Archive | October 11th, 2010

October 11th – A Chosen People



Scholars of the Old Testament have often said how odd they find it that in Chronicles the portrait of King David is painted in such glowing, idealistic colours. It does omit the dark side of David’s character as it is more fully recorded in the books of Samuel and at the beginning of the Book of Kings. In Chronicles the portrait is so heroic that some have spoken of a blinkered view of history, but this is to miss the point entirely.The writer of Chronicles, who also compiled Nehemiah and Ezra, is absolutely NOT blind to great men’s sins. He pulls no punches when speaking of the downfall and rejection of Israel’s first anointed king, Saul, and the reason for his rejection is fully spelled out, as this excerpt will show.
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 enquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. I Chronicles 10: 13-14
Not a blinker in sight! The point is that the purpose of Chronicles was different from the other historical surveys.He was not writing the secret lives of David and Solomon. He knew that the other historical records to which he constantly refers adequately provide an actuate and personalised assessment of the leaders in question. His purpose was not to re-write history: still less was it to attempt a year by year diary of events. It was to set before a culturally lost and rootless people the greatness of their heritage. He was providing more than a family tree. He was recalling them to their privileged calling as God’s chosen people. Chosen, not because they were special – they were special because they had been chosen. That is always true.

The story is entirely God centred. It is history told from the criteria of God’s purpose in making Israel a nation, a kingdom. Thus it is not the great military victories of David, nor the economic successes of Solomon, that he makes central, but the great celebrations of God’s greatness. The worship of God as, for example when the ark was brought to Jerusalem, and the worship of God’s people in the first great temple at Jerusalem.In fact the prayers of those at the crucial times of their lives are fully recorded and are superb. See, for example, David’s prayers in I Chronicles Chapters 16 and 17, and of course the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, by Solomon, in II Chronicles Chapters 6 and 7, from which this is taken:
When I shut up the heavens, so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. II Chronicles 7:13-14
A Prayer:
Lord teach me to pray like that.
Now read I Chronicles Chapter 17.

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Thought 4 The Day

Our salvation depends not on our love for God but His love for us, not our commitment to him but his pledge to us,
not our hold on him but his grasp of us. (Anon)

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