The context of 1st Chronicles

Before I comment on Chronicles, I need to start in the book of Jeremiah.

I’m kind of a Jeremiah buff these days. I have a Bible Study on Jeremiah that will be published this summer by AMG publishers. The two books (Jeremiah and Chronicles) are connected historically, and understanding Jeremiah will help put Chronicles in a more perfect perspective. You see Jeremiah was the last prophet to speak to God’s people before the Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem. He was the last man to try to turn God’s people around. The last one to beg God’s people to reconsider their actions.

Unfortunately the people did not listen to Jeremiah. The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and took the people away.

The books of 1st and 2nd Chronicles were written AFTER the Babylonian captivity. After the people had spent more than seventy years in a land far from Israel. God’s people had been relocated, from Israel’s southern kingdom to what is now modern Iraq. From a land of milk and honey to a desert land, where they didn’t understand the language, where the people worshiped idols. It had been a hard lesson. They had lost their homes, their city (Jerusalem) their nation (Judah) and their king. Never again would Judah or Israel exist as a sovereign nation.

Chronicles was written by folks who had been humbled, who had learned the hard lesson God intended for them to learn. These writers knew that the God of Israel was not a person to trifle with. God wanted their WHOLE devotion, and would accept nothing less.

Here is the key verse of Jeremiah. You’ll find it in chapter two. “For my people have done two evil things: They have forsaken me — the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all.” (Jeremiah 2:13) This problem, this turning away from God and going after idols summarizes God’s entire list of complaints against his people.

Interesting isn’t it, that this two-part complaint also sums up most of the New Testament. God says to us, “Don’t be a fool. Don’t turn away from me– the fountain of living water — and follow after empty promises.”

Today, empty promises abound: Sexuality without restrictions. No fault divorce. Easy money. Debt reduction. Second mortgages. Plastic surgery. On-line degree programs. Important titles. Weight loss plans.

In fact, if you want to swim in empty promises, there is no time like an election year!

But God says, DON’T.

Turn to me. I am the living water. I alone will fulfill.

And I can prove that God’s people finally got Jeremiah’s message. The problem is, they got the message too late. I share that with you in our next post.

They got the message. But it was too late for them. What about you?


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