There’s nothing quite like a fresh start. A new year, a new rhythm, a new city. A new job, a new challenge, a new community. But sometimes fresh starts come on the other side of the hardest moments and seasons of our lives—things we never asked for. The fresh starts that come on the other side of grief, loss, suffering, and sin often have a different weight to them, because we always carry the “before.” It may be a bit lighter, or start to sting less each day, but there is a history we bring with us into a new season.
As we reach the final chapter of genealogies in 1 Chronicles (way to go!), we catch up to God’s people during a similar kind of fresh start.
All of the genealogies up to this point have been leading us here. Chronicles has the whole of the Old Testament in view with these nine chapters of genealogies. The Chronicler has leveraged all of history to tell the story of God’s people from creation until the exiles’ return to the land God had given them. Just as God had been faithful from the beginning, the Chronicler would remind God’s people that He would also be faithful to another promise—to rebuild this faithful remnant. They weren’t lost forever. They weren’t without hope.
Many inhabitants returned to the towns and provinces outside of Jerusalem, while some people stayed in the city to protect it from attack and serve in the temple. The people listed here in chapter 9 were those who began setting down roots; the people who would lay down the foundations of a new temple, rebuild the center of worship, and eventually rebuild the city walls.
Each of these people who returned are testifiers to God’s faithfulness—their lives another chapter in the long legacy of God’s people. This is what the Chronicler has been holding up as a reminder of the past, and how this group is both physically and spiritually laying the foundations of a new future.
Having looked back, we will now turn toward a more detailed account of Israel’s history, as the author of Chronicles draws them down through the years of King David’s promised kingship, Solomon’s faithful building of the temple, the dividing of God’s kingdom, and the myriad of kings and their varying degrees of faithfulness.
With all the ups and downs, the people of God—both then and now—are called to remember the faithfulness of God at every turn and His unmatched ability to restore and renew the lost and broken places and seasons of our lives.
So, I’m not sure what you are bringing into this season of Lent. I’m not sure what kind of fresh start you are praying for on the other side of Resurrection Sunday. But I do know this: If you belong to Christ, then you are an heir to all of His promises (Galatians 3:29). You have been woven into the very history of His people that we spent this week reading. You also have a hope and future because God is faithful to His promises.