Why Chronicles?

Scripture Focus: 1 Chronicles 5.24-26
…They were brave warriors, famous men, and heads of their families. 25 But they were unfaithful to the God of their ancestors and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. 26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile…

Reflection: Why Chronicles?
By John Tillman

Chronicles is often viewed as a repeat of Samuel and Kings but its purpose and construction are quite different.

Chronicles opens with the most complete genealogical record in the Bible. We find ourselves in the midst of a tangled web of interconnected families, tribes, and nations. Chronicles’ genealogy accomplishes more than simply reciting some names of relatives. Starting with Adam it connects the thread of God’s plan from ages past. It shows the hand of God correcting, guiding, and moving through his chosen instruments—humans.

It may seem from our perspective that Chronicles is whitewashed, omitting certain sins and failings and emphasizing victories and accomplishments. But the readers and writers of these accounts already had the books we call Samuel and Kings. They already read the condemnations and lived the fulfilments of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and others. They were the descendants of the failed leadership of Israel and Judah. They had no illusions about how they came to be living in exile.

The Chronicler wasn’t fooling anyone by leaving out certain events. That was not the point. The Chronicle’s purpose was theological, not historical. This rebuilt history was written by descendants of those who returned and rebuilt Jerusalem. It only makes sense that they’d create a record that started at the beginning.

The Chronicler traces God’s promises carefully, like a thread, through the chaos of interfamilial and international conflicts. Again and again and again, the Bible shows us humans stumbling and failing to carry out God’s work of righteousness in the world. This reminds us that we are also waiting for a ruler who will not fail.

We need both Chronicles and Kings in our lives. Kings reminds us of the depravity and sin that is present in all human leaders and governments. It reminds us that chariots are not to be trusted in and horses cannot deliver victory. (Psalm 20.7)

Chronicles, as a whole, testifies that it is God who carries forth good purposes, even through wicked men and wicked nations. Chronicles reminds us that we stand amidst the fiery “chariots and horses of Israel” (2 Kings 2.11-12; 6.16-17; Psalm 68.17) and that the greatest victory is delivered to us by Jesus, the prince of peace who arrives on a donkey.

Our history, our sins, our mistakes, cannot be deleted but our story going forward can be rewritten. We can be incorporated into the greater story of God.

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for one little stroke to drop out of the Law.” — Luke 16.17

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Chronicles 5-6 (Listen – 12:23)
Hebrews 10 (Listen – 5:33)

Read more about The Hero We Need Isn’t Jehu
Jehu wasn’t the hero Israel needed. He’s not the one we need either.

Read more about Compelled Toward Community
Let us not neglect our responsibility to love, care for, and encourage one another in the body of Christ called the Church.

Extra Ordinary Prayer

From John: 
Read the Bible. Reflect and pray. 

That is the two-pronged, ultra-simplified vision that we have for our readers. This week and part of next we take some time to curate and comment on some classic readings about prayer that may strengthen and encourage us in the practice of prayer.

Reflection: Extra Ordinary Prayer
By John Tillman

A kind of prayer that can have a profound difference in our lives is what Richard Foster refers to as “Ordinary Prayer.” Ordinary Prayer is anything but ordinary. It is seldom well-practiced. I would not say that we need less of any kind of prayer, but we could all use a little extra ordinary prayer.

Part of this type of prayer is putting our prayers into action. It is praying less with whispered words and more with the sweat of our brows and the work of our hands. A key part of Praying the Ordinary is the Prayer of Action.

Speaking of the Prayer of Action in his book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster quotes, Jean–Nicholas Grou: “Every action performed in the sight of God because it is the will of God, and in the manner that God wills, is a prayer and indeed a better prayer than could be made in words at such times” Foster continues, “Each activity of daily life in which we stretch ourselves on behalf of others is a prayer of action…These times are lived prayer.”

We enact prayers by putting what we say to God, ask of God, and know of God into all we do. C.S Lewis noted that the woman, noisily cleaning the sanctuary of a church and distracting him as he attempted to pray during the day, was praying with action, saying, “her enacted oratio is probably worth ten times my spoken one.”

But we do not need to be serving in a church or cleaning one to enact our prayers. Foster continues:

“Another way of Praying the Ordinary is by praying throughout the ordinary experiences of life. We pick up a newspaper and are prompted to whisper a prayer of guidance for world leaders facing monumental decisions. We are visiting with friends in a school corridor or a shopping mall, and their words prompt us to lapse into prayer for them, either verbally or silently, as the circumstances dictate. We jog through our neighborhood, blessing the families who live there. We plant our garden, thanking the God of heaven for sun and rain and all good things. This is the stuff of ordinary prayer through ordinary experience.”

We carry prayer with us into every moment of our lives. As we do, may our actions be blessings not curses, carrying the good news of the gospel.

*Quotations from Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Bless our God, you peoples, make the voice of his praise to be heard;
Who holds our souls in life, and will not allow our feet to slip.— Psalm 66:7-8

Today’s Readings
1 Chr 5-6  (Listen -12:23)
Hebrews 10  (Listen -5:33)

This Weekend’s Readings
1 Chr 7-8 (Listen -9:04), Hebrews 11  (Listen -6:22)
1 Chr 9-10 (Listen -6:48), Hebrews 12  (Listen -4:36)

Thank You!
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Read more about Prayer as Vocation
To some, it might be a surprise that one of the primary definitions of the word “vocation” is a divine calling.

Read more about Cultivating Daily Bread
Daily bread refers to a daily need for God and purposely highlights the need for spiritual disciplines that are required for us to grow in faith.