Friday, April 15, 2016

The 13th Book of the Old Testament


In the Hebrew bible 1st and 2nd Chronicles are one book called Divrei Ha-Yamim which means “words of the days”, hence the English word “chronicles”. These books were probably written by Ezra.
1st Chronicles is the 13th book of the Christian bible and its first 9 chapters are dedicated to lists and genealogies. More lists and genealogies are scattered throughout the rest of the book. In between it records David's ascension to the throne and his actions from then on. The book ends with David's son Solomon becoming King of Israel. Since it starts with all these genealogies you might think the book is dry, uninteresting, and you might skip over it, but the genealogies remind us that God knows each of His children personally, even down to the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30). This is the largest genealogical list in the Bible (44% of the book). 
The lessons of Chronicles are that obedience to God brings blessing and disobedience brings disaster and defeat.

I'm going to look specifically at chapter 17 (this section can be found nearly word for word in 2nd Samuel 7). Here are the first 15 verses from the NIV translation:

1 After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent."
 2 Nathan replied to David, "Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you."
 3 That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying:
 4 "Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. 5 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another. 6 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their leaders whom I commanded to shepherd my people, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?" '
 7 "Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock, to be ruler over my people Israel. 8 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 9 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 10 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies.
       " 'I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: 11 When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. 14 I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.' "
 15 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.
Do you see all of the promises? I underlined them and made them bold. We had quite a bit of discussion in Bible Study about just who the son was in verses 12 through 14. Some said Solomon, some said Jesus. I think that if you look at this passage from the perspective of a Jew then it looks pretty obvious that it’s Solomon. Later, in chapter 28, King David says:
 6 He said to me: 'Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. 7 I will establish his kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws, as is being done at this time.' 
Looks like David believed it would be Solomon, and maybe it was for a while, until Solomon “swerved” and built a high place for Chemosh and Molech, gods of the Moabs and the Ammonites (see 1st Kings 11).  God then said that He would “tear the kingdom away” from Solomon. Now look again at verse 14 of 1st Chronicles 17 where it says that God will set his son over His house and His kingdom FOREVER and that his throne will be established FOREVER. I believe that takes Solomon out of the picture. Christians know that the One whom God will put on the throne FOREVER is Jesus. And let’s look a little bit deeper – God will set him over His house. Christians are God’s house as it says in Hebrews 3: 6:
6But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.