“In 538 B.C., having overthrown the Babylonian Empire the previous year, Cyrus of Persia decreed that the Jews could return to their homeland after 70 years in exile. The people were vulnerable to the enemies who surrounded them—their neighbors hardly welcomed these “interlopers” who had come home to compete with them politically and economically. Harvests were poor or failed completely, and the people had to endure the subsequent famines. Morale was low and there was little to motivate the people’s spiritual life. The author of the books of Chronicles, whom we shall call the Chronicler, saw a need to remind the returnees of their national identity. This identity superseded the division of the nation into northern and southern kingdoms and found its center in the law of Moses. With the spiritual life of the nation in shambles, temple worship needed to be restored by the Levites and priests as the true mediators of God’s Word and will. So the Chronicler sat down to pen a book to encourage a change in the self-image and identity of God’s chosen people. Genealogies were very important to the Chronicler, and thus the modern reader cannot gloss over them and still expect to understand the message of the book. Some were used to show the kinship between Israel and neighboring tribes, while others established the legitimacy for persons of rank and authority.
The genealogies reflect a teleological view of history, that is, a view in which humankind is moving toward a goal set by the Creator. More importantly, they provide a framework for the Chronicler’s concept of “all Israel.” The Chronicler used this important phrase 45 times. For the Chronicler, there was no more north and south, Israel and Judah, but just “all Israel.” “All Israel” was at the dedication of the temple. Hezekiah invited “all Israel” to come to Jerusalem for worship, and although most mocked the invitation, some “humbled themselves” before Yahweh and came to worship at Jerusalem. Although Israel had been divided, the damage was never irreparable, and repentance was always available to the people. The Chronicler focused upon the consequences of idolatry and God’s desire for the sinner to repent and return to a life of obedience to the law of Moses. This obedience is the basic characteristic of anyone who had a covenant relationship with Yahweh, since God’s moral character had to be reflected by the nation He had chosen. The Chronicler synthesized a historical narrative from a specific theological stance and intended it as an antidote to contemporary spiritual apathy.” (HCSB)

As always, history has repeated itself. Today, we see ethnic, cultural, and religious divisions that result in local and global conflict. We behave like piranhas, which scuffle at each other, until a large predator comes along, and then they unite to fight off the predator. As soon as the predator is gone, they go back to their brawls. The tragedies of 9/11, Katrina, and recently Haiti, have shown examples of how most of the world can come together to help their fellow human beings. Jesus Christ is the one and only way to eternal life, and those who have accepted Him as Lord and Savior have established an everlasting covenant that can never be broken. It is unfortunate that there is so much deception in this world that have people believe in all kinds of false religions. The Bible is the story about life, mistakes, corrections, and most importantly, forgiveness.

“To the modern reader, genealogies make for boring reading. Why did the Chronicler devote so much space (chapters 1-9) to them? In the ancient world one’s identity was rooted in one’s family and then in one’s clan or tribe. Ethnicity was the essence of one’s public and private loyalties. The Chronicler’s primary purpose in writing his book was to impart a sense of unity and loyalty to a scattered and demoralized nation. The genealogy shows one’s place, who is family, and who is not. To whom am I obligated, and to what degree? One cannot deny family relationships, wrote the Chronicler to his “brothers.” The lists and genealogies make up between 25-30 percent of the Chronicles, based upon actual word count. Clearly, ancestry and relationships are a major part of the Chronicler’s message: the importance of Israel in world history and its essential unity. From Adam to Jacob (Israel), the trail narrows down to the twelve tribes of Israel. Notice the Chronicler named him “Israel” not “Jacob.” He began presenting his theology right from the start, a theme that will echo back again and again: “We’re all together in this exile; one for all and all for one.” The Chronicler only rarely uses the name “Jacob” rather than “Israel.” This was part of his emphasis upon the unity of the nation of Israel—that they all came from the same father.”(HCSB)

In 1 Chronicles 4:10, the name “Jabez” literally means “he afflicts, gives pain.” He was asking God not to allow his name to characterize his destiny. In the ancient Near East, names were often associated with the character of a person, or of a desirable or undesirable destiny. This puts an interesting perspective on what it means to be a Christian. People who have accepted Jesus into their lives, had their sins wiped away and were made new from the inside. Unfortunately, there are way too many “Sunday Christians (SC)” as well as “Christmas and Easter Only (CEO) Christians.” The SC’s and the CEO’s fail to realize that there are steps in Christian living and do not go any further than acknowledging Jesus as Lord. Christians have a desirable destiny, which is eternal life with the Father. While living on this earth, our destiny is to take up the character of Jesus. We do this by studying the Bible, going to church on a regular basis, and getting involved in the community. Christians need to set a good example of what it truly means to have Jesus Christ in our hearts.

In 1 Chronicles 4:43, “they still live there today.” “Although Simeon was no longer a political or geographical entity, they were part of Israel and so still had a place. In light of the need for unity, Simeon provided an important example to the rest of Israel of God’s grace and commitment to Israel’s continuing existence. We see in 1 Chronicles 5:25 a partial statement of the Chronicler’s historiography: Israel’s exile was a direct consequence of faithlessness to God. Restoration of the nation would be predicated upon the opposite attitude of the returnees: faithfulness to God’s word and law; most importantly, turning away from the worship of any other deity.”(HCSB)

“From 1 Chronicles 11-29, David is the focus of the Chronicler’s narrative. Second Chronicles begins with David’s son, Solomon. What was omitted from the Chronicler’s narration tells us almost as much of the Chronicler’s purpose as the story itself. He omitted all of David’s youth, his exile among the Philistines, and the struggle with Saul. He began after David’s first seven-year reign over Judah at Hebron. The narrative began with “all Israel” asking him to be king over the rest of the tribes. The Chronicler wanted to emphasize Israel’s corporate identity as a nation, with a divinely chosen ruler. If all the tribes of Israel were once unified under God, it could—and would—be so again in the future.”(HCSB)

1 Chronicles 16:8-36: “Give thanks to the LORD; call on His name; proclaim His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him; sing praise to Him; tell about all His wonderful works! Honor His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Search for the LORD and for His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonderful works He has done, His wonders, and the judgments He has pronounced…Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Proclaim His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonderful works among all peoples…Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever…May the LORD, the God of Israel, be praised from everlasting to everlasting…Then all the people said, Amen and Praise the LORD.”

In 1 Chronicles 17:7, “Ruler” is from the Hebrew word nagid, referring to a tribal chieftain or a lesser ruler accountable to a “high king.” This term was deliberately chosen instead of the more usual Hebrew word melek, “king.” This latter word should be applied to the Lord. David was nagid and served his melek, the Lord. This is a very different understanding of ruling from Israel’s ancient Near Eastern neighbors, where nearly every little town boasted of a “king” jealous of his prerogatives and prerequisites. These rulers claimed divinity more often than not, instead of acknowledging stewardship to a higher authority.”(HCSB)

1 Chronicles 29:10-13: “Then David praised the LORD in the sight of all the assembly. David said, “May You be praised, LORD God of our father Israel, from eternity to eternity. Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. In Your hand are power and might, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we give You thanks and praise Your glorious name.”

2 Chronicles 12:7-8: “When the LORD saw that they had humbled themselves, the LORD’s message came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves; I will not destroy them but will grant them a little deliverance. My wrath will; not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. However, they will become his servants so that they may recognize the difference between serving Me and serving the kingdoms of the land.”

2 Chronicles 16:9, 30:9, 18-19: “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His. For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful; He will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him. May the good LORD provide atonement on behalf of whoever sets his whole heart on seeking God, the LORD God of his ancestors, even though not according to the purification rules of the sanctuary.”

In 2 Chronicles 36:23, The Chronicler brought his story up to his own time, leaving his readers with the possibility of hope through repentance and the freedom to return and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

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