Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of First Chronicles which begins with an incredible list of genealogical records, and is followed by an incredible narrative of the life of David who would rule as king over the nation of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters seven through nine of this Old Testament book. VALIAN MEN! MEN ABLE TO BEAR BUCKLER AND SWORD, AND TO SHOOT WITH BOW! SKILLFUL IN WAR! VALIANT MEN OF MIGHT! VALIANT MEN OF MIGHT! MIGHTY MEN OF VALOUR! MIGHTY MEN OF VALOUR! FIT TO GO OUT FOR WAR AND BATTLE! MIGHTY MEN OF VALOUR! APT TO THE WAR AND TO BATTLE! MIGHTY MEN OF VALOUR! ARCHERS! WORSHIPPERS AND WARRIORS! SET OVER THE SERVICE OF SONG IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD! AFTER THE ARK HAD REST! MINISTERED BEFORE THE DWELLING PLACE OF THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION WITH SINING! WAITED ON THEIR OFFICE ACCORDING TO THEIR ORDER! APPOINTED UNTO ALL MANNER OF SERVICE OF THE TABERNACLE OF THE HOUSE OF GOD! APPOINTED FOR ALL THE WORK OF THE PLACE MOST HOLY! AND TO MAKE AN ATONEMENT FOR ISRAEL! VERY ABLE MEN FOR THE WORK OF THE SERVICE OF THE HOUSE OF GOD! OVER THE WROK OF THE SERVICE, KEEPERS OF THE GATES OF THE TABERNACLE! KEEPERS OF THE ENTRY! PORTER OF THE DOOR OF THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION! CHOSEN TO BE PORTERS IN THE GATES! OVERSIGHT OF THE GATES OF THE HOUSE OF THE LORD! OVER THE CHAMBERS AND TREASURIES OF THE HOUSE OF GOD! THEY LODGD ROUND ABOUT THE HOUSE OF GOD! THE OPENING THEREOF EVERY MORNING PERTAINED TO THEM! CERTAIN OF THEM HAD THE CHARGE OF THE MINISTERING VESSELS, THAT THEY SHOULD BRING THEM IN AND OUT BY TALE! APPOINTED TO OVERSEE THE VESSELS, AND ALL THE INSTRUMENTS OF THE SANCTUARY! THESE ARE THE SINGERS! (2 SAMUEL 23:5-39) (1 CHRONICLES 11:10-47) (1 CHRONICLES 12:1-40) (NUMBERS 1:1-46) (NUMBERS 1:47-54). (NUMBERS 3:1-51). (NUMBERS 4:1-49). THE BATTLEFIELD! THE HOUSE OF THE LORD!
When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the continuation and conclusion of the vast genealogical records which were presented to us in the opening chapters of the book of First Chronicles. What makes the account of these vast genealogical records so incredibly unique and captivating is when you consider that not only do they begin in the beginning with Adam, but they also continue down the ages and through the generations of men until they eventually find their place with the narrative of David the king of Israel, which begins in and with the tenth chapter. What’s more, is that as you come to the ninth chapter of the book of First Chronicles you will find in the opening verse the declaration that “All Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression.” It’s quite captivating to think about and consider the absolutely tremendous face that these genealogical records seem to be of supreme importance—particularly and especially when you consider the narrative of the children of Judah begin carried away as captives into the land of Babylon during the days of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. What adds even more weight to this particular reality is when you think about and consider the fact that when you come to the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew you will find him providing a genealogical record, and one that would begin with Abraham and would continue throughout the centuries and throughout the generations until it would eventually come to and reach the time of Christ. We dare not miss and lose sight of this reality, for at the very conclusion of the genealogical record which the apostle Matthew provides for us we find him speaking of the amount of time that passed between different points during the genealogical record which would begin with Abraham and would continue all the way to the time of Christ. In fact, in the seventeenth verse of the first and opening chapter of the gospel narrative which the apostle Matthew wrote and recorded we find him describing how “all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” It’s quite interesting to think about and consider this, for it’s almost as if this genealogical record begins with Abraham, and not only direct links and connects the reign of David, and not only directly links and connects the captivity of the southern kingdom of Judah, but also the time of Christ.
WHEN GENERATIONS POINT TO CHRIST! As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about the tremendous fact that when you consider the genealogical records found within the book of First Chronicles, as well as those which are found within the New Testament gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew and the beloved physician Luke, you will find that the genealogical records not only seem to point to David and to his reign as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel, but they also seem to point to Jesus the Christ and the days in which He would walk upon the earth. It’s truly astonishing to read the words which are found within the New Testament gospel of Matthew, as well as the New Testament gospel of Luke and to find that what would begin with Abraham would eventually lead to the days of the reign of David the son of Jesse who would rule and reign as king over the kingdom of Israel. What’s more, is that The apostle Matthew seems to directly link and connect the days of David king of Israel to the days of Jesus the Christ, however, in between the days of David the son of Jesse and king of Israel, and the days of Jesus the Christ who was also referred to as the Son of David there was a period of captivity. It was this particular narrative of captivity that directly links these genealogical records to the book of First Chronicles and to the opening chapters, for there seems to be this truly wonderful and powerful need and desire to preserve the records of the children of Israel—not only through the years of the judges of the nation of Israel, and not only through and during the days of the kings of Israel, but also during the years of capacity. Pause for a moment and think about how truly necessary and imperative it would have been for these records to be preserved through seventy years of captivity, and how there would be this profound sense of identity that would be preserved in the midst of captivity. Think about the fact that not only was there an appointed time for the captivity of the people of God, and not only would the LORD preserve both the people of God, as well as the people of the land, but the LORD would also preserve the genealogical records concerning the nation and people of Israel. Pause for a moment and think about what tremendous lengths and measures would have needed to be taken throughout the years to carefully record the various families and houses of Israel—beginning with Abraham the patriarch and father of the Jewish people. Consider what great measures, what great efforts would have needed to take place throughout the centuries and throughout the generations in order that the family records might be preserved in order to demonstrate and reveal ones direct link and connection to Abraham. Consider the absolutely remarkable and astonishing reality that during those years and during those times we find the record of families being carefully preserved in order that the lineage of fathers and sons might be traced throughout the years—perhaps through the direct work of scribes who would carry out the responsibility of keeping such records.
A RECORD OF SONS AND FATHERS! I sit here this morning and I can’t help but be absolutely captivated with and by the fact that these genealogical records would essentially be a narrative that exists between sons and fathers. If you read the words which are found and contained within these chapters you will find the continued reference of fathers begetting sons, and how the generations would be manifested in the earth through this continued reproduction. What began with Abraham fourteen generations earlier would eventually and ultimately find its way to the days of David the son of Jesse who would be the king of Israel. It would be during those fourteen generations when the nation and kingdom of Israel would continue to be preserved, and would continue to be populated in the midst of the earth. It’s quite remarkable to think about the fact that during those fourteen generations from the time of Abraham to the time of David the king of Israel we find the nation and kingdom of Israel transitioning from one single man who was called from Ur of the Chaldeans to a household with twelve sons. Eventually that household which would have twelve sons would turn into a household of seventy souls which would make the journey down into the land of Egypt during the days of Joseph, the son of Jacob who was also called Israel. It would be there in Egypt where you would find that household of seventy souls being transformed and multiplying to twelve tribes of Israel. It would be there in the land of Egypt twelve sons would be turned and transformed into twelve tribes. Those twelve tribes would eventually form a people that would emerge out of the slavery and bondage of the land of Egypt as a mighty congregation and host in the midst of the earth. What’s more, is that this congregation and assembly of people would eventually enter into the land which was promised and sworn unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob centuries before, and it would be in that land they would become a nation among others within and upon the earth. It would be during the days of David king of Israel that this nation of Hebrews would be transformed one more time into a kingdom within and upon the face of the earth—a kingdom that would exercise dominion round about it over other nations and other peoples. Eventually, however, this once thriving kingdom would experience a schism, a split and division that would transform it from one single kingdom into two smaller kingdoms—the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. These two kingdoms would exist together with each other in the earth until the days of Hezekiah king of Judah and Hoshea king of Israel, as it would be during those days the people of the northern kingdom of Israel would be taken and carried away captive into the land of the Assyrians. The southern kingdom of Judah would remain in existence for a few more generations until the days when Babylon itself would invade the land of Judah, would overtake the city of Jerusalem, would destroy the Temple and house of the LORD, and would carry away the people of Judah as captives into the land of the Chaldeans.
We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found and written within these particular chapters in the book of First Chronicles, for what is presented before us within these chapters is a powerful sense of identity in the midst of the Hebrew people. If there is one thing these chapters present us with and reveal to us, it’s the tremendous and powerful sense of identity that was found in the midst of the Hebrew and Jewish people. There is a truly wonderful and powerful sense of national identity that is found written and recorded with the genealogical records, as not only would they directly link families and households to one of the twelve tribes of Israel, but would also directly link and connect them to the patriarchs of the Hebrew people—namely, to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. Think about how absolutely and incredibly important these records would have been, and how carefully they would have had to be preserved throughout the generations and throughout the years by faithful scribes who would record the names of families and households in the midst of the earth. There is continue mention during the days of David, during the days of Solomon, and even during the days of Hezekiah concerning the scribe(s) and the recorder(s), and it is actually quite incredible to think about and consider the fact that there were actually those present in the midst of the people of Israel who would bear the incredible task, the incredible responsibility and assignment of carefully and faithfully recording the generation of the children of Israel beginning with Abraham and continuing throughout the generations. I can’t help but wonder what it would and could have been like as with each generation there would potentially be the need to transcribe the previous genealogical records which were written and recorded and the addition of the new families, households, and names that were present in the midst of the land and people. I can’t help but think about two tremendous needs that were present in the midst of the people of God—two assignments and two responsibilities that might not be as glamours as those who would take up the sword and shield and go out to war, nor even as glamours as those who would minister in the house of the LORD, and yet would be of the utmost importance and significance in the midst of the people of God. If and as you study the history of the people of God you will find that there were two assignments which would have a tremendous significance—not only for their natural and physical history, but also for their spiritual history. It should be noted that the natural and physical history and identity would be wrapped up and contained within the genealogical records, and yet the spiritual history would be wrapped up and contained within the law of Moses. What that means is that with each generation there would be those who would faithfully and carefully preserve the previous generation’s genealogical records, and would not only transcribe them, but would also faithfully record the names of families, fathers and households during those generations. Not only this, but there would be those who would carefully transcribe the law of Moses which would be passed down through the generations from the time of Moses unto and until that present generation.
PRESERVING NATURAL HISTORY! PRESERVING SPIRITUAL HISTORY! As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about the fact that two of the greatest assignments that would be found within the days and generations of the people of Israel were that of transcribing the words written and recorded within the law of Moses, as well as that of transcribing the genealogical records of families and households throughout the years. It’s interesting that these genealogical records would point back to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, but they would also point back to the time of Moses the servant of the LORD. I find myself being absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that it would be of great importance and significance in the midst of the generations—not only to faithfully preserve the law of Moses which contained the words of the living and eternal God, but to also faithfully preserve the genealogical records of families and households. What’s more, is that in the preservation of the genealogical records we would find the preservation of physical and natural history—a history that would be traced all the way back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like to record all those genealogical records, and what it was like to trace them throughout the four-hundred plus years of slavery in the midst of Egypt. Consider the fact that if a generation is forty years, and if the children of Israel were in the land of Egypt as slaves for four-hundred and thirty years—there would have been close to eleven different generations that would be present in the midst of the slavery, bondage and oppression in Egypt. What I find so absolutely incredible and amazing is how the hand of the living God is and was all over this reality, for not only would the living God continue to multiply and increase the nation and people of Israel, but He would also faithfully preserve their natural, physical and national identity throughout the generations. What added even more weight and power to the concept of the living God faithfully preserving people throughout the generations is when you consider that which the LORD God declared and proclaimed to Moses when He passed before him after hiding him in a cleft of the rock in Horeb in the wilderness of Sinai. When you think about this concept of genealogical records, and when you think about the reality of generations that were found in the midst of the earth throughout the years, it’s quite intriguing to consider the tremendous faithfulness of the living God throughout the generations. In fact, I would like to first begin with the words which David the psalmist wrote in the thirty-seventh book of the Psalms, and then transition back to the words which the living God spoke unto Moses as He passed by and before him. What’s more, is I would like to also consider specific references to the faithfulness of the living God throughout and in the midst of the generations:
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed beggging bread. He is every merciful, and ledneth; and his seed is blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loveth judgment and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein” (Psalm 37:23-29).
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount. And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; vicinity the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O LORD, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance. And He said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. Observe thou that which I command thee this day” (Exodus 34:1-10).
“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. IN the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy warmth are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are three score years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Return, O LORD, how long? And let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and that glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it” (Psalm 90:1-17).
The more I read and the more I study the genealogical records which are found within the opening chapters of the book of First Chronicles, as well as the first chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, and even the third chapter of the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke, the more I can’t help but encounter and come to face with the absolutely astonishing reality of the faithfulness of God throughout the generations. If there is one thing that more often than not gets lost in translation—particularly and especially when we talk and speak about generations—it’s the faithfulness of the living and eternal God through the generations. There is a certain faithfulness on behalf of the scribes who transcribe and copy the words which are found within the Law of Moses, and there is a certain faithfulness that is found within the recorder who perhaps undertakes the tremendous task and responsibility of recording the generations of the children of Israel, and as I am sitting here today I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that there is a great and powerful need among us within our generation for Holy Spirit anointed and Holy Spirit inspired scribes and recorders to be manifested in the midst of this generation. During these days when there is so much doubt, so much confusion, so much chaos, so much uncertainty, so much anxiety, so much fear, and so much frustration, discouragement and hopelessness, there is a truly wonderful need for Holy Ghost inspired and anointed scribes who will not only transcribe the words which are found in the book of the Law of Moses, but who will also teach the words which are found and recorded within it. There is a tremendous need for Holy Ghost anointed and Holy Ghost inspired recorders to rise up—those who not only record the history of previous generations, but those who also write and record the faithfulness of the living God. I am convinced that during these days there is perhaps no greater need during these times of anxiety, fear and uncertainty to look back upon the faithfulness of the living God. There is a truly wonderful and powerful need for men and women to be confronted with the faithfulness of the living God in times past, and how the living God has walked with us, how the living God has walked beside us, how the living God has led and fed us, and how the living God has been faithful in the midst of the generations.
I sit here today and I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the psalmist wrote and recorded within the seventy-seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms. It is within this chapter that we encounter a certain discouragement and a certain pervasive hopelessness during a time when the people of God felt abandoned, felt rejected, felt neglected, and felt cast off by the living God. I am absolutely and completely convinced that what we find within this chapter is a growing sentiment that was written and expressed by Asaph during a time when he looked over the landscape of the land and over the landscape over the nation and had some serious questions which he needed to voice before and present unto the living God. If there is one thing the book of the Psalms presents and brings us face to face with, it’s the truly remarkable and astounding reality that the psalmists weren’t afraid to get open, honest and vulnerable before and in the sight of the living God. The psalmists weren’t afraid to wrestle with themselves and the real emotions, thoughts and feelings that were found within themselves. The book of the Psalms points to and reveals a truly remarkable picture of the psalmists getting incredibly real and vulnerable before and in the sight of the living God, and being absolutely unashamed and unafraid to ask Him very deep and personal questions. If you read the words which are found in the seventy-seventh chapter of the book of Psalms you will find the psalmist Asaph asking some very real, some very personal, and some very honest questions before and in the presence of the living God. Beginning with the first and opening verse of this particular chapter I invite you to consider the words which he expressed in the sight and presence of the living God:
“I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and He gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the LORD: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be conformed. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my son in the night: I commune with. Mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. Will the LORD cast off for ever? And will he be favorable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This is my infirmity: But I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the LORD: Surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: Who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thin arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron” (Psalms 78:1-20).
I read and consider the words which are found within the opening chapters of the book of First Chronicles and I can’t help but be confronted with the tremendous faithfulness of the living God in the midst of generations, and how the true and living God remained faithful in the midst of the generations. Even during the four-hundred and thirty years of slavery, bondage and oppression in the land of Egypt, the true and living God was still faithful on behalf of His people. Even during the days of the wilderness wandering the living and eternal God was faithful unto His people, and He led and fed them during their entire journey and tenure in the midst of that vast wilderness. In fact, even if you journey back to the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will encounter Moses recounting before that generation which was preparing to enter into the land of promise the tremendous faithfulness of the LORD their God throughout the forty years they had journeyed through the wilderness. It was true that an entire generation had perished in the wilderness, and that the death of that generation paved the way and made room for a new generation to rise up and enter into the land of Canaan, and it was that new generation which witnessed, beheld and experienced the faithfulness of the living God day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Pause and think about the fact that an entire generation could make the boast that the LORD faithfully watched over, guarded, protected, led and guided them, and even provided and protected them for a period of forty years. Stop and think about how truly wonderful and remarkable this truly is, for it’s one thing to speak about the faithfulness of the living God, however, it’s something else entirely to speak about the faithfulness of the living God for an entire generation. Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely wonderful it is to be able to say with confidence as you entered into the land of promise, and as you entered into the place of inheritance and possession that the LORD your God was faithful within your live for forty years. We have often spoken of the faithfulness of the living God, but when was the last time you began speaking about the faithfulness of the living God—not only within your life, but over an extended and prolonged period of time? When was the last time you took a step back and truly acknowledged the faithfulness of the living God within your life, and how the LORD was with you every step of the way. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy beginning to read with the first and opening verse:
“All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers. And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scareness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: lest when thou hast Eaton and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with Mann, which ty fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 8:1-20).
The words which we find written and recorded within this particular chapter is truly remarkable when you take the time to truly think about and consider it, for what we find within this chapter demonstrates and expresses the faithfulness of God toward His people in the midst of a vast wilderness—one that was filled with drought, one that was filled with serpents and scorpions, and one that had no feed or sustenance. Not only did the living God faithfully provide them with manna from heaven six days out of the week every year for forty years, but the living God also provided for them water out of the rock. The words in this passage bring us face to face with the truly remarkable faithfulness of the living God in the midst of a dry and dangerous place, and how the LORD led them forty years. What’s more, is that the LORD also faithfully preserved their garments and clothes during those forty years and didn’t allow their feet to swell. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely remarkable and astonishing reality, for during dark and dangerous times such as what we are living in we would be incredibly wise to remember the faithfulness of our living God. We would do well to recognize and remember that the living God has not abandoned His faithfulness, nor has the living God abandoned His willingness to provide for, protect and preserve His people. I consider the assignment and task of scribes and recorders, and I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated by the fact that they had an absolutely incredible responsibility—not only to previous generations which went before them, and not only to the generation in which they were a part of, but also to the future generations that would come after them. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that the preservation of genealogical records not only spoke to the generations which were before, but it also spoke to the current and present generation they were a part of. Moreover, the preservation of genealogical records would also point to the future generations that would emerge after them, for as surely as genealogical records look back upon what was, it also looks forward to what will be. What’s more, is that these genealogical records look forward to what can be in the future. It is easy to get caught up in the genealogical records and consider them solely in terms of what has been in the past, and yet I am absolutely convinced that genealogical records not only look to the past, but they also point forward to the future and what can and what will be. There are many individuals who shy away from the genealogies found within the Scripture because all they see are a bunch of names, and this person begat this person, and that person begat this person. There are many men and women who have a difficult time with these lists of names, and yet it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that these records were not only necessary to preserve that which has gone before them in times past, but they also help reveal what would be in the next and upcoming generations.
It has often been said that in order to get where you’re going, or in order to know where you ought to go, you must look into the past as see where you have come from. There have been those have emphatically declared that if you want to understand where you are going it is important to know where you have been and where you have come from. I am absolutely and completely convinced that this reality is greatly expressed and found in genealogical records, for not only do they speak of the faithfulness of the living God in generations, but they also present a picture of the faithfulness of God that is available in the generations to come. These genealogical records were absolutely necessary, for even their very presence reveals how the living God preserved generations throughout the years, and how the living God moved in the midst of generations—from the time of Abraham to the time of David, from the time of David to the time of the captivity, and from the time of captivity to the time of Christ. The genealogical records do in fact look to what was, but they also help us look forward to what will be in the generations to come. If I am being truthful, I have to admit that I honestly don’t know how many more generations we have between now and the time of the return of Christ, and in this generation there is a great need for us to look back upon the faithfulness of the living and eternal God in generations and times past, and to trust and believe in that faithfulness in the generation in which we are presently in. I previously wrote how there is a great need for Holy Spirit anointed, and Holy Spirit inspired recorders to be present among us within this generation, and such individuals not only look back upon previous generations from a historical perspective, but they also look back over and look back upon the faithfulness of the living God. Oh where are those men and women who are recorders of the divine faithfulness of God? Where are those individuals who stand up and testify of the faithfulness of the living God—not only in generations past, but also within the generation in which are presently living? Perhaps another question I can’t help but ask is that there have been generations in times past which have experienced the faithfulness of the living God, but where does our experience with the faithfulness of the living God lie. Where does our experience with the faithfulness of God lie—not only within our lives as individuals, but also in our households, in our families, in our churches, and the like? When was the last time you were truly able to speak about the faithfulness of the living God within your life? It’s one thing to speak about the faithfulness of the living God in previous generations, and even in the lives of others, but where is the faithfulness of the living God within your own life? Where is the faithfulness of God within your personal experience within this generation?
I can’t help but think about and consider the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Second Kings when you find the prophet Elijah being taken into heaven in a whirlwind and in a chariot of fire. If you turn and direct your attention to the second chapter of the book of Second Kings you will find the prophet Elijah preparing to depart from this earth—and not only preparing to depart from this earth, but also to depart from Elisha and to leave Elisha behind. As you read this particular chapter you will find the prophet Elijah gave Elisha three different chances and three different opportunists to tun back and to depart from him, and yet with each chance the prophet Elijah gave Elisha, he found this particular one unwilling to leave and depart from his side. Despite the fact that Elijah gave Elisha different chances and different opportunities to depart from him and to perhaps even go back to where he had come from, or even to remain in one of the places he and Elijah had been, he chose to remain by his master’s side. Eventually there would come the time when Elijah and Elisha would be separated from each other and Elijah would be taken up into heaven in a whirlwind. Upon his departure from Elisha we find the mantle of Elijah falling to the earth, and Elisha picking up the mantle that fell from Elijah. What’s so absolutely incredible about this passage of Scripture is what Elisha did once he picked up the mantle which fell from Elijah. If you consider the entire narrative that is found within the second chapter of the book of Second Kings you will find the account of Elisha picking up the mantle which fell from Elijah and not only the first thing he did with the mantle, but also the first declaration he made once he had that mantle within his hand. Consider if you will the narrative that is found within the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Kings beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse of the chapter:
“And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el. And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, terry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and stood the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that the two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? And when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha” (2 Kings 2:1-15).
What I find to be so absolutely remarkable about the language that is found within this passage is not necessarily the fact that Elisha picked up the mantle of Elijah after he had been separated from him and taken up into heaven in a whirlwind, but also what he did after he had picked up the mantle of Elijah. Scripture records how when Elisha picked up the mantle which fell from Elijah when he was taken up into heaven, he took the mantle which belonged to his master and used it to smite the waters of the Jordan as he had seen Elijah do. What’s more, is that when Elisha took the mantle of Elijah and smote the waters of the Jordan, he made an incredibly powerful declaration and statement. As you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage you will find the prophet Elisha asking the question “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” Please don’t miss the incredible significance and importance of this question, for it calls and draws our attention to Elisha looking back on the days of his master, looking at the faithfulness of the living God in the life of Elijah, and calling on the same God who was active and present within the life of Elijah. The question which Elisha asked is one that is incredibly powerful, for that question draws and calls on the reality of the faithfulness of the living God within the life of Elijah, and calling for that faithfulness to be manifested within his life and within his generation. What’s more, is Elijah witnessed and beheld the power of the living God in the life of his master Elijah, and when he asked the question where the LORD God of Elijah was, he was essentially asking for the power of the living God that was present in the midst of the life of his master who had just been taken from him. Elisha asked this question, and the question was essentially one of invitation—invitation of the same God that was manifested in the midst of the life and ministry of Elijah. When Elisha asked the question concerning where the LORD God of Elijah was, what he was truly asking was whether or not the same God that was manifested in the life and ministry of Elijah. Undoubtedly Elisha had witnessed and beheld the power and presence of the living God within the life of his master, and when he took up that mantle and came to the Jordan River, what he was really doing was inviting the same God of Elijah to be present and manifested within his life, and to show up and show off as He had done before. The question which Elisha asked when he smote the waters of the Jordan was not only a question of whether or not the living God would show up there at the Jordan River, but whether or not the same God that was manifested in the life of Elijah would now be manifested in the life of Elisha.
I have to admit that I absolutely love this question “Where is the LORD God of Elijah,” because it not only looks back at the power and presence of the living God during the days of Elijah, but it also invites the living God into the present generation. With the picking up of the mantle of Elijah, and with the smiting of the Jordan River, and with the asking of this question, the prophet Elisha was inviting the same God that was manifested in the life and ministry of Elijah to be manifested in his life and in that generation. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we come face to face with and understand this, for it is incredibly relevant to what we are thinking about and considering in terms of generations and genealogical records, for the question we must ask is not necessarily where is the God of Elijah, but where it he God of previous and past generations. We must ask ourselves where the faithfulness of the living God that has been manifested and experienced in previous and past generations. The question “Where is the LORD God of Elijah” that not only looks back to what the living God has done, but it also looks forward to what the living God can indeed do in this present generation. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves in this generation is where is the faithfulness which previous generations have witnessed and experienced during their days and during their time. Where is the faithfulness which the living God which was manifested in previous generations—faithfulness which they witnessed, beheld and experienced? The question “Where is the God of Elijah” is one that not only speaks to what was, but it also speaks to what is, and what can be. This question calls upon what once was, and invites the God of the what was into the God of what can be. INVITING THE GOD OF WHAT WAS INTO THE PLACE OF WHAT CAN BE! INVITING THE GOD OF WHAT WAS INTO THE PLACE OF WHAT IS! We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality when considering this question, for there is a great need to look into the past and recognize that the living God is the same yesterday, today and forever. There is a great and powerful need to look at the God who is and who will always be, and to invite the God of what was into the place of what can be in this present generation. What’s more, is that there is a great need to invite the God of what was into the place of what will be in the days and generation to come. I absolutely love the question “Where is the God of Elijah,” for it calls upon the living God who appeared and manifested Himself during the days of Elijah to continue to manifest Himself during the days of Elisha.
I sit here this evening and I can’t help but get the strong sense that we ourselves might very well be in a moment where the living and eternal God has manifested Himself in the Elijah’s who have gone before us in previous generations, and inviting that same God into our present day generation. The question which Elisha asked was not only a question of invitation as He invited the living God to manifest Himself and to show up during his generation, but also a question of willingness. The question “Where is the God of Elijah” is essentially asking the living God to show up during his days and during his generation the same way He did during the days of Elijah. This question looks at the days of Elijah and sees what the living God did during those days and asks the question “God, I know what you did during the days of Elijah, but what will you do during the days of Elisha?” I KNOW WHAT YOU DID DURING THE DAYS OF ELIJAH, BUT WHAT WILL YOU DO DURING THE DAYS OF ELISHA? It’s absolutely incredible that we wrestle with this particular question, for it is this question that draws and call us to look at what God has done in days and times past and inviting God to show up in days present in such a supernatural and powerful way. There is a great and tremendous need during these dark and precarious times for the living and eternal God to show up and show off in the midst of us, and to do what He had done in times past. This question “Where is the LORD God of Elijah” recognizes that God was present during the days and during the times of Elijah, but recognizes that one is living in new times, and that the same God who was present during the days of Elijah is the same God that needs to be present and manifested in the midst of of this new and present generation. Oh how absolutely remarkable and astonishing it is to think about and consider the absolutely incredible reality of the living God who appeared and manifested during the days of Elijah, and recognizing the need for that same God to appear and manifest Himself during the days of Elisha. What we must recognize and understand, however, is that even if the living God shows up during the days of Elisha, that doesn’t mean it is going to look the exact same way. What I mean by this is that Elisha never saw the fire come down from heaven the way Elijah did upon the altar, upon the burnt offering and sacrifice, and upon the dust of the earth. Elisha wouldn’t experience the living God the way Elijah did at the mountain of God in the wilderness when a still voice appeared unto him after the wind, after the fire, and after the earthquake. Just because you invite the God of Elijah into the days of your generation, and even though you invite the God of what was into the place of what is—that doesn’t mean that what is will resemble or at all be like what was. We must come to terms with this, for in our quest and pursuit for the God of what was to show up in the days of what is and the days of what can be, we must not expect that it is going to be exactly the same.
GOD WILL YOU SHOW UP IN MY GENERATION THE WAY YOU SHOWED UP IN PAST GENERATIONS? GOD WILL YOU SHOW UP NOW THE WAY YOU SHOWED UP BEFORE? If there is one thing we must come to terms with it’s that in our present generation and during the days and times we live in, we must completely and totally surrender our expectations of who we want God to be and what we want God to do. There is the temptation to try and control and manipulate God into somehow acting like we want Him to be. If there is one thing we must recognize it’s that the living God has never been and can never be manipulated, controlled, nor even coerced to doing what we want, and operating the way we think He should, and even the way we would like Him to. In our pursuit and in our quest for the living God to show up and to show off in our generation as He has in previous generations, we must recognize and acknowledge that we have absolutely no control over what the LORD will do among us in our generations. To help illustrate this point even further, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the Old Testament book of the Psalms, as well as the words which are found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah. Consider if you will the words which are found in the Old Testament book of the Psalms, and then transition and move forward from the poetic into the prophetic in order that you might recognize and understand that God is not like you, and God is not like me, and that in our pursuit of Him showing up as He has done in past generations, He must be allowed to do what He wants, when He wants, and how He wants. Consider now these particular verses and the tremendous implications they have on our pursuit of the living God to show up in the midst of our generation and during the days and times in which we are living:
“The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah. Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats of thy folds. For every beast of the Forrest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: and call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. But unto the wicked God saith, What has thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. When thou safest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partakers with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such as one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:1-23).
“Come ye, but, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee. Because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for HE hath glorified thee. Seek the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteousness man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing where to I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thron shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off” (Isaiah 55:1-13).
If there is one thing we must come face to face with during these days and times, it’s that our invitation of the God of what was might very well indeed show up during these days, and yet just because He shows up, that doesn’t mean He is going to move and operate the same way He did previously. Is it possible that more often than not we can miss what God is doing during this generation and during these present days because we are looking for Him to do what He had done in past generations and in past times. There is a great and powerful need within our hearts and within our lives to understand that God is not like us, and that God’s ways are not our ways, and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. We must understand that the living God has always done and will always do what He wants to do, and that He doesn’t answer to us. The living God can be impacted by and through our prayers, and even by and through our intercession, but we must not forget and lose sight of the fact that the living God is on His own time table and that His faithfulness in this generation might not look like the faithfulness of previous generations. We recognize that the living God is indeed faithful, and that the living God does indeed show up in this generation as he did in previous generations, and yet He can and will do what He wants. I am sure that when Elisha asked “Where is the LORD God of Elijah” he had absolutely no idea, nor did he have any clue what to expect during his days and during his generation. The only thing he knew was that he was inviting the God of Elijah into his days and into his time, and the biggest need he had was to invite the God of Elijah to show up, and he simply move with Him and allow Him to do what He wanted, when He wanted and how He wanted. Elisha asked for and wanted the God of Elijah to be manifested during his days and during his time, and yet he had great need of simply moving with the Spirit, being obedient and faithful to that which the living God instructed and spoke to him, and to let the living God do what He does best and what he wanted to. Oh that we would recognize this reality within our own hearts and lives and that we would indeed move with the living God, and that we would allow the living God to fulfill and accomplish that which He wants to do in our generation without making any attempt to dictate, control and manipulate Him to somehow cater to our own whims, our own agendas, our own plans, and our own purposes. Oh how absolutely powerful and liberating it is to invite the God of Elijah into these days and during these times and to allow Him to do exactly what He wants, when He wants, and how He wants to while simply walking in obedience and faithfulness before Him.