*Our contributor has done something slightly different today. The passage above is for the next three days. The commentary begins today with an introduction to the whole section and continues with more specific thoughts tomorrow.
The poet Carol Anne Duffy wrote a series of poems based on well-known stories but from the point of view of a different protagonist in the story. The Chronicler does a similar thing. Without sounding disrespectful, I would argue that it isn’t very helpful for our understanding of the purpose of this book that it is put alongside Samuel and Kings when it may well be easier to learn lessons from if we were to get a break from the adventures of David and Co. and get a sense of where this book is coming from.
Like Carol Anne Duffy, the Chronicler - thought possibly to have been Ezra or one of his chums - has a different message from the writer of Kings and Samuel, because he is writing at a different time and for a different audience: the remnant of returning Jews exiled to Babylon. What could the tales of the Davidic dynasty possibly contain that could teach and encourage them in this period after the exile when the glories of a victorious and united Israel were long dead? Can the lessons emphasised in the other histories be learnt in a place where the people had failed to please God and been punished for it? Can this still be true for us?
It’s a question that all of us will ask at certain times in our lives. Moments when we think we are at the end… the last straw, where it’s felt like we’ve totally blown it OR some outside event has rocked our faith. For some that would be over an issue like the legalisation of same sex-marriage or a family issue: a loved one in prison or an unfaithful spouse. We come to a point where we ask ‘Can the promises of God still hold true in such a time as this? Can God still love me after THIS?’
The Chronicler’s huge accomplishment, because the Holy Spirit IS the Holy Spirit, is to reveal more about the love and constancy of God, from a slightly different angle and to show HOW MUCH future and hope there is for the people whom God has chosen from before the beginning of time.
Lord Jesus, we praise YOU that the cross means there are NO last straws. There is nothing that can separate us from You, that Your death and rising means our lives can be re-built, transformed by You and in You. Amen