Genealogies are so exciting, we needed to talk about them again! Certainly, genealogies help us learn how we are connected, as we discovered last week, but they also tell us something very important: our place of origin. Where do we all start this journey we call ‘life’?
If we take Abraham, for example, we know that he’s the son of Terah, and he lived in Ur of the Chaldees before God called him to leave his home country to a place that God would show him (Genesis 11.27-12.4). Though he was advanced in age, God called Abraham to a journey of faith that took him many places, and when that journey was complete, he’d had a son. That’s where the people of Israel began with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We remember Abraham as the one who was called righteous because he believed God (Romans 4.3).
Born to a Hebrew slave family in Egypt, Moses was drawn out of the water (which is what his name means) by an Egyptian princess to be raised in the Pharoah’s household. Interesting, isn’t it, that one of the greatest Old Testament leaders was raised in a place that was not his home, yet somehow God uses him to deliver the people of Israel from slavery into the promised land (Exodus 2.1-10). We remember Moses as the great deliverer and law-giver of the Old Testament (see John 1.17,Hebrews 11.23-28, Revelation 15.3).
One of my favorites from the Old Testament is Amos. He prophesied to the people of Israel, calling them back to the righteousness of God in startling and uncompromising ways. When he gets challenged by a priest of God named Amaziah about being someone from God (Amos 7.10-17), Amos replies:
I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel’ (Amos 7.14-15).
The point is that all these guys, and the innumerable folks we read in any of the genealogies of the Old Testament, started somewhere. Maybe it was a good place or maybe it was a bad place, maybe it was a predictable place or maybe it was an unlikely place, but they all come from somewhere. That most certainly tells us something about these guys — and it tells us something about us.
we all start somewhere
These genealogies remind us that our place of origin, our people of origin is important to who we are. The place we start — good or bad — is significant to the story of our lives. Our starting place is the beginning of this journey of faith for us.
What’s even more important to who we are, though, is something that is easy to overlook in these places of origin: God. Abraham was called by God to leave his family and land; Moses was called by God in the burning bush to lead the Israelites out of Egypt; and Amos was called from tending the flock and dressing the trees to be a prophet of God.
Truth is, they found their place of origin defined by God. Because in the end, we don’t trace our origins back to a father, a mother, a family, a home place. No, we trace our origins to God, the one in whom we live and move and have our being. Before we came from our families and homelands, we came from God. And who begat who reminds us of the one who created this world — and us — with a word: God.
Godspeed your journey as you take the fire with you.
A Text for the Table: 1 Chronicles 2.17-4.4.
Image credit: “Pumpkin Seeds.”