1 Chronicles 5-6: Lessons from History

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1 Chronicles 5-6: Lessons from History

July 3, 2024


1 Chronicles 5-6,  Psalm 126,  Luke 7:36-50,  Colossians 2:1-7  

1 Chronicles 5-6:

The chronicler continues to intersperse into his genealogy moral and spiritual lessons that he wants his readers to learn from his chronological survey of Israelite history via the names of the individuals and their family trees. Unlike modern family trees, these ancient genealogies were written to tell a story, to be a kind of CV or résumé  of the story that is being told—in this case that there is an ancient lineage to the people of God returning from exile. In particular, though, the chronicler shows in a couple of places his special concern that his readers not miss the lesson of this history of Israel: flee idolatry, worship God alone, be faithful to his covenant.

The beginning of chapter 5 tells of Reuben and his birthright loss to Joseph because of Reuben’s sin (5:1-2). We may have special privileges by birth, unusual access to education or the higher echelons of society, but all is in God’s hands and can be reversed if we are unfaithful to him—and the blessing given to another instead. He tells the story of a war that was successful because the war was of God (5:18-22). In ancient Israel, their theocracy was an extension, at least by intention, of God’s rule, and this is radically dissimilar from the nation-state connection to the contemporary church in the New Testament world. The church today does not bear the sword. And the same is true, though, today, that not all wars are “just wars.” When we rely on might, instead of right, we will find that power is rarely sufficient, as the moral high ground triumphs in the end.

Do what is right, seek God, and let him take care of the results. The moral lesson is also drawn from the half-tribe of Manasseh, who whored after other gods (5:25) and therefore was subject to God’s intervention against them and their being taken off into exile (5:26). God is a God who, like a lover, requires fidelity to his love. Be loyal to God, worship him as God, and have no other gods before him (Ex. 20:3). 


Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.


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