My eyes can glaze over as I read through these three chapters, which are basically a listing of the names of Levites and their respective duties in the temple. I can check off that I have done my daily reading and move on; or I can circle back around and, to quote Charles Spurgeon, “make a thorough search; for as in a king’s treasure that which is the most closely locked up and the hardest to come at is the choicest jewel of the treasure, so is it with the Holy Scriptures.”
Are there any hidden treasures in 1 Chronicles 25-27?
As I read and dug more carefully, I struck gold with the realization that every person listed had a unique name; their names were known and are still known. God’s people are not a faceless, nameless people. God knows us personally and individually. He calls us by name. We are his and he has engraved our names on the palms of his hands (Isa. 43:1, 49:16). Our names are recorded in heaven (Luke 10:20).
This listing of names in Chronicles is only a pale shadow of the real record of names in the Book of Life, yet it is encouraging to see these names of people, who lived thousands of years ago, so carefully preserved. How much better will a record be kept in heaven?
Behind each one of these names, the “small and great alike” (1 Chron. 26:13), there is a real person and a real story. As you read the 150 plus names in these three chapters, most are not familiar and their lives don’t seem particularly significant. Consider Adlai (1 Chron. 27:29). There is little noteworthy of his life’s story; he was not a king, or even a mighty man. His only claim to fame was that his son was in charge of the cattle for the king; yet Adlai’s name is recorded.
The knowledge that our lives do not have to be spectacular to be of value to our King is itself a precious jewel. We do not have to make a name for ourselves. What a relief from the relentless drum beat of our world.
In the perpetual race to accumulate everything from prestige to Facebook likes, I need to remember that I am not the hero of my life’s story. God is the hero of my story. My life’s story, from start to finish, is really his story, the story of his faithfulness in my life. God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, has entered the story of his people to profoundly change the course and ending of each of our stories. In him, we are ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven. He has claimed us as his own.
We are not our own. And we, like Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons, find our meaning in service to our King. These men were set apart to serve in the temple and to prophesy with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals (1 Chron. 25:1). Their life’s work lives on today in the psalms that they wrote under the inspiration of God’s Spirit.
How am I set apart to serve the King of Kings? How are you?
All our stories have the same hero, yet our stories, gifts, and callings are unique. There is no one-size-fits-all answer; yet, Asaph gives us a push in the right direction in Psalm 73:28: “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all [his] works”.