This sermon is part of the sermon series Earthy Spirituality.See series.
The Woodley family has a number of family picture albums. Each picture album contains an assortment of photos of people that matter to our family—children and parents, husbands and wives, friends, extended family members, and former church members. These are the people who are precious to us. When I look through one of our albums, I know that there's a story that holds everything together. It reminds me of who we are as Woodleys; it reminds me of who I am. It connects me with my past and gives me hope for the future.
The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles are filled with some of the people in God's family of covenant love. At first sight, these chapters don't look like an exciting or valuable portion of the Bible. The sprawling list of names continues, page after page. You might be tempted to ask, "Why are all of these genealogies even in the Bible?" Keep in mind that these dry genealogical accounts are the equivalent of God's family picture album. For ancient Jews, these names represent people who have faces and stories. They matter and they belong here. But what is the story behind the names and faces, and what does that story tell us today?
First, let's take a look at the background story of 1 and 2 Chronicles. Four hundred years before Jesus was born, a group of Jewish people who had returned from a 70-year exile was trying to resettle, regroup, and rediscover their spiritual identity. They were a minority under the shadow of the all-consuming, trend-setting, world-shaping Persian Empire. They felt small, insignificant, and forgotten. They still had a temple where they could experience the presence of God, but their new temple was smaller and uglier than the first temple. ...
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Matt Woodley serves as the Editor for PreachingToday.com and the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also the author of God With Us: The Gospel of Matthew (IVP).