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“40 Days and 40 Nights of God’s Word”
DAY 15: AUGUST 6
1 CHRONICLES 11 – 2 CHRONICLES 12:16
As we dig deeper into the Old Testament, we can see that the material starts to repeat, though it’s presented from a different perspective and with different aspects highlighted. The same process occurs in the New Testament with the four Gospels. The purpose in repeating the material isn’t to bore the reader or to give a sense of déjà vu, but to affirm and expand on what has already been relayed by other writers. As I’ve mentioned previously, the repetition with slight (or sometimes major) changes is also a very effective teaching tool.
- Today’s reading brings us again the story of David and his son Solomon, though with entirely different details than the earlier telling. The stress here is on the building and furnishing of the temple rather than the military victories of David or the private lives of the two kings. I personally found it kind of dry, and if it were presented alone without the accompaniment of the earlier story, David would lose a good deal of his appeal on a human level and would also lose the moral lessons that his life teaches us. I’m guessing that historians and maybe also theologians appreciate the details provided here about the temple, but for me it’s flyover country. Same with the lineages and who did what in whose service. God knows my heart and he knows I mean no disrespect in saying this, but who begat who, and how many and what kind of animals were sacrificed is not information that I can do anything with. Even so, whoever’s involved in the building of the third temple and setting up the beast system is, I’m sure, poring over every word.
- What jumped out at me in particular today is how many times the eternal kingdom of David’s lineage is mentioned. I love reading in the OT about Jesus and his Kingdom! Whenever I come across a passage that references the Kingdom, I get a little jolt of recognition, like you get when you’re driving somewhere you’ve never been before and all the place names are unfamiliar and then suddenly you see one that’s familiar. It waves to you. The first time Bethlehem is mentioned in the OT, it waved to me, as did Jerusalem, Damascus, Gaza, Hebron, etc. I know these places because they’re still functioning cities today. But when Jesus is referenced through the prophesy of the kingdom that will have no end, I’m pretty much doing a stadium wave and kicking like John the Baptist in the womb.
- I get excited because I know that place, that eternal kingdom that’s prophesied in the OT. I know it because I live in it. It’s my spiritual hometown. If you’re born-again, it’s your spiritual hometown, too. And I know that eternal King that keeps getting mentioned, because he’s not only my Messiah and Lord and savior, he’s also my big brother and best friend. This is how the OT talks to me, not as a dry chronicle of names and building materials, but of promises made and kept by a living God who is as ever-present with us today as he was thousands of years ago. That living God is my father, and he’s right here right now as I write these words and you read them. Jesus is here, too, because wherever two are gathered in his name, there he is among them.
What jumped out at you in today’s reading? Do you, like me, fly over the lineage and building details, or do you actually read them? The beauty of scripture is that different things will appeal to different people at different times and for different reasons.
A few years back, I took a short bus trip out to the countryside just before Christmas. The bus was nearly empty, so I sat behind the driver and starting chatting with him. As it turned out, he was a big fan of the Bible, and we had a fascinating discussion that lasted nearly the entire two hours of the trip. When I was gathering my things together to disembark, the driver said to me quite matter-of-factly “I’m not a Christian, you know. I just like reading the Bible.” Like I said, God’s Word appeals to all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons. I’m praying that the driver, if he someday humbles himself and converts, will be a great teacher of God’s Word, as he knows it so intimately, like Paul knew it before his conversion.
The PDF of the BIBLE READ-THROUGH schedule is directly below.