Is It All Boring?

Pastor's Ponderings IllustrationDay’s Readings: Psalm 89:19-29, Romans 11:11-32, 1 Chronicles 4:9-5:26
Meditational Reading: 1 Chronicles 5:18-20 & 23-26
18  The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had valiant men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, 44,760, able to go to war.
19  They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab.
20  And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him.

23  The members of the half-tribe of Manasseh lived in the land. They were very numerous from Bashan to Baal-hermon, Senir, and Mount Hermon.
24  These were the heads of their fathers’ houses: Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah, and Jahdiel, mighty warriors, famous men, heads of their fathers’ houses.
25  But they broke faith with the God of their fathers, and whored after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them.
26  So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and he took them into exile, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day.

It’s Old Testament readings like today’s Old Testament reading that cause people to give up reading the Bible.  We are well through five chapters of 1 Chronicles and all we see are genealogical records!  Names after names after names of people long dead and gone!  We don’t only have to put up with Judah, but today we see some of the other tribes!  What is the world does this have to do with me today?

Today’s reading reminds me of a three-year-old I have in Sunday School.  Every once in a while he will say, “Pastor, boring!” and start laughing.  I kind of go into a trance when reading all of these names.  I read through them rapidly, wanting to get on with the real meat and potatoes of the Bible.  I’m in a hurry and, all of sudden, God hits me in the head and opens my eyes.  He did that as I skimmed the names in today’s Old Testament reading, just wanting to get it over.  Boring!

In the meditational reading, the writer of Chronicles tells of the warrior prowess of the various tribes mentioned.  They were great warriors, they could muster a sizeable army.  But the northern tribes of Israel, after the break up of the kingdom under Rehoboam, suffered a series of military defeats and exiles, finally culminating in the defeat of Samaria (the northern capital) in 622/621 B.C.  That is what makes today’s meditational reading all the more important.  The people trusted in God.  They stopped trusing in God.  They went into exile, an exile from which the did not return.

What does this say to us?  In the midst of all the boring, mind-numbing names, God the Holy Spirit reminds us how important it is to remain faithful to our God!  When the people of Israel turned their backs upon the Lord (it’s called unbelief!), they bore the consequences.  God reaches through the boring names and reminds me of the centrality of faith in my relationship to him.  I could have everything:  fame, fortune, a nicer boat, a bigger car, a mansion, a lot more, but if I don’t have faith then everything is lost as I go into that exile called death.

The good news is that, unlike the northern kingdom’s exile, my exile is not permanent.  Through faith in Jesus my Savior, I am brought through death into eternal life.  Today’s meditational readings, in the midst of boring names, reminds me of that!

A prayer:  Lord, keep me faithful to you forever.  Amen!

If you would like to hear some of Pastor Kerner’s sermons, you can visit the sermon archive at: https://gslcsuffield.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/sermon-archive-2010-2011/  The sermon archive is normally updated every Sunday afternoon.

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 585 South St. (Rt. 75), Suffield CT 06078 USA  www.gslcsuffield.com  If you would like to support this ministry, send your offering to the church.

If you found this article particularly helpful, would you share it with your friends and acquaintances on your social networking websites?  This is an easy way to use the internet as an evangelism tool.  You can friend me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/james.kerner.  Thank you for considering this.

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