May 22 | Daily Devotion

May 22 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

Ancient people were quite sophisticated in the work of preserving important information (often more so than modern people give them credit for). There were entire guilds devoted to this work (the scribes), and their duties included writing and copying books, making lists, keeping records and chronicling important events. First Chronicle’s genealogical lists serve both practical and theological purposes. Practically speaking, the records are a veritable Who’s Who in Israel (and also a Who Did What and a Who Lived Where). Imagine how important these details are for Israelites trying to maintain a hold on their history and identity while exiled to foreign lands. For example, would the children of these expatriates otherwise know that the temple musicians were visible and prominent members of the ministerial staff? Listing the worship leaders and their specific tasks here implies that they are valued and therefore meant to be remembered.

The theological purpose for the lists, as mentioned in our first reading related to Chronicles, is to remind the Israelites that God has not abandoned them. Not only are the people on the mind of God, He has recorded their names as if to say, “See, I have not forgotten about you. I know your family history all the way back to Adam, and I am going to restore you.”

The genealogies in Chronicles provide a gateway to historical memory for modern people too, and it is important for us to have that. I do not mean we must all be historians, but we should know a little something about our past. We need to know that we are not here by accident. The creation of the human race was intentional. What is more, it’s important for us to realize that we are part of a spiritual community that started with Abraham, continued through Moses and David, and through David’s descendant, Jesus. We may be in different “clans” (denominations, churches, etc.), but we are part of a much larger race of people, often referred to in the Christian tradition as the “third race.” Neither Jew nor Gentile, but Christian!

I still remember feeling lonely and discouraged as a very young minister. I was leading a small church with no denominational affiliation, and the fundamentalist church I had left behind no longer wanted anything to do with me. They frowned upon educational pursuit, and I was entering graduate school. Would you believe that God used a church history lecture to encourage me when I felt isolated? On the first day of class, the professor said something like this: “You are going to be learning about all kinds of people and events in this class. The best way to understand the past is to embrace the entire story as your own. This is your family, and just like any other family, it has its high points and low points; however, it is important to know that you are part of something big. VERY BIG. God has been at work since Adam and Abraham, and He has continued His work through Augustine, Calvin, Edwards, Wesley, Lewis, and YOU.” Ever since my first graduate level class in church history, I have felt part of something much bigger. I know that reading genealogies is not really nourishing to the soul, but anchoring your heart and mind in your spiritual history is beneficial. As you continue through these early chapters of Chronicles and as you read the other genealogies in Scripture, remember that you are part of this story. God has neither forgotten your past nor forsaken you in the present. He has your name written down in His book of remembrance, the Book of Life (Ex. 32:32, Mal. 3:16, Rev. 20:12, 15). He will never forget you wherever you are.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the Senior Pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.