May 17: Connecting Historical Dots
1 Chronicles 4:24–5:26; 1 Timothy 4:1–5; Psalm 78:1–12
Biblical lists can be annoying, but they’re also a testament to God’s faithfulness. It’s a true gift when someone in a faith community records the history of the group and their work—particularly when God has answered prayers. By looking through a recorded history, like a prayer journal, faith communities can see how God used them both collectively and as individuals. They can see where He interceded and begin to see how He intends to use them in the future.
God’s past faithfulness points to His future faithfulness. His specific dealings in the past point to likely dealings in the future: they show us what He has gifted us to do and thus the type of thing He is likely to call us to down the road.
First Chronicles 4:24–5:26 records God’s acts among His people and points to His future faithfulness. Similarly, Psalm 78:1–12 calls God’s people to hear their story told, but it’s really God’s story. The first account focuses on the individuals, whereas the second (Psa 78) recalls God’s work among a group of people. All of God’s work—among individuals and groups of people—is unique, but it is also interconnected. It is all a manifestation of His presence. Paul makes a similar remark to Timothy: “everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thankfulness” (1 Tim 4:4).
Although God may manifest Himself in different and unique ways among individuals and groups, everything He does is for good—from the beginning until now (compare Gen 1; John 1). God desires for us to experience Him, as individuals and as members of faith communities, doing His good work. In being both, we come to understand what it means to truly follow Jesus.
How can you embark more fully into God’s great work, both in your own life and in a faith community?
JOHN D. BARRY
- The sons of Simeon were Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul. Whose son was Shallum, and his son Mibsam, and his son Mishma. And the sons of Mishma, Hamuel was his son, Zacchur his son, and Shimei his son. And Shemei had sixteen sons, and six daughters, but his brethren had not many children, neither was all their family like to the children of Judah in multitude. And they dwelt at Beersheba, and at Moladah, and at Hazar Shaul, And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad, And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at Ziklag, And at Beth Marcaboth, and at Hazar Susim, at Beth Biri, and at Shaaraim: these were their cities unto the reign of David. And their towns were Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five cities. And all their towns that were round about these cities unto Baal, these are their habitations and the declaration of their genealogy, And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah, And Joel and Jehu the son of Joshibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah, And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah. These were famous Princes in their families, and increased greatly their father’s houses. And they went to the entering in of Gedor, even unto the East side of the valley, to seek pasture for their sheep. And they found fat pasture and good, and a wide land both quiet and fruitful: for they of Ham had dwelt there before. And these described by name, came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the inhabitants that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their room, because there was pasture there for their sheep. And besides these, five hundred men of the sons of Simeon went to mount Seir, and Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel the sons of Ishi were their captains. And they smote the rest of Amalek that had escaped, and they dwelt there unto this day. The sons also of Reuben the eldest son of Israel (for he was the eldest, but had defiled his father’s bed, therefore his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not reckoned after his birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the prince, but the birthright was Joseph’s) The sons of Reuben the eldest son of Israel, were Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. The sons of Joel, Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, and Shimei his son, Micah his son, Reaiah his son, and Baal his son, Beerah his son: whom Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria carried away, he was a prince of the Reubenites. And when his brethren in their families reckoned the genealogy of their generations, Jeiel and Zechariah were the chief, And Bela the son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel, which dwelt in Aroer even unto Nebo and Baal Meon. Also Eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Perath: for they had much cattle in the land of Gilead. And in the days of Saul they warred with the Hagrites, which fell by their hands: and they dwelt in their tents in all the East parts of Gilead. And the children of Gad dwelt over against them in the land of Bashan, unto Salcah. Joel was the chiefest, and Shapham the second, but Jaanai and Shaphat were in Bashan. And their brethren of the house of their fathers were Michael, and Meshullam, and Sheba, and Jorai, and Jachan, and Zia and Eber, seven. These are the children of Abihail, the son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz. Ahi the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni was chief of the household of their fathers. And they dwelt in Gilead in Bashan, and in the towns thereof, and in all the suburbs of Sharon by their borders. All these were reckoned by genealogies in the days of Jotham King of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel. The sons of Reuben and Gad, and of half the tribe of Manasseh of those that were valiant men, able to bear shield and sword, and to draw a bow exercised in war, were four and forty thousand, seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war. And they made war with the Hagrites, with Jerur, and Naphish, and Nodab. And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he heard them, because they trusted in him. And they led away their cattle, even their camels fifty thousand, and two hundred and fifty thousand sheep, and two thousand asses, and of persons an hundred thousand. For many fell down wounded, because the war was of God. And they dwelt in their steads until the captivity. And the children of the half tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land, from Bashan unto Baal Hermon, and Senir, and unto mount Hermon: for they increased. And these were the heads of the households of their fathers, even Epher and Ishi, and Eliel and Azriel, and Jeremiah, and Hodaviah, and Jahdiel, strong men, valiant and famous, heads of the households of their fathers. But they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, and he carried them away: even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day. 1 Chronicles 4:24–5:26
- Now the Spirit speaketh evidently, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, and shall give heed unto spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, Which speak lies through hypocrisy, and have their consciences burned with an hot iron, Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with giving thanks of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing ought to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving. For it is sanctified by the word of God, and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:1–5
- Hear my doctrine, O my people: incline your ears unto the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will declare high sentences of old. Which we have heard and known, an our father have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but to the generation to come we will show the praise of the Lord, his power also, and his wonderful works that he hath done: How he established a testimony in Jacob, and ordained a Law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should teach their children: That the posterity might know it, and the children, which should be born, should stand up, and declare it to their children. That they might set their hope on God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And not to be as their fathers, a disobedient and rebellious generation: a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful unto God. The children of Ephraim being armed and shooting with the bow, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the Covenant of God, but refused to walk in his Law, And forgate his acts, and his wonderful works that he had showed them. He did marvelous things in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt; even in the field of Zoan. Psalm 78:1–12