Posted by: pollyw | June 7, 2010

Why read “the begats”?

History…not usually one of my favorite subjects unless it is presented in just the right way.  I can really pay attention when someone tells it to me like an exciting story, and shows me how it can apply to my life.  A little self-centered, I know, but I’m just being truthful.  If someone is talking about geneology, I really need the stories to go along with the flood of names that will be thrown at me.  I want to know the people, along with their names.

The Bible has a geneology section that I am reading right now (1 Chronicles).  On first glance, you might wonder why the Lord would spend so much time giving us name after name of people we do not know.  I mean, we’re looking for things to apply to our lives here, how can a list of names give us that?  We’re looking for riveting stories to pass along to our little ones and teach them values, how does this list help us do that?

Well, I’ve been doing a little reading on the subject, and it turns out there are lots of things we can gain from “the begat” sections of the Bible.  My study Bible points out that for the Jewish people, this record helped give them a sense of identity, heritage, and destiny.  This was written after they were taken captive, and they really needed to have a sense of their identity as God’s chosen people. 

This record doesn’t start with Great Uncle Harry, no, it goes all the way back to Adam.  Adam, as in first man created, now that’s a family tree!

I love this quote from my Bible’s intro:

By listing the names of people in Israel’s past, God established Israel’s true heritage.  They were all one family in Adam, one nation in Abraham, one priesthood under Levi…

They go on to say that this record shows that God protects them in every generation and provides leaders to guide them and because He has been at work through the centuries, they can still trust Him to work in the present.

So, back to the original question, what does this have to do with us, here and now?  Well, for a believer, this is our spiritual heritage.  This isn’t a list of the top five most righteous people in the history of Israel.  It’s a weaving of the good, the bad, and the ugly, so to speak.  Everyone on that list was imperfect, and yet they all tell a part of the story. 

We, as believers, are part of a bigger story.  God is weaving our lives into the story on a daily basis.  Our mistakes, our victories, He can use it all. 

For me, personally, I want to be woven in as someone, who although not perfect, sought Him.  I would want my “begat” line to say something about how I had a heart for God, and relied on Him.  That when I fell, I let Him pick me up.  That I went back and tried to make past mistakes better by giving them to Him. 

As a tiny little string in this centuries old weaving, we can know that He considers us an integral part in the making of it.  Each piece of the weaving is important to Him.  He wants each life here on Earth to be part of the story.  He doesn’t want anyone left out. 

You may see yourself as just a tiny little part of this world with limited influence, but guess what?  You are important to the Creator of the Universe.  He created you for a purpose, He knows what you can do and is ready to help you get there if you will just give your life to Him.  He knows the plans He has for you and they are better than you could ever imagine!!  (He promises that in the Bible)

There are so many other things that can be said about this list of names and how it applies to our lives.  Give it a try. Go back and read it, prayerfully, asking the Lord to show you what He wants you to learn from it.  You might even recognize some old friends and you’ll even get to meet their mom and dad and grandpa.  (Kind of like being invited for Sunday dinner at their house.)

When you get a chance, leave a comment and let me know what He showed you, I would love to hear about it!

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Responses

  1. I love the genealogy in Matthew chapter 1. You can really see how all those names etc suddenly become so important in God’s plans and purposes, when they are the ancestors of Jesus. I also love how there are women included in there and they are (shock horror) Gentiles (Ruth and Rahab), incestuous (Tamar), adulterers (Uriah’s wife) and lowly teenaged virgins (Mary). God uses all our imperfections!

  2. Good point, Julie, I like that, too!


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