Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait brothers and sisters, the First Australians, have strong links to ‘country’ and to their ancestors which is held in high regard so that language and country describe from where they have descended and to some extent where they will go.
As a late arrival (post 1770) my generational cohort and those on either generational sides before and after mine seem to have grown an interest in where we have come from. Who were our parents and grand parents and great grand parents and still further back establishing the family line as far as is possible. For some of us once we reach a certain previous time or place then the familial history is known only from a verbal or single written history that links us to our ancestors’ locale.
Both of these passages today are about where we have come from and where we are going. But in different senses.
John writes in the 1 John 3: passage of the seed of God in His people and the writer of the 1 Chronicles chapter 2 of the genealogy of one of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Beginning with the New Testament passage John’s writings here speak of our actions demonstrating whose we are. (In this sense, a more active demonstration than just who we belong to.)
Here he begins by writing of the great love “lavished” on us by God in calling us His children(v1). We think of the great gift of Christ’s death for us, as we should, but even this great gift is part of the way our Lord has lavished us in His love. Not just the gift of His only Son but His gift of His love to us. Not just giving to us once, but continually. (Some synonyms that help make the point here are; extreme, inordinate, overextravagant and undue.)(1)
Reaching v9 John’s words make this point. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. Pretty tough words, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them, . . . ” Here the word seed is used for the gift of God’s Spirit in us that is actively working to help keep us away from temptation and out of the devil’s grasp. The connotation is of us growing just like a seed. Of us purifying ourselves for Christ’s return(v3). An ongoing process. So that one of the reasons for Christ’s death can be accomplished, “. . . to destroy the devil’s work.”(v8b)
So what has the Chronicles reading to do with Christ’s appearance for us and God’s love lavished on us? Genealogical lists can appear a bit boring but not this one. Although the lists in chapter 2 are about a particular tribe, Judah, and its descendants there is a clear picture through some gems provided of God’s actions in response to His people’s sin. Here are two examples:
- v3 – … Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death. …
- v7 – … Achar, who brought trouble on Israel by violating the ban on taking devoted things...
So what of all the other names, the other peoples. This chapter is part of those that prepare us for the later inclusion of the history of God working out His plan for His people through those living in Judah. Shortly, the writer will recount the great achievements of Solomon and David, the reforms of Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah, and the people who remained faithful to God as a basis for proving God was keeping His promises to His people.
Each name in this list cites another person, another descendent, who is blessed by God to continue the family line. You’ll notice too in this list names of others not of the tribe specifically, that God introduces to continue the family line. The line of His faithful people to whom He is keeping His promise through His gift of love..
So what of us – yesterday in our services we were challenged by our failures, our failures that might appear anagalous to broken pieces of a clay pot that were repaired and mended to serve as a whole. So too we are purified by our failures and prepared for the return of Christ.
A Prayer – Our loving Father, in your lavish love that you shower on us you sent your Son to save us. Thank you for the gift of redemption through Him. Father, you provide you Spirit to live in us as a seed growing to full maturity. So by your Spirit purify us and cause us to live righteously so that we too might be ready for Christ’s return. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
(1) Synonyns provided by the Merriam Webster dictionary at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary .