1 Chronicles 1:1–2:17; Acts 23:11-35; Psalm 3:1-8; Proverbs 18:14-15
What’s in a Name?
Abram; the same is Abraham. The sons of Abraham; Isaac, and Ishmael. These are their generations: The firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth; then Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, 30 Mishma, and Dumah, Massa, Hadad, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael. Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan; Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Henoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these are the sons of Keturah. And Abraham begat Isaac. The sons of Isaac; Esau and Israel. – 2 Chronicles 1:27-34
In today’s reading, we started 1 Chronicles. No one knows who wrote the books of Chronicles, but some believe the scribe and priest Ezra wrote at least some of it. First and 2 Chronicles tells much of the same history as the books of Samuel and Kings, but Chronicles looks at the history through the priests’ eyes.
We ended Kings yesterday with the conquest of Judah and the exile to Babylon, which ended the time of the Promised Land. Chronicles were written from this exile. Exile was a tool used to build empires, and it forced the mixing of people groups. Personal histories were forgotten over time. The Chronicles were written to remind the children of Israel who they were, where they came from, and who God is.
The first nine chapters are genealogy. When we read these lists of hard to pronounce names, we might wonder what the purpose is of including them. But once we understand why the names are there, it will make a difference in the posture of our heart as we read them.
When families were taken into exile, those families were split apart; community groups and relationships were destroyed; and parents, siblings, and even spouses would never see each other again as they were carried away to unknown lands. These names—these genealogies—were written so the people could remember where they came from and who they were. Each name represents a person that lived and went through great sorrow, grief, and much loss.
On September 11, 2006, at the fifth anniversary of what our country knows as 9/11, there was a reading of the names of every single person killed in the events of that tragic day. Someone read each name, paused, and then moved to the next name.
It was during that reading that the conviction of God fell on me, and I cried out to Him – repenting of my sins and confessing Jesus as my Lord and Savior. What was it about those names? For me, I listened and remembered these people. I didn’t know them, but I did know that not one of those listed deserved to die on that day the way they did. It caused me to look at my own life, and to be honest, I wanted to die that day, but I knew that I deserved to die, for my heart was full of sin and anger and bitterness. But I also knew that if I did, I would split hell wide open and live eternity there. What do you do when you are at the end but there is nothing? You go back to what you know to be true. Even if you have denied truth and walked away from truth.
So I did. I cried out to God, and He heard me “out of His holy hill,” and He reached down and His glory filled the room I was in. LITERALLY!!!! In that room that day He saved me, delivered me, and filled me with His Holy Ghost. My life has never been the same.
What brought me to my knees was the reality of the life and death behind each name that was remembered. I have never looked at a genealogy the same. Since the Bible says our names are written in a book – we are a part of a great genealogy too. When you hear my name read someday – remember this testimony. When I hear yours, I will remember you and all you have shared with me about your own life in Jesus Christ.
What is in a name? For some of us, everything. Please don’t skip the reading of the genealogies.
For the LORD Sustained Me
LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. – Psalms 3:1-5
Bound Under a Curse
And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. – Acts 23:11-13
Heart of the Prudent, Ear of the Wise
The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge. – Proverbs 18:15
Prudent – marked by wisdom or judicious in practical affairs; discreet; sober; careful in providing for the future.
Oh Lord, please help me to be one marked by wisdom and a seeker of knowledge all the days of my life.