Why do we care about the genealogies in the Bible? Why are they there? Are we that interested in Jewish history that we need to know about strings of (relatively) unimportant people? I mean, looking through Genesis 5, I think I can safely say that most of these fathers and sons don't matter to us today.
Except for the fact
that they're in the Bible, and they're in the Bible to provide credence
to the people and stories we do care about. Take Noah, for instance.
This chapter ends with his birth and the birth of his children. The next
chapter begins with some pretty amazing, legendary events that Noah and
his children were a part of.
But even though those events were legendary, Genesis 5 helps us to know that those events are not mere legend.
would be easy to write off the account of "Noah's Flood" as exaggerated
or mere metaphor if it were not for the historicity of Genesis 5. We
know who Noah's father was, and his father, and his father... We know
how old these men were when these certain children were born and what
age they died.
The Bible would not painstakingly tell
us these details if it intended to simply tell us a made up story in the
next few chapters. If it intended to tell us mere legends, it might
skip the genealogy altogether and simply say something to the effect
of, "A long time ago, in a land far, far away, there lived a man named
Noah..." No context, no details.
But the Bible doesn't
do that. Instead, it gives us the history of Genesis 5 to help us
understand that Genesis 6 is also history.
So what does this mean to us today?
means that we have a God who acts in the history - past, present, and
future - of this actual world. It means that we have a God who is not
aloof or the stuff of mere legend. It means that we have a God who can
act in such a way as to change your present circumstances.
about that for a moment. The God who caused each of those names in
Genesis 5 to be remembered, the God who punished sin and saved Noah in
Genesis 6, is the same God who continues to act in the real events of
our world, and in the circumstances of your own life.
God is real, and He acts in real ways. Genesis 5 (in painful detail) tells me so.