Bible Order: Job 40:3–42:17
Chronological Order: 2 Chronicles 4, 1 Kings 7
New Testament Only: John 14:15–31
Your Will Be Done
Yesterday I promised you background on 1 Chronicles. Actually, this will be back ground on 1 & 2 Chronicles. The two books of Chronicles cover the same historical period as the two books of Kings; that is from Saul to Zedekiah. The difference between the books is that Kings give us the big picture while the Chronicles comes back and focuses on particular issues on which God desires to expound. J. Vernon McGee refers to this as “the law of recurrence or recapitulation”. This is the idea that God gives us the big picture first and then goes back into particular detail of His choosing. For example, chapter 2 of Genesis revisits the seven days of creation but focuses on one particular aspect; the creation of man. The Book of Deuteronomy (which means “second law”) is not merely a repetition of the Law but its interpretation after forty years of living with it in the wilderness.
J. Vernon provides an interesting example of this here in Chronicles and goes on to provide more interesting info on these two books:
Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee
“Now we will see in the Chronicles that God goes over the ground which He had covered in 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings in order to add details and to emphasize things which He considers important. Let me give you some examples of this. The emphasis in 1 Chronicles is David, and the emphasis in 2 Chronicles is David’s posterity. The northern kingdom is practically ignored when the division occurs between the northern and southern kingdoms. Chronicles does not record David’s sin. Why? Well, God so completely forgave it that He does not even mention it again. When God forgives, He forgets. In Kings the history of the nation is given from the standpoint of the throne; in Chronicles it is given from the standpoint of the altar. In Kings the palace is the center; in Chronicles the temple is the center. Kings gives us the political history of the nation, while Chronicles gives the religious history. Chronicles is the interpretation of Kings. All through the Books of Kings we noted the phrase, “Is it not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” Chronicles, you see, is the interpretation of Kings. Also Kings gives us man’s viewpoint while Chronicles gives us God’s viewpoint.
Ezra is probably the writer of the Chronicles. There is a striking similarity in style and language to the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Evidently Chronicles was written during the Babylonian captivity. The two Books of Chronicles not only constituted one book in the original, but apparently also included Ezra and Nehemiah. This lends support to the Jewish tradition of the authorship of Ezra.”
Finally, it is here, and only here, in today’s reading that we hear of Jabez. I don’t think many of us today would take much note of him if it weren’t for the international best-seller entitled “The prayer of Jabez”. I have to admit, I haven’t read the book so I do not know its premise. When I read Jabez’s prayer in the Bible I worried that people would read it and use it as part of the “prosperity Gospel” non-sense so in vogue today. God is not your personal vending machine and if He doesn’t give you everything you pray for it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love you. If your prayers, however, are full of self-centered begging for blessings then I worry that you don’t love Him.
The reason Jabez’s prayer was answered is because he was in right relationship with God and his heart desired what God desired for him. “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers” (1 Chronicles 4:9). I get a sense of a man who got himself in right relationship with God and said “I want Lord what you want for me.” Do remember this verse I shared the other day?
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Or how about the words of our Savior in Matthew?
Matthew 6:33 ESV
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
What was Jesus referring to when He said seek first the kingdom of God? Earlier in the same chapter Jesus taught us how to pray. Do you remember this?
Matthew 6:10 ESV
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”
Seek first the kingdom of God and do His will. It is then that the riches He promises you will be added to you. Don’t be disappointed, however, when you find His riches are different from the world’s. When you seek God first your perception of worth and value will change. It is then that true riches will fill your life. Don’t be fooled by the prayer of Jabez. He was saying “not my will but yours be done”.
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(This commentary is a portion of another post previously published on 5/4/10)