Do you ever wonder when you come to a chapter like this, one that provides a listing of people whose names we can’t pronounce, or a list of places many of which we are not sure where they would be today, why God chose to make this part of Scripture? “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17), so how is this particular chapter to be used to equip me for every good work?
First, chapters that provide details like this illustrate a critical point about God’s Word: It is not simply a book of myths, legends, or allegorical stories for us to emulate. It is a history book of God’s creation, His work in a particular group of people leading up to His incarnation in Christ, and ultimately, His sacrifice on our behalf. The reason we have the history of Israel in the Bible is because this is the line through which the Son of God came to save the world. The reason we have a list of kings who were defeated is because the history of the Israelites is the actual history of a real group of people, just as Jesus was real, His death was real, and His resurrection was real.
Chapters that provide such detail also enable us to celebrate the power of Almighty God over the powers of darkness, over the “rulers of this dark world,” and over the “prince of the power of the air.” It is popular in the world today to picture good and evil as a sort of yin and yang, a balance of equal and opposite forces. But that is not a biblical worldview. Evil has been defeated. When Christ suffered and died – and then rose victoriously over death, conquering hell itself – He ensured that evil could not prevail.
What we see today are the death-throes of our adversary, striking out in rage as he knows that his time is limited. He has no power over those who have followed Christ because our kingdom is not of this world, our blessings are not contingent on health, wealth, and long life on this earth. Our treasure is in heaven. We’ve set our hearts on things above where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, having declared, “IT IS FINISHED!”
What has God defeated in your life? Over what battles has Jesus said to you, “It is finished”?