We set a goal eight years ago to study every book in the Bible in the adult Sunday School class. We’re two-thirds of the way on this twelve-year journey. Each quarter we alternate between an Old Testament and a New Testament book. I mention this to explain how we wound up studying 1 and 2 Chronicles. I doubt I would have chosen these books otherwise, had I been browsing my Bible looking for something interesting and useful to teach. I would have been wrong.
These books were written to encourage God’s people, who felt defeated and insignificant after returning from Babylonian exile. They were still God’s elect who are connected to the Patriarchs and chosen to continue His work to redeem the world. Through the world’s eyes, they were the ashes of a once great Davidic empire, but in God’s eyes, they were the hope for a restored world. God’s story continues in them and in us.
One of the emphases of these books is the central role of the Temple – a home for God. God wants to dwell among His people. The Temple of the Old Testament foreshadowed the Church of the New. Of course I don’t mean the buildings in which we meet. The Church is the people who have invited God to come live in their hearts. He dwells in us and among us. When we are assembled together as the Church, something special happens that doesn’t happen any other time.
This was brought to my attention last weekend, which was a real blessing for me. I was invited to the city of Fortaleza (500 miles North) to speak at their annual “Family of God” assembly that unites all the congregations in the area in one big feast of fellowship. There were about 700 saints together representing fifteen congregations in the region. I spoke on our lifelong journey in the Christian walk to “See Jesus more clearly” from Mark 8:22-38. The longer and closer we walk with Jesus, the more perfectly we see who he really is, and what it means to be like him.
Really understanding Jesus and being like him is a work in progress and I’ve got a long way to go. But we have help in this – the Church. God has given us like-minded fellow-believers who assist us in overcoming our weakness and who give us opportunity to help them overcome theirs. Together (and only together) we make a Home for God to dwell with us.