I THINK I'VE HEARD THIS BEFORE!
*Today we begin looking into the exciting Books of the Chronicles. How often have you just set down, with a glass of tea, or coffee and read the Books of the Chronicles? Well, I'd venture to say that very few folks have ever done that. To be honest, we won't spend that much time with these books, and you will discover why. But, we will take a glance at them to see what they have to offer.
As soon as you turn to the Book of I Chronicles you will quickly discover that the first nine chapter are concerned with genealogy. The first ten chapters retell history from Adam to Saul, mostly concerned with genealogy. There is very little story telling. The real story telling begins with the "re-telling" of the suicide of King Saul.
Before we can refer to the Chronicles as history, we have to be careful to consider what history is. What makes the telling of history accurate? Can an entirely objective record of the past be possible? Who gets to speak regarding history? Did King Saul get to tell his side of the story? Who wrote the information that we read in the Chronicles? Well, keep in mind that after Judah went into exile into Babylon the monarchy was, for all intents and purposes, gone. It was after this that the priestly party emerged and gained control. It would be these folks who would write the biblical history that came out of the postexile period. So, when we read Chronicles (once a one-volume book) we discover that the Chronicler was concerned about Judea and Judea alone. (Not Israel) The Northern Kingdom of Israel is rarely mentioned. The Chronicler also idealized the reigns of Solomon, Hezekiah, and especially David. In fact, David became the model of the godly monarch. In order to make the historian makes in Chronicles about David he has to exercise selective memory. There are certain chapters in the life of David that the Chronicler ignores: for instance, that part about Bathsheba. In fact, she is not even mentioned. Well, let's look at some of the passages to find out more.
"All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, 'We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on the their military campaigns...When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, he made a compact with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the Lord had promised through Samuel." ( I Chronicles 11:1-2a,3)
This is more evidence that the historian takes liberties with the story he is telling. I know this is not a popular statement, and some preachers would condemn me for saying it, but it is the truth. All one has to do is compare scripture passages. The Chronicler ignores many passages from the Books of Samuel. In II Samuel there are separate anointing's of David (by Judah II Sam. 2:4) and (Israel II Sam. 5:3). However, in Chronicles "all Israel" anoints him at once. Also, in II Samuel 5:6-7 David's personal army captures the future capital city, but in the Chronicles David and a united Israel ("all Israel") wage the campaign. So, the Chronicler uses the term "all Israel" to promote unity of God's people. The above passage begins with "all Israel" (united) asking David to be their king. And, there is no record (in Chronicles) of the conflict with Saul.
The reign of Solomon is in the spotlight in II Chronicles, chapters 1-9. However, much like before, the writer exercises selective memory. There is nothing said about Solomon's marriages to foreign women and the building of shrines in Jerusalem to foreign gods. There is nothing said about Solomon's enemies and the prophecy of Ahijah ( I Kings 11:14-40)
II Chronicles 10-36 is devoted to the kings of Judah after the division of the kingdom. There is virtually no mention of the northern kingdom. The kings of Judah are portrayed in a positive way promoting worship and proper ritual. Most of II Chronicles is concerned with re-telling history. There are some stories that we have not read about before and that are quite interesting. I hope you take some time to read through this book.
Now, even though many have probably not spent a lot of time reading the Books of the Chronicles, there is a verse of scripture that many are probably very familiar with. What is that verse? "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 7:14)
This verse is often quoted during revivals, or prayer services, or just in general church settings. It is often used to incite repentance. This statement is not found anywhere else in the Old Testament. It affirms that humble repentance will force God to hear, forgive and heal. This principle is then illustrated through the history of the Southern Kingdom during the remainder of II Chronicles. My favorite story in II Chronicles is found in chapter twenty. Please take time to read this passage. Judah is surrounded by Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites. War is about to break out. They are helpless. But, Jehoshaphat "proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people came together to seek help from the Lord." (II Chr. 20:3b,4) Then Jehoshaphat receives a message from the Lord. And, it's a good one. I Love these words: "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." (II Chr. 20:15b) God fought this battle for them. All they had to do was "stand still...and see the salvation of the Lord." (II Chr.20:17, KJV) In the end the enemy turned on each other and the Judeans didn't have to left a finger. Truly, God fought the battle for them.
Join me tomorrow as we continue our journey through the scriptures. God Bless! -Pastor Rick