GENEALOGIES are the RECORDS of GOD’s GRACE upon HUMANITY
April 22 Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles Chapters 1-3
"These are their genealogies ... these were the sons of Israel..." (1 Chron. 1:29; 2:1)
The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles tell the history of Israel from the standpoint of the Jews returning from the Babylonian exile. These books helped them do that by listing their ancestors and giving an account of their nation, Judah, from the time of David until the decree of Cyrus allowing their return. In one sense, the history covered in Chronicles could be said to extend from the beginning of the world to the end of the Babylonian exile, as this is the period for the genealogy (1 Chr. 1–9).
Beginning with Adam and tracing his genealogy through Abraham, the purpose of these books is to show the place of Israel in history, and it reminds us that God takes our heritage seriously as well.
Ancient scholarly tradition believes that the author of the two books was Ezra the scribe (see Ezra 7:1), and since these books were written from a priestly perspective, and the main emphasis centers on the temple in Jerusalem, the Levitical priesthood, and the theocratic lineage of David. The first book has two main sections, and the first section contains nine chapters of genealogies, which is often passed over as unimportant. However, genealogies were very important to the Jews in seeking to maintain their tribal distinctions, their need for racial and religious purity, and to tell the story of God’s work and purposes from generation to generation. In particular, even though the genealogies start with a general view of humankind, but then it narrows to include only those directly associated with the redemptive purpose of God. The genealogical lists begin by demonstrating the place of the line of David, from whom the Messiah would come, among the families of humankind (1:1–3:24).
When we look at these genealogies from another angle, they represent the records of God’s grace upon the people of Israel (in particular) and upon humanity (in general). As the Israelites look back to their past through these genealogies, they can truly praise God for His grace upon them. Through Abraham, God had chosen them as His people, brought them out of their slavery in Egypt, given them the Promised Land, and enabled them to establish the kingdom of Israel. Throughout history, God has remained faithful to all the promises that He had made to Abraham, and to all the other great patriarchs of Israel. Since Israel’s past had displayed both God’s faithfulness and grace, it has given a basis for trusting God to fulfill His Word among their descendants as well.
The best display of God’s grace upon humanity, however, was when He allowed His Son Jesus Christ to die for the sins of all the people. As Apostle Paul writes to the church of Ephesus, we are saved through faith by God’s grace that has been poured as a gift for us: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). Every believer in Christ today is indebted to God’s grace for superintending the circumstances that brought the gospel to him (or, her).
Let us be aware that God is currently keeping another exhaustive genealogy in heaven called 'the Lamb's Book of Life' (Rev. 21:27). God is keeping records on every individual who has ever lived on this earth, and by these records - based on the light of revelation they have received - they will all be justly judged by God one day. Only if you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and live a life to please Him alone will your name be found in 'the Lamb's Book of Life'. Don’t let another day pass you by without your name being recorded in God’s genealogical book, as this will be the final record of God’s grace upon humanity!