I confess I sometimes feel a sense of dread come on me in reading through the Bible when I come again to start through 1&2 Chronicles. All the names, one after another! and its not like its John and Paul and Jim; instead it is the long genealogies of real people such as . . . . . are you ready for it? Manahath and Zaavan, Baal-hanan and Arpachshad, Shammai and Nadab, Abishur and Abihail, and Molid, etc. Shall I go on? I can’t even pronounce them, much less enjoy reading about them and getting anything from reading all their names again.
It is always a real challenge to come to these chapters and trudge through them with any fresh benefit. At least it is for me.
I felt the challenge again this week in coming to 1 Chronicles, and I was tempted to just skip the first 8 chapters and start in 9. But I said, “No, I’m going to make myself read through these again, simply because it is God’s Word, and it is right to get its summary in my mind again, and it will benefit me again to do it.”
And this has proven to be true once again. I am so glad I did not skip 1-8. It has been freshly good. I notice this morning God’s reminder of the relationship of prayer and faith from chapter 4 on Jabez’s life in vs. 10, which is always rich in its application; I am then stirred about how prayer and faith go hand in hand in chapter 5, verses 18-21 where we see great example and encouragement in the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manasseh, who were “valiant men, who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war.” But the greater truth about them is what applies to us in our spiritual warfare. Chapter 5:20 says, “The Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they (the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh) cried out to God in the battle, and He granted their urgent plea because they trusted in Him.”
Armed people of faith, who in their battle, cry out mightily to God in dependence, and He hears and answers because they trust in Him. This was what marked their lives at this point in redemptive history. And it is what must mark our lives as well in our battles–crying out to God, Him hearing us and answering because we are trusting not in our weapons, not in our battle experience, and not in our own strength, but in Him alone.
How do we approach our battles? He alone is there, is sufficient, and is faithful to answer and deliver.
There’s lots of good food in 1&2 Chronicles. Don’t skip it!
– Mack T.