1 Chronicles 8:1 – Now Benjamin begat Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second, and Aharah the third. (KJV)
John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (KJV)
Upon agreeing to participate in a continuous live reading of the Bible during the week leading up to Palm Sunday, I was given a chapter from Luke.
There were still two readings unspoken for, so I offered, unaware of what they might be. "It's Chronicles!" said one. "You do know what Chronicles is, don't you — all the 'begats'!"
Actually, I hadn't known beforehand, and my lot was Chapters 8 and 9, 84 verses in all, of name after name after name. But I had accepted it, so I went home to practice. The more I read, the more tongue-tied I became, so I left it, and asked that He get me through it.
My day of reading came, and for someone who'd never spoken into a microphone before and with all the names ahead of me, I was surprisingly calm. Calm, that is, until a Jewish woman read chapter 7. Her voice was so soft and beautiful, her pronunciation so perfect. "Dear God," I thought, "I'll never be able to do those names justice." A friend offered to take half my reading, saying she would read it in her mother tongue, Dutch, equally as beautiful. Having my task halved helped me so much, and my remaining 44 verses went rather well.
We all agreed that Chronicles had never been such a pleasure to hear as it had been that day. To hear the names read with proper pronunciation, and in another tongue, was truly a gift to us all. The grace of God and the gift of someone sharing my load had got me through my reading, and led me to sign up for more, later in the week. Among the latter passages was John 14, which in part says: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you."
I believe He did.
Prayer: O gracious God, let us ever be mindful of the peace you place within us when we are troubled or afraid. In your name we pray. Amen.