Cruising through the first 10 chapters of 1 Chronicles we read the long list of names from Adam to Abraham. Quite remarkable when you think about it, especially when you remember God’s restart with Noah.
Then we read the two branches of Abraham’s family: Isaac and Ishmael, Esau and Jacob (aka Israel). The kings of Judah are listed concisely in 1 Chronicles 3:10-16, but interestingly, we don’t have a corresponding list of the northern kings, the lost tribes of Israel.
Some years ago, The Prayer of Jabez, by Bruce Wilkinson, was a best seller. Just two verses in between the list of genealogies, the prayer depicts God’s desire to bless those who are faithful:
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10
Published in the year 2000, this small book (in length and in physical size) was a big hit. I guess we all needed to turn our minds toward the possibility that God will bless us if we would simply ask. Certainly a key component of the prosperity Gospel that fuels many ministries, my prayer is this isn’t a stumbling block for those who are seeking Christ. Surely God cares for his people, but we know from experience this doesn’t always mean we gain earthly possessions by request and being free from harm is not guaranteed. To be fair, the book makes no guarantees, but people rarely read carefully and often run down rabbit trails that are not consistent with the rest of scripture.
(I had to include the whole verse from James, though I’m sure many simply include the last phrase).
Faith is the cornerstone. Lord, may we believe that you have our best in mind, even when we don’t understand the process, path or journey!
The remainder of 1 Chronicles 4 through 8 contains genealogies of the tribes of Israel. I like the fact that we see “The Temple Musicians” listed in their own section (1 Chronicles 6:54-80). Music is an integral part of worship and these early worship leaders had great responsibility and found themselves worthy of being identified among the followers of God.
Chapter 9 ends with the genealogy of Saul followed by a short chapter titled, “Saul Take His Life,” a sad end to the beginning of kings of Israel.
Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. 1 Chronicles 10:13-14
So many names, so little time, hundreds of years are captured here. This quick trip through 10 chapters in 1st Chronicles gives us some perspective: God cares about his people. I think it’s safe to say that those who are faithful are blessed and those who are not do not find joy. Lord, all honor, all praise to you, the author and perfecter or all things. For those who have received Christ, who recognize the need for repentance and put their trust in Jesus, we know our names are included in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:12). Beyond words, but privilege of hearing our names called is incredibly humbling. At the same time, not hearing the names of loved ones is terrifying and sad beyond comprehension. May we remember to pray for the lost, but not take on guilt for their decision to ignore the Holy Spirit.