Tuesday, November 13, 2012

1 Chronicles 1-2 Remembering Our Destiny

1 Chron 1:1-4, 34; 2:1-2 Adam, Seth, Enosh, 2 Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, 3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth... Abraham was the father of Isaac. The sons of Isaac: 

Esau and Israel...These were the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad and Asher.

The first nine chapters of Chronicles trace the genealogies of Israel from Adam (1:1), down to Abraham, to David and all the way down to the families who returned from the Babylonian exile (9:1-2): "The people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. Now the first to resettle on their own property in their own towns were some Israelites, priests, Levites and temple servants." Unlike 1 & 2 Kings which ends with the nation of Judah being deported to Babylon, Chronicles was written by someone who has returned from the Babylonian exile after 70 years (traditionally identified as Ezra).

So, 1 & 2 Chronicles were written by someone who has a more positive perspective of the Babylonian exile, having returned to Jerusalem after 70 years. The author and the returnees who were under 70 years old have never seen Solomon's temple nor his glorious building projects in Jerusalem. Everything was gone: the temple was burned to the ground and the walls around Jerusalem were broken down. Jerusalem was a sad and God-forsaken place that met the families returning from exiles. Genealogies were one way to re-connect with their past glories: Israel was not some God-forsaken people. They were and still are God's chosen people.

1 Chronicles 1-9 traces the exiles' ancestry all the way to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and also to their common humanity in Adam. They are a people of destiny because of God's promise to Abraham and they are part of the continuing story of God's mission to redeem the world.

When we are down and out, and our circumstances reinforce the sense of unreality of the glorious destiny we are called to pursue, we must retrace our ancestry--as a people of God. We must know where we came from before we can know where we are going. The Church of Jesus Christ, like Israel, traces its spiritual ancestry not to our motherlands (China, India, etc) but to Israel and to Abraham. We are part of God's continuing story of salvation that began with Adam, Abraham, David and Christ. We have a destiny, and that destiny is to continue this story to its final climax of Christ's return in glory.

But like our missional and purpose-driven God, we must also live missional and purpose-driven lives so that we reach the destiny of God in Christ. But if we choose to march to a different tune than God's, we might end up in the thrash-bins of history. Only those who stay tuned to God's mission and purpose will become people of destiny.

Thank You Father that we are part of Your continuing story of salvation that starts with Abraham, then to Israel and now in Christ. Help us look forward to His return and live with our future destiny in mind. Amen.

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