Have you ever wondered why entire pages of your Bible are dedicated to listing prior generations of a prominent biblical person? In fact, there are important sections of genealogy listed in 14 books of the Bible, most notably and the largest being 1 Chronicles 1-9. These sections of biblical text are frequently skipped over in the everyday reading of the Scripture, but what value can we gain from their existence?
The genealogies of the Bible provide important records of historical succession, continuity, and legitimacy, but these genealogies of the Bible also provide unique insights for our families.
Diversity and Impact
When we look at the genealogy of Jesus in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, it is not a list of pure royalty or perfect character. The prostitute Rahab is mentioned as a direct ancestor, as well as many other non-Jewish individuals, like Ruth. Kings and rulers ridden with evil pasts like Uzziah and Manasseh are a part of His genealogy.
The genealogies were important to the ancient Israelites as they were a record of how their family lineages served God and continued to carry the mission of their forefathers in being laborers for the Lord, in moving God’s people, and overcoming trials to prepare the way for their future generations.
Through family lineage, God exemplifies how He uses everyone to fulfill His purpose. The impact on society and shaping of future prominent individuals is the reason we see the names of controversial people, both with a positive and negative track record, mentioned in every list. The same can apply to our own families. Each story and each generation points back to how God can work through us.
Importance of Family
The mere existence of so many lists of families with ties to high priests, frequent traces to David, Abraham, and Noah, and network of relationships outlined in the Bible are a testament to the importance of family. These lineages demonstrate the detailed nature of God and His interest in the people of His creation. God does not view His Kingdom as some vague group of people. He knows each by name, with specificity and precision for their purpose. God’s blessings to the families of the Bible are not as clear without the genealogies in the Bible.
“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Prophecy, Promise, and the Importance of the Next Generation
Every name in a genealogy shows a generation where God’s plan and purpose are put forth in the world. Since Adam and Eve, every single generation is a representation of God’s grace at work in the lives of His people.
In Genesis 12:1-3, God promises to bring blessing to all of humanity. By linking Jesus’ lineage back to Abraham, Matthew 1:1-17 brings our attention back to the promise of God’s rescue plan for the world. We learn that many other prophecies of the Bible are fulfilled because of knowledge given to us through the lists of ancestors. Some of the prophecies are the legacies of major prophets.
Genealogies show that even though there were broken and tested generations, legacies prevailed. The events of sons and daughters of old were recorded, and the family lineage carried on and created greater things with the next.
Your ancestry may not be fully known, but know that through your legacy, you can create a meaningful future for your generations of values, traditions, and wealth through your sacrifice and attention to family. The next time you come across the genealogy sections in the Bible, you can appreciate the importance of family, accomplishments, impact, and perseverance through trial that your lineage may also experience. How will your legacy shape the future of your family?
Patriarchs and matriarchs rise and pass, children will mature and retire, and lives will be cut short. One thing prevails, the work of the Lord and the devotion of His people to His Kingdom. How will your family’s confidence in God’s purpose carry on in the generations of next?
“And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved…”