THE FIRST TO DWELL AGAIN

Today's devotion from 1 Chronicles 9.

1 Chronicles 9 hits like the first breaking light of the dawn. For so long, it seems, darkness had reigned in the land once filled with promise. Darkened hearts led to darkened homes as the people were carted off to captivity. Now, however, the chronicler is coming to a glimmer of hope in the story of Israel.

Yes, Israel.

We have extensive genealogies and lists of tribes, but we can forget about Northern Kingdoms and Southern Kingdoms. Now, we are a singular people again. The Israelites are back in their ancestral lands, and God has provided various leaders to encourage and progress the redevelopment of the land. That is really what the chronicler is trying to emphasize in this chapter.

He is coming to the close of the genealogies, but this listing provided, here, paints the portrait of God's work in reestablishing His people in their land. The exile was truly a devastating period for the Israelites, but the chronicler goes to great lengths to connect the pre-exilic state of Israel to this postexilic reality. There is a continuity within the people. He recalls names that were long gone by the exile, and links them with those returning.

You see, God is truly a master at putting broken things back together. His people had become divided, then exiled, but God could and did bring them back together. However, we must always remember that God doesn't mend the broken simply for the benefit of that which was broken. God didn't restore the exiles simply to restore exiles. He didn't reestablish Israel for the simple sake of Israel. No. God had a plan and a purpose.

This is the blessing of belonging to God. We are called and placed into something that is much greater than ourselves. Our role is not simply consume God's grace, but to display it and be a conduit of it so that it may flow into the lives of others. All this, the intense effort of these men returning to their homelands to rebuild, the ministries of Ezra and Nehemiah, all of this, is not to allow Israel to continue, but to allow Israel to continue and to provide a place and a people for the Messiah that is to come.

What is your role in His continuing plan of redemption and restoration?