The Family of God
Read 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 (ESV)
When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.”
Why do you think family records were so important to the Jewish people? What can we learn from studying these genealogies?
“Ugh. More genealogies? Do I have to read the genealogies?” Chances are, you’ve had this same thought. You sit down to read your Bible for the day only to come to a book like 1 Chronicles and see that the first 9 chapters are lists of names, most of which you can’t pronounce! You may wonder if there is any point in even reading them. You might be thinking, “Pastor Nat, give me one reason why the genealogies are relevant to my life.” Well, I can actually give you several reasons why these genealogies are important as I give you a brief overview of the book of 1 Chronicles.
As a reminder, we moved on from the Pentateuch and began studying the twelve historical books of Israel last week. Now, we’ve reached the Chronicles which, like the books of Samuel and Kings, were originally combined as one book. 1 Chronicles repeats much of the history we’ve already read but from a different perspective and with a different purpose. The books of Samuel and Kings recorded the entire nation of Israel’s history from a political perspective.
The book of 1 Chronicles has more of a spiritual perspective and traces the religious history of Judah in the south (the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi) rather than all of Israel. It focuses on the royal line and reign of King David. While the author isn’t specifically mentioned Jewish tradition has held that Ezra wrote Chronicles and similarities between the book of Ezra and Chronicles seem to confirm that. It’s also important to know that Ezra’s intended readers were a remnant who had survived the Babylonian exile and had returned home to Jerusalem.
The first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles trace the genealogy of King David beginning with Adam and covering thousands of years in genealogy. These genealogies confirm that the people mentioned in the narratives found in the Bible were real, actual people that God really cared about and mentioned by name in His Word. When we study the genealogies of God’s people, we can see that the people in Scripture weren’t random individuals, they were interconnected. They shared roots. They were a family.
But they weren’t just any family. They were the family that God had set apart as His chosen people. They were the family line that traces the descendants of Adam from which the Promised Offspring would come (Genesis 3:15). The family through which God promised to bless the entire world (Genesis 22:18). You see, the genealogies confirm Messianic prophecies. They demonstrate that God keeps His promises. They document the Scarlet Thread of redemption that started at the very beginning!
The second portion of 1 Chronicles details key events in David’s reign as King of Israel. It doesn’t repeat every story of David’s life but instead focuses on the religious aspects of his reign such as acquiring the Ark of the Covenant and making preparations for the temple to be built. 1 Chronicles demonstrates David’s “whole heart for God.” In today’s verses, we read again of the covenant the Lord made with King David, that one of his sons will build the temple for the Lord. But this covenant also promised that an heir of David would always be on the throne. We see this fulfillment in, you guessed it, genealogies! New Testament genealogies confirm that God kept his promise to David because the King of kings came from David’s line. For example, the book of Matthew opens with this line: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).
Friends, as boring as you may perceive genealogies to be, they were very important to the Jewish people. The Jews kept detailed records of their family history because they used them to prove their Jewish heritage and provide the evidence needed in order to inherit land from their given tribe. These records also were used to demonstrate whether or not they were eligible for the priesthood (from the tribe of Levi and descendants of Moses’ brother, Aaron). Plus, just as we enjoy finding out who we come from, family history was special and a source of pride for the Jews. They were from the family of God’s chosen people! But these genealogies are important for us, as well. They trace the line of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. And through Him, we get to join the family of God, too!
God, thank You for the family records in the Bible. They demonstrate Your faithfulness in so many ways! Ultimately, they show me how You kept Your promises to Adam, to Abraham, and to David to send a Messiah. I know it is through Jesus Christ the Messiah that You made a way for me to join Your family. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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