Today's devotion from 1 Chronicles 1.
When you enter 1 Chronicles it can be somewhat confusing. One might assume the story of Israel would move forward or progress in some way. Instead, we are taken back, all the way back, to the time of Adam. The book begins with a genealogical overview that outlines the origins of the people. In a sense, this subject could be a source of frustration for modern readers, but let's consider the context. As we do, I believe these verse become powerful and filled with meaning.
The author of 1 and 2 Chronicles, which have at points been a single book, is called the "chronicler". Why did he feel compelled to write another collection of historical accounts regarding Judah, specifically? The conclusion of 2 Kings hit hard as the inhabitants of Judah were carted off to Babylonian captivity or fled to Egypt for sanctuary. The chronicler's work is dated to roughly 538 B.C., some point in the midst of Judah's resettlement. That means that this work was written as the people began to return to the Promised Land after their captivity.
As such, the chronicler was attempting to do much more than simply write a history. He was inspiring those brave enough to attempt to settle in the land once again. How could he accomplish this? In his mind, apparently, the best way to encourage for the future was to remember the past.
This is the power of testimony. There was a reason the people had been previously told by God to create monuments and establish festivals. They were to serve as triggers. When the people saw them or participated in them, they would hear the story associated with these important reminders and remember the accounts. They would be confronted with God's faithfulness and power, His promises and covenants.
The list of names written by the chronicler were much more than just the names themselves. With each name, each generation listed, the people were called to attention in order to gaze into the past, consider the present, and hope for the future. After all, if God could establish and create a people out of a single promise to a nomad and his family, surely God could reestablish the people after exile.
As you look to your future, maybe the most encouraging thing you can do is remember your past. Especially the powerful and persistent presence of God.