My Bible reading plan for 2015 had me in the first two chapters of Lamentations this morning. I realize that this book, like all the Old Testament, tells us what happened or was going to happen to the flesh and blood people of that day. I know the buildings were brick and mortar, the wars resulted in bloodshed, the famines were severe. Real people suffering real hardships in real time.
Then I turned to the third chapter of Titus where Paul says something I hadn’t seen before. He said to avoid genealogies because they are “unprofitable and useless.” (Titus 3:9 NKJV) I had to stop and think about that. I myself have researched our family tree. And I know, for a Jew at that time, tracing their ancestry was everything to them. Why would Paul say genealogy is useless?
First of all, I thank God for that truth! Many people still today want to give importance to the genealogy of the Jewish nation, and can point to verses to back them up. Others can point to verses that proclaim there is no difference between Jews, Greeks, men, women. I’m not here to dispute or agree with either belief. Because I think God would have us see a bigger truth.
Psalm 119:137 says:
Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are your judgments.
I believe God would have us see Him and our world from His vantage point when we read His written Word. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world. But that the world, through Him, might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
Yes, the Bible is made up of the accounts of individual people, nations, and events. But the purpose of recording all of that is to show us Who God is, what He demands, the result of disobedience, and the love of God for each of us, a love that sent Him to Calvary. As we read the Old Testament we see over and over a God who is Holy, Almighty, Just, a God who demands obedience and punishes disobedience. In the New Testament we see the same God, and One who loves each of us so completely He paid what we could not pay, the debt of our sin. We need to see that today. And that’s why God inspired men to record the events we read here.
If we read the Bible as an historical account, or a mystery novel trying to figure out the end from the clues, we miss the big, most important picture. I think that’s why Paul said genealogy is unprofitable. It’s just not important in the light of eternity.
Dear God, thank you for your written Word. Thank you for the men and women whose lives we read about, people who followed you, people who didn’t, people who were blessed, and people who suffered the consequences of sin. Because through those lives you have painted a picture of my own life and relationship with You. Thank you for the accounts of the life of Jesus, for revealing the fact that He is the one and only Savior of all of mankind, and that His forgiveness is available to anyone who believes. I pray that none of us will miss the relevant Truth imbedded in each book of the Bible. And may we apply that Truth to our lives today.