The Chronicler, whom I believe was Jeremiah, begins his account with Adam.  He then gives us the genealogies of Genesis up to Abraham. Abraham’s line is traced to Israel’s David and the kings of Judah ending with Israel as God’s chosen people. It’s all about the connection of his present with the past. The Israelites are God’s people. Someone once said, “How odd of God to choose the Jews!” But the Chronicler corrects that and says, “how good of God to choose the Jews.” Through the Jews came the Messiah. Once they rejected him, a new genealogy began. It’s this one that matters most. Those who accept the Jew’s Messiah, Jesus, are adopted as God’s chosen people. That’s us! The true believers in Jesus can now trace their genealogies back to Noah and then back to Adam. It’s good to feel connected to the entire deposit of world history. We know this because Paul teaches us that we’ve been grafted into the genealogy. He says our lineage goes back to Abraham according to Galatians. By faith, we are God’s chosen. How arrogant!

The Church has often been criticized for its stance on its position as God’s chosen people. It’s arrogant! It’s presumptuous. It’s blatant self-centeredness. In western civilization, it’s currently not politically correct to identify so, particularly to the God of the Bible. They say that to love our neighbor as ourselves means, respecting his or her religion as an alternative way of reaching the one God, whatever name we give Him. The popular thought is that all religions lead to God, like all the different paths that lead to the top of the mountain. They are all going to the same place.  But if we understand the second greatest commandment of loving our neighbors in this way what becomes of the first commandment? Does loving our neighbor mean we have to forfeit the exclusive claims of Jesus? How can we fulfill the first and foremost commandment of loving God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength? As Allen asks in his commentary, “how can we love and empathize with the God in whose Word Jesus is identified as exclusively ‘the way, the truth, and the life.'”(John 14:6)? Jesus added, “No one can come to the father but through me.” Do we put the love of our disagreeing neighbors above the love for God? I don’t think so.

Like the book of Kings, the Chronicler will give us the history of how Israel and Judah failed as a people and as a nation because they tried to reverse the order of Jesus’ first two commandments. Loving our neighbor does not mean accepting their gods. It does mean that we should pray for them and live at peace with them. Paul told his young disciple Timothy, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them.  Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)