I have a confession to make but I’m comfortable doing so because I know I’m not alone. Here it is:
The seemingly endless genealogies of the Bible leave my brain numb!
They not only bore me, they confuse me. Why are they there? What purpose do they serve? Why should a list of names, few of which any of us can properly pronounce, matter in our journey with God?
I’ve been reading 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb Jr. which is written as a two-way fictional dialogue between the author and God as they discuss what it is that we are supposed to glean from each book of the Bible.
In their discussion of 1 Chronicles the author asks some of these same questions about the relevance of genealogies. Writing as if it were God giving the response the author pens this:
“And one more thing – a word about the genealogies that you found so dull. The restored community [the displaced Israelites that had been brought back to their homeland] found them invigorating. I traced their ancestry back to the beginning of My plan, starting with Adam, down through Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all the way down to the names of the remnant that I preserved and who were now gathered in Jerusalem. And that remnant included all the people necessary to worship Me in the temple as I had directed. They knew they were part of the plan.” (p 62)
Did you catch that last sentence? That sort of makes sense to me. The genealogies helped those being written to know that they were still part of God’s plan even though life took some turns that they hadn’t expected. It reassured them that God was still very much in charge and busy working out His kingdom agenda. And don’t we all need to be reminded of that from time to time?!
But it’s different for us. God used the Israelites to prepare for Jesus’ life and ministry here on earth, but God’s grace is available to all people now. So if genealogies don’t determine our involvement in God’s kingdom agenda what does?
Our rebirth by the Holy Spirit as He takes up residence in us! Our assurance of participating in God’s kingdom agenda, and eventual reward of eternity with Him, does not come from our nationality, our family of origin, the particular church we belong to or getting all the doctrinal issue correct. It comes with our adoption into God’s family through the work of the Holy Spirit.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received… brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. ~ Romans 8:14-16
No matter what this day or this week brings, we can rest assured that the Holy Spirit will “testify” with our spirit that we are God’s children and still a part of His unfolding plan!