1 Chronicles: Not Just a List

Youth Devotional Blog: 05/12

 Written by: Intern Sam B. Nguyen
Scripture Reading – 1 Chronicles 1

“Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it”. This is an age old adage that I am sure we have all heard before. It warns against ignorant action and observes the incredible value of understanding our past, not only where we come from but also the individual steps that were taken to get us here. In many ways, the old testament is an excellent representative of that adage. It is, at least in many of the books, a series of history lessons. While the physical truth of the books may be debated, there is still immense importance in drawing meaning from  the texts and understanding what God intends for us to learn from them.

Chronicles 1 is a book that is often skipped by bible readers. It details a lot of things that, honestly, are just retellings of earlier books, and the opening is daunting at best. A long list of Adam’s descendants is far from my preferred reading material, and I’m sure that its yours as well. That said, there’s an underlying significance in the book that is missed if you don’t fully understand the context of the scripture. You see, While in the English Christian Bible, the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles is sandwiched between 2 Kings and Ezra, books where a lot more happens, in the Jewish scripture, it is one of the last books. This is because the books are intended to summarize and unite all of the previous scripture. Opening on Adam, the beginning, the books trace the Hebraic history up until the final scriptures that conclude the religious text. While that’s all great, what does that mean for us, modern day Christians?

Well, take a look at the first few chapters of 1 Chronicles — there’s a lot there, but it’s worth tracing. While the book details many of the different lineages that become the Jewish people, it emphasizes a few in particular: the lineage of King David and the lineage of Priest Aaron. These are both essential characters in the Old Testament, but looking at the lineage of King David, we notice something that gets brought up again in a much more important way later.

King David was the Hebraic king who was given the promise of the Messiah, a guarantee that God would send a powerful new Jewish king in the future who is a descendent of David. Ages later, when Jesus is roaming on Earth, he uses this to contribute to his legend as the born Messiah, because Jesus is, in fact, directly descended from David. And just as the book of 1 Chronicles details the lineage of David, the latter gospels of Matthew and Luke, almost as if to say “Look at Jesus, he’s the real deal. He was prophesied.”