Bible Readings for November 13th
The books of Chronicles are very similar to the books of Samuel and Kings, so that we will read many of the same stories we just finished reading over again during the next few weeks. And yet, the books of Chronicles are doing something very different than what we saw in the previous four books of the Bible. We are not merely reading a second-hand retelling of the same stories. Rather, we are looking at the same stories from a fresh vantage point: where everything that we have read so far looks backward to trace the downfall of Israel and Judah into exile, Chronicles now retells the story by looking forward to the renewal that Yahweh would bring his people through the coming Messiah.
What this means practically is that, where the books of Samuel and Kings meticulously documented the sins of Israel and Judah, the books of Chronicles focus largely on the positive elements of Yahweh’s people and of the mercy Yahweh shows to his people again and again. It isn’t that the books of Chronicles are trying to sweep Israel’s sins under the rug but rather that the two tellings of these stories serve different purposes. The books of Samuel and Kings serve to provide undeniable prosecutorial evidence that Yahweh was justified in sending his people into exile, but Chronicles charts a path forward for the people of God beyond the exile.
This helps to explain why 1 Chronicles begins with the genealogies of the very first humans to walk the earth. Through lineages, the author of the Chronicles retraces the ancient stories of Adam and Seth, Noah and Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, and Jacob/Israel leading up to David. These genealogies preserve for us many of the names of Yahweh’s people that we do not find elsewhere, but they also take us back (in brief) through the rich history of how Yahweh has led his people all the way from the beginning. Furthermore, these genealogies tell us the stories in the simplest possible format: in a list of names that drive us back to the stories as written elsewhere. The goal here is not so much to provide us with new facts but to reframe the whole story of Yahweh and his people, starting at the beginning.
Ultimately, the stories we read in the books of Chronicles will provide substantial direction in understanding who Jesus would be. Primarily, Samuel and Kings gave us a picture of what Jesus needed to save his people from, but Chronicles will show us what Jesus needs to save his people for. That is, in the stories to come, we will see a fresh vision for the role of the king and for the worship of Yahweh’s people, and through both of those, we will gain some glimpse of how King Jesus will reconcile us to glorify, worship, and enjoy God forever.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.