Any one who has read the Old Testament of the Bible will be struck by the intermittent record of genealogies – the names of people in different generations belonging to different families or tribes. Such lists crop up from time to time in various places, and most certainly figure in the book of Genesis – the book of the Old Testament we are currently reviewing in a series of studies.
Chapter 10 of Genesis records one such record of names. The names of the immediate descendants of Noah are listed along with indications of their geographical location and language. The intention is evidently to identify the different people groups who re-populated the earth after the flood.
Why are such facts recorded in the Bible ? Of what use are they to us ? What does this mean ?
Starting with the notion of God our Maker as fact, and that the Bible is a collection of documents about his dealings with his people in ancient times, we must understand that God is saying something to us. That understanding should be framed by the fact that Jesus Christ claimed that the Old Testament made reference to him – the Son of God [Luke 24,44].
What then is the significance we should draw from the existence of lists of such names ?
God knows and cares about every individual human being ever given life on this earth.
God knows each one of us as individuals. Let’s note in passing Psalm 139 where king David speaks of God knowing him intimately even before he was born. God in reality forms each one of us in the womb – and that fact has phenomenal significance in the modern world which so often regards the unborn child as a mere “blob of jelly” – a simple collection of atoms …
But let us refer to Jesus and the New Testament. Jesus famously said that even the hairs of our head are numbered by God. God knows us in such intimate detail – he made us !
And we remark what Jesus did when he entered into his ministry. He spoke and taught to all who would listen. He went from place to place, and into homes and synagogues to speak. He taught generally – but he challenged people to follow him, individually. Note the calling of Simon Peter, James and John, for example.
The message of the kingdom of God is to be preached universally. But the response to that message must be made individually by each of us. And there are times in life when God comes close to a particular individual person and challenges them to follow him.
Is that you, now ?
The message of God’s love and forgiveness must be preached to all. But the response is personal and individual. Because God values and deals with each of us as individuals. He made each one of us. And each one of us must respond individually.
That response requires total surrender by each one of us, specfically, individually to God.
Remember this: Jesus Christ gave all for you !