Ever face a job and thought, “I really don’t want to wade into this!” Whether it was cleaning the garage, painting the house, or cleaning out a closet, you just weren’t looking forward to it.
That’s how I felt when I opened 1 Chronicles and saw 9 chapters of genealogy. I wasn’t excited about wading through a list of names I couldn’t pronounce and people I knew nothing about.
Perhaps God knew this would be an issue for readers because scattered throughout the genealogy are nuggets of information that catch your attention and make you think.
When I came to the descendants of Judah, in 1 Chronicles chapters 1-2, I read that Judah had twin sons by his daughter-in-law, Tamar! (1 Chron. 2:4) According to Genesis chapter 38, when Tamar’s husband died, Judah (her father-in-law) failed to provide another husband for her, as was the custom of the time. She took matters into her own hands, dressed as a prostitute, and seduced her father-in-law into sleeping with her. Out of this, she gave birth to twin sons.
This sordid story is noteworthy because Tamar and her sons are mentioned in another genealogy… Matthew chapter 1…the genealogy of Jesus!
Most of us try to hide the sordid parts of our family tree, but God makes sure to mention a shady pregnancy and two illegitimate children in the genealogy of the Son of God! Why? Because everyone matters! Everyone counts! Every person whose name I so quickly glance over played a critical part in the progression of events that brought us to now.
If it’s true of a morally questionable father-in-law, a deceiving daughter-in-law, and her two illegitimate sons…then it’s true of us. We matter! We count!
Someday, a generation far removed from us will be skimming through some genealogy and glance over our name. Our name will mean nothing to them. It won’t even cause them to slow down. But, like the generations before us, we will have had an impact on their present and future.