I’ve been teaching Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute for ten years now, so I have it on good authority that the long genealogies are everyone’s favorite part of Scripture. How can you not love the long lists of names that no one can pronounce? I’m kidding, of course. Most folks may be tempted to skip over the genealogies—and that usually includes me! But “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). So why are these long lists of names included in the Bible?
First, genealogies cover a lot of ground in a short time. For example, Jesus’ genealogy in Luke 3 brings readers all the way from creation to the birth of the Messiah. Second, genealogies prove a person’s heritage. That was especially important for the priests and Levites, who had to be from a certain family in order to minister at the Temple, for the returning exiles, and of course for Jesus, because the promised Messiah would be a son of David (Jer. 23:5; 2 Sam. 7:12–16; Isa. 11:1). We know He is a descendant of David because of His genealogy!
Finally, genealogies record God’s faithfulness through the generations. My oldest son’s middle name is Zechariah, which means “the Lord remembers.” My wife and I named him Zechariah because the Lord remembered us (his parents) repeatedly throughout our lives. We wanted to remind our son that God would be faithful to him. So, as we read through the lists of names in Scripture, let us ponder God’s faithfulness to these saints who have gone before us, and let us trust Him to care for us as well.
>> How has God been faithful to your family? Take some time to share stories with your family of God’s faithfulness and make it a priority to tell of His goodness to your children.
In the words of Isaiah, Your prophet, we pray, “Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago” (Isa. 25:1).