Dibre Hayyamim – “The words of the days”
It is sometimes a temptation to skip past Chronicles, the least understood, most neglected and least read and studied book/books of the Bible in Christian circles. Many find the genealogies in Chapters 1—9 particularly irksome; but one should be persuaded to read on. Chronicles is an invaluable portion of the inspired Word of God, and it is a serious mistake to overlook both 1&2 Chronicles. In my case, as I read this book again, some of the names mentioned in its early chapters stood out like never before. It is not the names that I am going to share with you today, but rather a Psalm of David found in 1 Chronicles 16:8-36. These verses consist of partial quotations from three different Psalms: Psalm 105; 96; 106.
The English Bibles follow the tradition of the Septuagint – the ancient Greek Bible translation, where Chronicles is divided into two books, giving us 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles. In the Hebrew tradition however, it is a single book. Some approach Chronicles as being a dry chronicle or analytic work, but this is utterly wrong. We can forget, using our western mind-set, that this book is a complex theological-historical composition beginning with Adam and concluding with the Cyrus declarations (538 BC). When Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 BC, establishing Persian rule in the ancient Near East, he set in motion a series of events that concerned the Jews. He gave permission to the Jews to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, giving rise to a series of returns from exile by deportees and descendants of deportees. Cyrus is looked upon by the Jews as a benefactor, but his “beneficence” wasn’t directed solely toward the Jews but formed only part of a wider foreign policy. Cyrus is spoken of at the end of Chronicles/2 Chronicles. Many in the West believe we have a modern day Cyrus in Donald Trump, the President of the USA. While I would hesitate to describe him in those terms myself, I can understand that the building of a third Temple on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount could result in an upsurge in aliyah. The building of the Temple may not be a blessing to the world; rather it might signify the end of this age and reign of the Antichrist.
As of old, and in the time of Cyrus, the Jews leading up to the establishment of the modern State of Israel, suffered great hardship as a result of Israel’s sin and disobedience to God. Having now returned to their home territory, they have been given the opportunity to obey God’s covenant and to receive His blessing. The Book of Chronicles is a reminder that God is faithful to His covenant promises, and the people of God also need to remain faithful.
The central topic in Chronicles is the Temple and the cultus (service) in particular. Indeed, it was in David’s mind to build the Temple, until God sent a message to him via Nathan the prophet that he was not to go ahead with his plan. (1 Chronicles 17:3-5). It is the desire of some Jews today to rebuild the Temple, but someone other and greater than both David or Solomon, has built a Temple without human hands (Mark 14:58; Acts 7:48). Regardless of whether or not man builds a structure on the Temple Mount, in Revelation 21:10, the Holy City, Jerusalem is seen coming down out of heaven from God. His Holy City, and His Temple will never be destroyed.
May God bless you as you read His Word.
Psalm of Thanksgiving
Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
Speak of all His wonders.
Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.
Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done,
His marvels and the judgments from His mouth,
O seed of Israel His servant,
Sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the Lord our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
Remember His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac.
He also confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,
As the portion of your inheritance.”
When they were only a few in number,
Very few, and strangers in it,
And they wandered about from nation to nation,
And from one kingdom to another people,
He permitted no man to oppress them,
And He reproved kings for their sakes, saying,
“Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm.”
Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
He also is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.
Splendour and majesty are before Him,
Strength and joy are in His place.
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him;
Worship the Lord in holy array.
Tremble before Him, all the earth;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord;
For He is coming to judge the earth.
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation,
And gather us and deliver us from the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
And glory in Your praise.” – 1 Chronicles 16:8-35 (New American Standard Bible NASB)
Blessings and shalom