Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gleanings from some genealogies

To many 1 Chronicles 1-9 sucks all the moisture out of the soul.  It is 6 pages of "begats," a list of names.  And foreign names at that.  No verbs, no story.

That section is not my favorite section of Scripture, but I read them any way.  And they're not as sleep-inducing as they used to be.  Today I read chapter 5.  And I discovered lessons there.

Ch. 5 contains the genealogies of the Trans-Jordanian tribes, the 2 1/2 tribes that settled east of the Jordan River.  When the whole context is lists with very little story, what is said by way of story is significant.  It's important to the author.

We're told that the tribes made war against the Hagrites, and these tribes "were helped against them, and the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hand; for they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him" (5:20 NASB).  The author wants us to know that a victory was won because they trusted the Lord which led them to call upon the Lord for aid against their enemies.  Lesson: Call upon the Lord in your trials, and trust in him.

Later we're told the reason why these 2 1/2 tribes eventually went into exile: "But they acted treacherously against the God of their fathers and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, even the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away into exile, namely the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara and to the river of Gozan, to this day" (5:25-26 NASB).  Lesson: Spiritual condition has physical consequences.  God will not be mocked.  You reap what you sow. 

Further, God is involved in national and international affairs.  There are different levels of causation.  At one level, the reason the king of Assyria became malevolently interested in the Trans-Jordanian tribes was because God put him onto the scent ("stirred up the spirit").

Well, what do you know?  The lists of the past contain wisdom for the present.

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