) This year I began a new trek through, and I’ve hit 1 Chronicles. (And I’m not on any ‘plan’ or anything, so there’s no pressure. I hate pressure.)
Anyway, 1 Chronicles… The first few chapters are tougher than Leviticus and Deuteronomy put together. (I happen to like Deuteronomy, thank you very much.) The book begins with genealogies that go on page after page, with names I can’t spell (but I always pretend I can pronounce them). Why on earth would God want to include 1 Chronicles in His Bible? I don’t know, but I have a few ideas.
1. It’s the story of Israel, the apple of God’s eye, His chosen people. Don’t you revel in the minute details of those you love? Can’t you remember the first time your kids smiled? Or that second grade program? Don’t you include all that in your Christmas letter each year? Or… how about this… how long could you talk about your hobby? Those details get us giddy and excited because of the love, not the details themselves.
2. It shows the vast scope of God’s plan, involving so many people across so many generations. The web of His will is so intricately woven, we can’t begin to fathom the connections.
3. There are practical, useful things in there if you’re diligent (stay awake) while reading. In 5:20, there is a quick reference to a victory won by the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh. It says the victory came because ‘they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer because they put their trust in Him.’ There are so many lessons there- crying out to God in battle, He hears when we put our trust in Him, how victory comes… and those are the obvious ones.
4. Those aren’t just endless names to God. He knows each one of those people intimately. He delighted in their obedience. He grieved when they sinned. So many stories are there waiting to be uncovered. Like the folks in 1 Chronicles, I am not just a number or a name to God.
So… any portions of Scripture slow you down? I have another that’s even more difficult, but I’ll save it for later.