May 22 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them.” ~1 Chronicles 6:32

First Chronicles’ genealogical lists serve a theological purpose, to remind the Israelites that God had not abandoned them, but also a practical one. 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. Would the children of these expatriates otherwise know that the temple musicians were visible and prominent members of the ministerial staff, for example?

The genealogies are a gateway to historical memory for modern people, too. We all should know a little something about our past so that we realize that we are part of a spiritual community that started with Abraham and continued through Moses, David, and 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 remember the loneliness and discouragement I experienced 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.