[Papercut Press] 2002-07-03 - Genealogies

Wednesday Question: "What is the relevance of all the genealogies in the Bible and how can we use that in our lives?"

Matthew 1:9 And to Uzziah was born Jotham; and to Jotham, Ahaz; and to Ahaz, Hezekiah.

I can hear the collective, "Oh Boy! Just what I have always wanted, a devotional on genealogies." If you give it a chance, you might be surprised what you find. The Israelites are clearly the most traced nation ever. They took great care to see that their records were preserved accurately. This began as early as Genesis 4:16-24, where we have recorded the generations of Cain. The next chapter records the generations of Seth. In fact, if you look closely, you will find that the genealogies are to some extent considered separate books of the Old Testament. "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God," Genesis 5:1.

In some respects, the Old Testament both begins and ends with a genealogy. The Fall of man happens in Genesis 3, and then we have our first genealogy in the next chapter. The Old Testament ends, and the first thing we have in the New Testament is a genealogy. It sure seems like these things were important.

When Israel came out of captivity with Babylon, they went to the ancestral records to make sure that the priesthood was pure. Some priests were removed. "These searched among their ancestral registration, but they could not be located; therefore they were considered unclean and excluded from the priesthood, Ezra 2:62. The genealogies had a preserving effect upon the purity of the nation.

Genealogies give, therefore, credibility to the entire narrative portion of the Old Testament. I used to work with a guy who loved to preach on the Old Testament, but he would always have to say, "These are such neat stories aren't they? Don't you all wish they were true?" I always did the pastoral prayer, so I would get up after his sermon and thank God that these stories were true and historical and therefore we could trust them. We did this for two years, back and forth. But the point is that genealogies give a lot of credibility to the historical sections of the Bible, because the Jews were so careful to get the details right.

Genealogies sure seem dry at first. Then, after you have put in a few hours examining them, genealogies will probably seem even drier. In order to find the real gems that genealogies contain, almost every one of us, probably every one of us, simply would not be willing to put in the time. However, there are some superficial things that we can glean from them off the top, and one certainly is the care that the Israelites took in preserving their tradition and history. This gives great substantiation to the historical sections of the Old Testament.

This is how I would suggest you apply genealogies to your lives. Remember that God does protect His Holy Word, and His Truth. We should consider Him no less able to do so in the time of the gathering of the New Testament than He was during the organization of the Old Testament. God is amply able to establish, protect and preserve His Word. (2 Peter 1:20, 21 & 2 Timothy 3:16, 17). The care the Israelites took in the genealogies is just an example of God working through them to preserve His truth, in leading to the coming Messiah.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com