October 9th – Roots



Yesterday I asked you to use your imagination. Again: imagine that you were in a time-travelling machine. The dial was set for something like three to four hundred years before Christ. Your co-ordinates set for Ancient Iraq, which was at one time Babylon, but was then under the control of Persia. I asked you to walk in on a scholar leading a team of researchers, trying to answer the most pressing questions of their own people who were the descendants of prisoners of war, two hundred years or more before. Some of their questions were “Who were my ancestors? Have I a family tree? What were my great grandparents like? Why are we here? Ought we to go back to a place we’ve been told is our homeland but which we know is one of the poorest places in the Persian Empire? Why do our parents and grandparents go on about the true religion – what is it, and what is it supposed to do for us? How is it different from the beliefs of all those around us?”
The answers to these and other questions were distilled out of ancient scrolls of history, out of royal decrees, out of family records (remember there were no books as we know books, but scrolls in hand-written script) and a fresh record was being made which answered the most searching questions of the day.
This new record told the story of their descent right from the first man – Adam (you can’t go further back than that!) and set out the story and history of their forebears up to that hour in Persia. It explained the reasons for them being in Persia. It gave people a Family Tree: a whole forest, in fact. It covered the gifts, skills and genius of their forefathers, of which they were the inheritors. Above all it set out the lessons to be learned from the entire story. All centred on God, the Creator of all, who had specially chosen their people to know him and teach the world who He is. All other nations made idol images of their gods. Not Israel. The God of their forefathers is Holy – Good – Almighty: He is PERSONAL. Not an IT: HE.
He is Lord of all history, maker of all men, and they only learn what it is to live on his good earth when they enthrone him at the centre of their lives, and actually keep their relationship with him unsullied. That special, personal relationship was called a ‘Covenant’ and it was the most important thing in all the universe, and was revered, renewed, and expressed in the worship. The record of all this is the scrolls which were produced in Persia by Jews. We call the scrolls the Bible Books of Chronicles, Nehemiah and Ezra. These words conclude one of the great hymns of all time.
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the Lord”. I Chronicles 16:36
Now read I Chronicles 16: 7-36

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He who rejects the Bible has nothing to live by. Neither does he have anything to die by. (R. B. Kuiper)

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