• Rev. Mark Tews

What Am I To Do?

If you are like me, you probably have asked yourself the question, “What am I to do?” many times over the span of your life. Usually that question comes to mind when you find yourself in a situation where you are in over your head and don’t know which way to turn or where to go.

Especially over the past twenty-one months or so of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, that question has popped up several times for me. And it’s a recurring question in my life as a Pastor. For example, what am I to do to get all of our church folks back together again? I miss not having the whole church family on Sunday morning. Some are in the church building, some are in their living rooms waiting for the message to be posted, and others are just absent. Wouldn’t it be great to have everybody back together again? But what am I to do to get us there?

What are we to do to keep unity in our community when we all have such varying viewpoints about the pandemic and politics? What am I do to as a community leader to help keep people from clashing over such differing opinions? Honestly, sometimes these situations put me in over my head. Seminary never taught me what to do when faced with a pandemic. The governing entities of various church denominations have not given much guidance because they are also trying to figure out what they need to do. There is little help from fellow pastors or community leaders because we are all in the same boat.

So, what do we do when we don’t know what to do? WE TURN TO THE WORD OF GOD! I want to encourage you to open up your Bibles. Look for a time when a person, or a group of people, didn’t know what to do and were in over their heads. Then look for what they did to achieve a favorable outcome. You will find that they relied on God and His Word. I don’t mind replicating something that someone else in the Bible did and then applying it to my life. If it worked for them and brought them a favorable outcome, then I know it will do the same thing in my life as well. Such encouragement is one of the reasons the Lord our God has so graciously given us His Holy Word.

I have found that a good place to look is the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles. To pique your interest in exploring these two books of the Bible, the overarching theme of the books is: “Be strong and courageous; Do not be afraid or discouraged.”

I offer the following brief summaries of them: 1 Chronicles, chapters 1–9 are the genealogical tables from Adam to the time of Ezra. Chapters 10–29 are the dual history of King Saul and King David in connection with the books of Samuel. Then 2 Chronicles, chapters 1–9 are the reign of King Solomon in connection with the book of 1 Kings. Chapters 10–36 are the history of various kings in the kingdom of Judah from the division of the kingdom to the exile in Babylon in connection with the book of 2 Kings.

The English translation of the Bible places the books of Chronicles after Kings, but in the Hebrew text they are placed at the very end of the Old Testament. Both books of Chronicles were originally only one book, as was the case of Samuel and Kings. The Hebrew title for the books of Chronicles is translated as the "Words of the Days," yet the word “Chronicles” was adopted by a theologian named Jerome who thought that these books ought to bear the title from the Greek word for “time,” which is "Chronos."

This title creates a bit of a distraction from the true meaning and purpose of these wonderful books. The main purpose of the books of Chronicles was to form a genealogical description of the twelve tribes of Israel from the earliest recorded time. This was very important considering that there was a mixed multitude that had returned from exile in Babylon. It was also important to determine the lineage of Judah and to reestablish the functions and order in which each individual tribe was required to perform.

The author of Chronicles had a fervent desire to make the people of Israel aware of the true glory of their kingdom and to realize that it traced back to King David and King Solomon. There was nothing that would give the Israelites a greater understanding of this than to take them through a detailed history of their kingdom, with all of its glory and prosperity as well as the horrible sin that led to their captivity and downfall. The author of Chronicles had a constant focus on the kingdom of Judah, the Temple that had been destroyed, and the dynasty of King David. There is hardly any mention of the northern kingdom of Israel. King Solomon was not necessarily a huge focus either, other than his preparations for building the Temple. The functions of the Levites as well as the worship rituals at the Temple were paramount to the Israelites’ return to God’s glory. The kings of Judah were stressed with great importance along with the idolatry that had seduced the people of God away from Him.

Hebrew tradition credits Ezra as the author of the books of Chronicles. In the beginning of the books, he traced the genealogical records all the way back to Adam, which took place sometime around 4000 BC. The book concludes with the Jews in exile in Babylon, essentially leaving all who ask, “What am I to do?” with the answer to turn to the Lord in prayer. Seek His Will and guidance in His Word and be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or discouraged.