READ: 1 Chronicles 1-3
THINK: You want to shoot me right now for having you read that, don’t you? Or you just want to bang your head against a wall for a while. But don’t worry – there are only 6 more chapters like this in the entire…beginning of Chronicles. And it could have been more, but not every generation gets mentioned. The book heats up in Chapter 10 though. 🙂 So here’s the question: WHY!? Why all of the lists upon lists of names? Why such an extensive genealogy?
The answer is simple: identity. This book was written to the people of Israel at a time when they were returning from a long period of exile. They’d been conquered, captured, and spread out all over the Babylonian empire because of their sin and their disobedience to God. They were discouraged and beaten down, and their time in exile had caused many to either forget or doubt who they were – God’s chosen nation whom he wanted to bless and through whom he wanted to bless the world. So this book is written as an encouragement. The stories are carefully chosen to help remind the people of just who they are and who they have been created to be.
This genealogy reminds them of who God is. And it does not shy away from reminding them that he is holy – reminding them of how they got to the place where they are, both good and bad. Some of their ancestors served and worshipped God. Many sinned and displeased him, and this led to the exile. But ultimately these chapters are all about identity. Who is God? And who are we created to be in light of that? It traces all the way back to Adam as a reminder that God’s plan for his people dated all the way back to creation.
As you read these chapters, let them serve as a reminder to you of who you are. You are created by God – made in his image – and called to be a blessing to the world around you. And if you have put your faith in Jesus then you are standing on the shoulders of giants. You owe a deep debt of gratitude to those who came before you and who modeled God in your life and taught you about him. You have been preceded in life and in faith by “a great cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1). Be thankful for that!
PRAY: Thank God for who he is and for the incredible gift of a new identity that he has given you in Christ. And thank him for those who have gone before you who have shaped your faith.