20 March 2015

Beauty in Order: Appreciating the Genealogies

I'll admit it.  My eyes glazed over.

Nonetheless determined to get through the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles dedicated to genealogies, I prayed, asking God to help me understand why He thought it was so important to put in these long and tedious chapters.

Now, truth be told, I was recently more than fascinated to meet some distant cousins of mine and behold her amazing family tree.  It was a couple of rooms long, and a few feet tall, and there my branch was, all green and prolific and full of stories that came to my mind as I read over the names I recognized.

The difference between that genealogy and the biblical ones?  

Well, to put it bluntly, I'm in the one my relative showed me.  So are the people whose stories I've lived alongside and grew up hearing.

But with the biblical ones?

I suppose the Bible would be a much longer book if all the interesting stories that could be told about these lists and lists of people were actually included in the Bible.  As it stands, without the stories, the biblical genealogies fail to come to life for me, until I come across a long-lost familiar name, like David, or Joseph.

Which leaves me with a dilemma, because I believe what Paul said to Timothy about ALL Scripture being given by God and being useful for a whole list of really good things (see 2 Timothy 3:16).  

That means that if I think a part of the Bible is boring, it's my fault, not the Bible's fault, and I therefore need to grapple with it and ask for the gift of wisdom.  I don't think God would have just up and wasted nine chapters in His word without putting a blessing in there for me personally or for the cause of truth through the ages.

Meanwhile in the rest of my life, I've been on a quest to be more organized, more on top of the details.  I've been blessed to find some tools that are helping me immensely.  In fact, if you've been unfortunate enough to catch me at the wrong moment, you've heard all about my new checklist that I bought for a mere $8 and how it changed my life in less than 48 hours.

I'm experiencing on a day-to-day basis a rejuvenation of order in my practical life, and those little details on my cleaning checklist have life beyond the mere words "sweep kitchen and living room".

My cleaning checklist came to mind the next time I sat down with another long chapter of genealogies.  I thought of the New Testament admonition to do everything decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).  

I thought of how clean space around me sets the stage for beauty and creativity in my life.

And I came away impressed with my God of order, who not only inspired these detailed records to be kept in the first place, but also preserved them through thousands of years. 

I began seeing the genealogies not so much as something to plod through, but as an anchor, a clean start, a stage set for the chaotic stories to follow, a reminder of the One who lovingly counts the hairs on our heads and stores our tears in bottles, the One who records these details of history to remind me He has everything worked out for the future as well.

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