With age-old love I have loved you;
so I have kept my mercy toward you.
– Jeremiah 31:3 (NABRE)
Most people get squeamish when you start talking about genealogies. Mostly because listening to someone else’ history is about as fascinating to most of us as reading the lines of generation in the Scriptures. Raise your hand if you found yourself skipping through those sections. I am guilty too.
Even when Matthew starts listing the lineage of Jesus in chapter one of the Gospel, it is hard to pay attention – and this is Jesus’ lineage!
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and. from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
Then there are the critics who charge that the Bible condemns genealogy, often citing 1 Timothy 1:4 or Titus 3:9, which rejects the use of genealogy to “prove” one’s righteousness, or the truth of one’s teachings.
Needless to say, when I received a gift subscription to Ancestry.com this Christmas, I was a bit conflicted on how to proceed. But thank the good Lord I did!
While genealogies may at first glance appear irrelevant, they hold an important place in Scripture. Genealogies bolster the historicity of Scripture, confirm prophecy, and provide insight into the character of God and the lives of His people. And they hold an important place in our personal lives too.
Biblical lineages aren’t just a who’s-who of the Bible, they are written to prove a point.
Through family stories, letters and traditions, and a little help from modern technology which can access worldwide marriage, birth and death records, I was able to track down a significant portion of my family’s heritage – even back to the 14th generation. Suddenly, the scriptures of Jesus’ lineage were coming alive to me in ways I never could have imagined. And they were proving to me an important truth about age-old love.
Like the lineage of Abraham to David, my ancestors ventured out from their homeland to settle in a promise land of their own. Away from the only life they ever knew, their traditions and faith in God became the lifeblood to their next generations. That takes resolve and perseverance and those virtues run deep.
Jesus’ kingship wasn’t just established by his divinity, he had an ancestral line that proved it.
Biblical lineages aren’t just a who’s-who of the Bible, they are written to prove a point: namely “inheritance” and to reveal certain treasures relevant to that inheritance, like blessings and powerful prayers.
A skim through the list of generations in 1 Chronicles reveals the Prayer of Jabez. And a look at the lineage from Abram to David reveals the blessings of each tribe of Israel, as well as the destiny of the coming Messiah. Jesus’ kingship wasn’t just established by his divinity, he had an ancestral line that proved it. If we are willing to look past the seemingly irrelevant, we might just find some gold in the Scriptures and in our own lineage!
While we can’t prove our own righteousness by proximity to our ancestral saints, we can stand on their righteousness as proof we have a right to our inheritance.
Not everyone can prove their ancestors were kings, presidents, or even men or women of historical significance, but each of us has a bloodline full of blessings and trials that were meant to prove our right to our inheritance. For instance, I may discover a long line of recurring disease, premature death or history of addictions but along with it were also multiple births, captains of the sea, land owners, and even canonized Saints! While we can’t prove our own righteousness by proximity to our ancestral saints, this is what the Bible warns against, we can, however, stand on their righteousness as proof we have a right to our inheritance. Like Jesus, our lineage can be muddled with many different types of personalities, some scandalous, some holy, but all are necessary and each one contributed in some way to the fulfillment of our own prophetic destiny, just as they did His.
Each soul that has come and gone before us has contributed to our inheritance. What we choose to take from them or leave behind is entirely up to us.
Now when I read Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, I don’t just see names that make my head blur, I see men and women of resolve and perseverance who stood then as you and I stand now, looking at the torch of their ancestors and ready to take it as far as they can run until the time comes to pass it on to the next generation.
Fourteen generations in my lineage is just over 1,000 people. In Jesus’ time, that number could have been at least double that if not 3xs that due to longer life spans and higher birth rates. And that’s just on my Mother’s side!
Now, I want you to sit back, close your eyes and imagine the lives of 1,000 people – these are your family, your distant cousins, uncles, aunts, great-great grandparents, 4 and 8xs removed! In His words to the Prophet Jeremiah, our Heavenly Father is telling us He has loved every one of them just as He has loved you.
This love is not just everlasting it is an age-old love. A love that has known and loved you in every age by loving them. A love that has never stopped from generation to generation, a love from old. A love that knew you from before you were conceived of in your mother’s womb. A love that has prepared a place for you from the beginning, even in the desert where it foresaw all your rebellion and the rebellion of all your ancestors. And, so, I have kept my mercy toward you. Because He loves you. Not just them, YOU!
All the world is truly part of only one family when you sort back down to it.
More than realizing just how much our generations are intertwined, all the world is truly part of only one family when you sort back down to it (Seriously, my husband and I discovered we are distant cousins – be ready to deal with what you discover! But that’s Sicilians for you, I like to think of it more as continuing in the tribal tradition – let that be something to ponder, just maybe the people in your life are there for a reason because they are truly part of your tribe, “like attracts unto like” – but I digress), those who are adopted into Christ’s lineage receive all His blessings, prophecies, and all He has inherited – all of it now belongs to us. And so now, all the world waits, in silent, eager, expectation to see what we will do with that torch of age-old love.
How will we run our race? What will we give to the generations to come?
Sometimes it is necessary to look back so we can know what is truly ours. Everything. Because it was always His, from the beginning of old.
The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
– Psalm 24:1 (KJV)
Run your race. Your time is NOW.