Today and tomorrow we are reading the portions of scripture we all like to avoid: historical genealogies. We wonder why God includes these long lists of names we can’t pronounce. It’s hard to see any spiritual significance to take for ourselves but we must remember that the Old Testament is essentially the history of the nation of Israel. They are the nation through which the Messiah came, and it is their story.
Genealogies are interesting to us, but they are significant and important to the Jewish people. It tells them of their heritage and their role in the kingdom. Reading these lists is interesting as we reflect back on the stories of the people on the list. One such story came to mind as I read about Noah’s sons and their descendants. If you recall, Ham defiled his father by seeing his nakedness while he lay drunk in his tent (Genesis 9). Shem and Japheth honored their father by covering him and restoring his dignity. When Noah woke up and realized what had happened, he cursed Ham’s son, Canaan, and blessed Shem and Japheth, saying Canaan’s descendants would serve theirs. The genealogies tell us that Abraham, the father of Israel, came from Shem’s line. Who were Canaan’s/Ham’s descendants? The Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, etc….those same nations that Israel destroyed when they entered the Promised Land, the land of Canaan!
I’m amazed at the detailed records that are preserved. All of these names would have been written down by hand and carefully passed down to each generation. What a responsibility!
If men can keep such good records, how much more does our God keep records? I can’t help but think about other books that are being kept, books which will tell the outcome of our eternity, books which God Himself is keeping.
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
I’m sure we’ll talk about these books later when we read the book of Revelation, but for now, it’s good to be reminded that God keeps a record. Is your name written in the Book of Life? If you have responded to His invitation of salvation through Jesus Christ alone, then you have heaven to look forward to. But if it is not, know that God is keeping a record of everything you say and do while you live on earth. One day those books will be opened, and your eternity will depend on what’s written there.