4: BUILDING FROM HISTORY

If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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.

2nd Chronicles 7:14

The casual reader of Scripture skips past the opening chapters of the Books of Chronicles regarding them as uninteresting and boring. Even the more careful reader approaches these passages with a sense of dreariness. The long lists of names, some of which are unpronounceable seem so far removed from our lives in the 21st Century, they are hardly worth considering.

Genealogy, however, is the purest form of history. Being devoid of descriptions and opinion, the factual records contained in ancestry helps us to discover real people, who lived and worked in an interconnected way. We find the records in Chronicles uninteresting, however, because these are not our ancestors, not our own flesh and blood. If they were, and if we could trace our lineage through these people we might well have a somewhat different attitude. With that in mind we ought to walk in the shoes of the people for whom these records were written.

The chronicler, who was possibly Ezra the Scribe or one of of his colleagues, penned his record for the generation who emigrated from the lands their ancestors had been exiled to following the sacking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. They were called to return to their ancestral homelands to rebuild, a temple, a city and a nation. The ancestral records taught them that they were rooted in the past; that they were truly God’s covenant nation. Worship had been broken, the land was devastated; it was a time for healing and rebuilding. The chronicler showed them the temple erected by Solomon, he traced the failures of the apostate Kings and the revivals under the great reforming Kings. Above all reminded them to pray, to stand firm, to be faithful and build from the past.

O Word of God incarnate,
O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging,
O Light of our dark sky,

William Walsham

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