Today’s reading: 1 Chronicles 1-2.
Sometimes two witnesses to the same event will give different descriptions of what happened. Both may be right; they just have different perspectives. That helps to explain some of the differences in the Gospel accounts of Jesus. It also applies to the books of First and Second Chronicles. They cover much of the same territory as First/Second Samuel and Kings, but they tell the story from the point of view of the exiles returning to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. Not much is said about the Northern Kingdom; the emphasis is on David and the Temple.
The writer takes us back to Adam and then carries us through all the geneology of Israel, showing how God continually narrows his focus first to one person, and then another. So Seth is chosen, rather than Cain. Among the sons of Noah, Shem is chosen. Among his sons, Arphaxad and so on down to Abraham. It’s Isaac, not Ishmael; Jacob, not Esau. Among the sons of Jacob, the writer focuses on the tribe of Judah, for David and all the kings of Judah (and Jesus) will come from that tribe.
The sons born to Hezron were: Jerahmeel, Ram and Caleb. Ram was the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, the leader of the people of Judah. Nahshon was the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of Eliab his firstborn; the second son was Abinadab, the third Shimea, the fourth Nethanel, the fifth Raddai, the sixth Ozem and the seventh David. 1 Chronicles 2:9-15
These few verses cover the time from Israel’s journey to Egypt with Joseph (Hezron was Judah’s grandson) to the time of the exodus from Egypt (Nahshon led the tribe of Judah at that time) to the time of the Judges (when Boaz married Ruth) to the time of the united kingdom (David). The writer gives no commentary to explain why one man is chosen over another, but studying “the whole counsel of God” gives more information.
First and foremost, God determines by his sovereign will whom he chooses to use. “But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.” Psalm 75:7
God often chooses the least likely person in order to magnify his own glory. “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27
God sees the inner value of a person rather than the physical appearance. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
It is by God’s grace that any person is used by him. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10
We have already seen that the people God chooses and uses are not perfect people, but men and women “with a nature like ours” (James 5:17). Yet by God’s grace and God’s power such men and women are able, like David, to accomplish great things for God.
Image by Vic on Flickr, CC by 2.0