Some thoughts from today’s Scripture reading in 1 Chronicles 1-9…
These first chapters are genealogies recording some important names and histories of God’s people. The author starts with Adam and brings the reader to post-exile times.
It is interesting to note how some tribes and individuals are given much space in this section (David gets two chapters, Levi’s tribe one whole chapter), but other tribes and individuals much less space: Naphtali only gets one verse (1 Ch 7:13)! Yet all of the tribes were important and valued by God and part of what God was doing.
Surely, it would have been tempting to feel jealous of larger tribes or tribes that seemed to play a more prominent role in God’s plan of redemption back in OT times. And it is tempting in the church today to feel jealous over others with different gifts and positions. Paul addresses this in 1 Cor 12:12-31: the church is like a body made up of different parts and all are important and play different roles; it is absurd for one part to look down on another (1 Cor 12:14-20).
This is good to remember in our church and as local congregations. The church is made up individuals with different giftings and talents and they all work together to build up the body and bring glory to God—so we are foolish to envy others or be self-righteous toward other believers. The universal church is the same, in that it is one body (Christ is the head) that is composed of congregations around the world and throughout church history. Some congregations will be larger and others smaller, some well known and others unheard of. Thus, it is foolish to be jealous of other churches or look down on other churches. We may be like Naphtali, but God loves Naphtali and has a purpose and calling on these churches and individuals as well.