Short daily devotionals for the socially distanced. These are thoughts from my daily time in the word. I use a bible reading plan that will have me in a different section of Scripture every day.
I hope they serve to give you courage and hope. You can subscribe to receive them as a daily email at the bottom of the page.
Wednesday, April 29th
Reading: 1 Chronicles 1-3
Some days, the Bible speaks to you in vivid pictures of deep meaning and resonance. Every line in every verse feels as if it is probing the depths of your soul and leaving you vulnerable and exposed, as well as confident and assured. Some days it is just obvious how living and active the Word of God is.
On other days, your bible reading is from the first three chapters of 1st Chronicles.
It reads like an ancient Middle Eastern phonebook of names and places, and while I did find some very cool name options for a second son – if I should ever get one of those – I was tempted to close my bible, feign an injury which would prevent me from posting today, and boldly go on to fight another day.
But, these chapters are part of God’s inspired and authoritative Word to us. They have been believed to be sacred for thousands of years. The ancients held to these words as words of Holy Scripture. So, what do we do with a list of ancient names? Well, I asked the Spirit to help me to read them and to give me some measure of understanding of what this list meant, and what it means, knowing full well that those two cannot be separated from one another. Here, then, are my resultant observations.
- People matter to God. He records their names, and He knows the details and durations of their lives. You matter to God. He knows your name. It is recorded, and the details of your life don’t escape Him.
- People’s stories are messy. It would be tough to read this list and conclude that our idea of nuclear, organized, well-mannered family is the spine off of which God has always built His people. Nuclear family is precious and important in society, but these families look very different to ours, and that doesn’t prevent God from being able to build and to protect. David had six sons in Hebron through six different women, so far as I can tell. He then had nine more sons and a daughter in Jerusalem, and 1 Chronicles 3:9 says that isn’t counting the kids he had through his concubines. Yikes. David. Yikes. That is a complex “family” right there. Your story is not too messy for God.
- God’s work continues in the mess. Through all of this the story line is clear that God is building and preserving a covenant people for Himself. God can work even in the face of complex human rebellion. In fact, in the history of humanity, it is all that He has had to work with, and He has still accomplished His purposes.
- God’s work is often slower and more complex that we can imagine. It is one thing to read this thousands of years later and to see His hand at work. I imagine, though, that it would have been more difficult for those in the midst of it to see what He might have been up to. Don’t presume that God isn’t working. His hand is often moving multi-generationally. Trust Him, even when He cannot see the immediate effect of His hand.
God see us, and He continues His work of redemption in and through us. Don’t give up.
Courage, dear friends.