It has been said that the Book of Leviticus has been the graveyard of many adventurers who had begun the journey to read through the Bible. The Levitical rituals have slain many Bible pilgrims on the way to the Promised Land. Today’s reading covers another section which can bog down the serious adventurer through the Bible. The first 9 chapters of 1Chronicles are all genealogies. But wait a minute!
A superficial reading of these chapters will prove to be boring. But a deeper study of these chapters can lead to a wealth of insight. For example, genealogies are plentiful throughout the Bible. Why? For one, it testifies to the historical nature of the Judeo-Christian faith. The Church holds the conviction that the stories of the Bible are not mere legends, but we believe that they are actual events in which God has revealed Himself and His salvation purposes for the earth. For example, the Tower of Babel incident recounted in Genesis 11 is not just a fable meant to teach spiritual truth. It actually happened and the genealogy in 1Chronicles helps confirm that. In verse 19 we read of one of the descendants of Noah’s son Shem. This descendant’s name was Peleg, which means ‘division’. An explanation is given in verse 19 of why he was named Peleg: “because in his time the earth was divided”. This genealogical remark helps confirm the historical nature of the Tower of Babel story.
Genealogies are important to the Jewish people. God had made promises to Abraham and his descendants that they would be a blessing to the whole world (Gen. 12:1-3). These promises eventually crystallized into an expectation of a messianic figure to appear who would be a descendant of Abraham and a part of David’s royal line. He would be the One coming who would fulfill God’s promises of salvation for His people (Mathew 1:21). He would not only be the Savior of believing Jews but also of believing Gentiles (Luke 2:10,11). So it was important to trace the genealogies of Abraham’s descendants and David’s family. This is why when Jesus Christ is born, we have his genealogy given both in Mathew 1 and Luke 3.
The God of the Bible actually intervenes in the time and space of this world. For example, He is known through the historical events of the Exodus and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He makes promises to us that have a direct bearing on our life as we live in this world. Jesus has promised He will come back a second time (Jo.14:1-3) and we are given the assurance that we will be raised in a glorified body to see Him face-to-face (1Jo. 1:1-3). These promised events will actually happen and we can stake our life and eternity on them.
The genealogies we read about in 1Chronicles 1-9 confirm the historicity of the people mentioned in them. They give us confidence that the stories of the people we’ve been reading about the last month have actually happened. And all the promises that God has made to us can be confidently expected to be actually fulfilled in the future. This is the Good News of Jesus Christ, Pastor John.