Are you into genealogies? No? Didn’t think so. Many Christians struggle to see what’s interesting or relevant about the genealogies in the Bible. However, as there are numerous of them, not only were the Israelites very interested in them, but as God has chosen to put them in his Holy word, he must think you and I should be too! So … here’s some things you can get from these genealogies —
- Firstly, as they record the names of real people who lived at real times, they should give you confidence that the Bible is real history and thus, is reliable, trustworthy and true: it is the inerrant (without error) written word of God.
- Secondly, genealogies record names of many people who sinned greatly (amongst the names of godly people) – e.g. King David, and his actions to Uriah and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11; cf. Matthew 1:6). Thus, they help you to avoid ‘white-washing’ out the ‘bad and the ugly’ from ‘the good’, in the history of God’s people. God wants us to be honest about ourselves and the Church: we are not perfect. So, we should be humble.
- Thirdly, and flowing from Two, membership of God’s people ultimately relies upon God’s grace. David was chosen to be king by God’s undeserved favour. Jesus is the “Lion from the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5) … but originally Judah was a very unimpressive man (Genesis 37-38). If your name is written “in the Lamb’s book of Life” (Rev. 21:27) i.e. you are a Christian, then you should be humble because you don’t and never will earn God’s favour.
- Fourthly, and partially flowing from Three, is that genealogies show how God redeems human mess. Judah was ‘redeemed’ (Gen. 44), Israel was rescued from Exile (Mt. 1:11ff), and the reputation of a virgin from a backwater town in a troublesome Province of the Roman Empire was vindicated when initially it appears she’s adulterous (Mt. 1:16).
- Fifthly, the genealogies lead up to a christ (leader of God’s people; Ruth 4:22), then lead to the ultimate Christ (Mt. 1:16), for no matter how impressive certain people were, Jesus outshines them all. Genealogies climax at Christ.
- Sixthly, Biblical genealogies include numerous Gentiles, who are graciously included in God’s people e.g. Ruth, Rahab, Tamar and thus — are exciting for us!
So … even if you sometimes get lost in ‘X begat Y begat Z …’ language, Biblical
genealogies are good news for a whole host of reasons!