Monday, December 1, 2014

Devotion on Genesis 5 - Begat, Begat, Begat

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.

It 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?

It 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.

Think 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.

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