Friday, September 9, 2016

reelin' in the years

The Word for today:
1 Chronicles 12
The books of Chronicles cover the same ground--from Saul to Zedekiah--that was already covered in the books of Samuel and the books of Kings. Why?
1. Chronicles is told from a different point of view.
Let's say you and I ride the same train all the way from New York to San Francisco. If I were to report my impressions of the trip and you were to report your impressions of the trip, would we be "covering the same ground?" Yes we would, geographically speaking. But in so many other ways our impressions might vastly differ.
The books of Samuel and Kings were told from man's point of view. Chronicles, told from God's point of view, will present the reader with a different dimension. In Kings the history of the nation is given from the standpoint of the throne; in Chronicles it is given from the standpoint of the altar.
2. Chronicles places a different emphasis on events.
In Kings the royal palace is the center; in Chronicles the Temple is the center. Kings gives us the political history of the nation, while Chronicles gives the religious history.
3. Chronicles is the interpretation of Kings. 
The editorial page of your newspaper comments on the same events which were reported on the front page. In just the same way, Chronicles provides a commentary on events we read about in Samuel and Kings.
The Bible often shifts between telescopic and microscopic views. It will cover a wide expanse of material, then go back and minutely examine some part of the whole. We first see this method employed in the Bible's opening chapters. In Genesis, the second chapter lifts one thing--the creation of man--out of the six days of creation which are described in chapter one. Later on, Deuteronomy ("the second law") interprets the law already spelled out in the previous books of Moses.
Could we personally profit from this biblical method of retrospection and clarification? Would we benefit by backtracking over the years in order to look at them from God's point of view rather than the way we first saw them?
Looking back at life will very likely present a different picture. Years that seemed, at the time, to be stuck in the doldrums now look like a period of quiet preparation, a preface to an exciting era which followed. Years when door after door seemed to close now look like a guided tour towards a bigger door which opened to even greater opportunity.
Chronicles backtracks in order to see David's life from another point of view. As it does, it offers us an invitation to do the same--to survey ground we've already covered, through eyes that see farther and deeper than our own.

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