1 Chronicles 1:1-24 – Everyone Has A Name & Every Name Is Important

Posted: October 28, 2019 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 1:1-24

From Adam to Abraham

As parents, when we go to a graduation, and particularly when the graduation is for a large school, these events are rather long events. For example, some large state universities have their graduations over several days and do it by the colleges of arts and sciences that make up the university so that you do not have to sit through an extended and long graduation ceremony is all degrees were conferred at one time. At a large university like the University of Central Florida, our nation’s largest university, approximately 10, 000 undergraduate and post-graduate degrees are conferred each year. Their graduation ceremonies are held in six different ceremonies over three days. It would take quite a long time to hold their entire graduating class ceremonies in one event. And, it would be exceedingly boring. However, for the parents of a graduating son or daughter, it is a significant event in family life when family of a graduate hears the name of their child called, regardless of whether it is six graduations over 3 days or at one combined event. My oldest child, Meghan, graduated from Clemson University in December 2007. At Clemson, since it is not a small school by any means but it is also not a really large university either. At any given time, Clemson has about 13,000 students so they hold two graduation ceremonies each year. Even then, graduation take time.

As a parent, you have to wade through a long list of graduate names as they are read off and the graduates walk across the stage and receive their undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. You do this and you respect that each graduate has put in the work to graduate from their chosen school. You respect that your child is part of this body of kids who struggled together over 4 or more years to get to this milestone moment in their lives. It is a momentous moment for all parents and families in attendance not just you and your family and child. But, virtually all of the names read are names of people that you have never heard of. You may know some of your child’s friends here and there among the names called. However, when you hear THAT name that you have been waiting to hear, your child’s name. There are few moments in life where you are prouder as a parent as when you hear your child’s name called out as a graduate of their chosen university. You are beaming with pride. They tell you at the beginning of the conferring of degrees to hold your applause til all names have been called and the final conferment languages is read by the president of the university. And, sure, that is the respectful thing to do. However, it is so hard for you and your family NOT to offer up a yelp and a cheer of some sort when your child’s name is called. It means something. It is your child. It is your child reaching a milestone in their lives. It is a moment where they have put in the hard work over a long period of time and are now receiving their reward. It is a moment that signifies that your child is ready to take on the world on their own. It is simply a momentous moment for parent and child and family. It’s hard not to send a quick little family cheer of some sort.

It is also important to note at these graduations that these large institutions actually know and recognize the existence of your child. They are individually known. Their grades are tracked. They progress toward graduation is monitored. They are known by someone or several people in the administration of the school. There are professors that know your child’s work and some that know your child personally. It is recognition by this large university that your child has mattered to them and that their name appears individually on a degree conferred by this university. It gives you as a parent and the graduating child an affinity not just to the friends that they have made here at the school but it provides an affinity to the school itself that is hard to describe. It makes you feel like part of the family of that school, the legacy of that school, it makes you feel like you belong to something special. That feeling is quite real at Clemson University, a school that promotes a culture of family throughout the university even though it is not a small school. The saying that “there is something in these hills” that Clemson people talk about that makes you feel like you are part of a very unique place in the university landscape of our country. You feel like you belong to a special group that is forever tied to this place called Clemson. I am sure that others feel the same way about their kid’s university or college but this is my kid and my kid’s school.

I think about that this morning as I read the lengthy list of names in the genealogy that begins in Chapter 1 of 1 Chronicles and continues for 9 full chapters…9 full chapters of this book of the Bible. But the first thing that you notice in all of this is that names matter. It was the point of Chronicles to make the exiled Jews remember their history as God’s people in a time in their history that they no longer had their own nation. It is important for them to tie themselves to their roots and learn from the past of Jewish history. But for us as 21st century readers, it may just seem a yawner like a parent at a graduation hearing all the names called of children that are NOT their own kids. Those names mean nothing to them other than they are part of your child’s graduating class. It would be weird to be a graduation for just your child. It would not seem as momentous if there were not others whose names are called. The graduation ceremony would not be as elegant or as formal if it were just a graduation of one person, your child. Thus, having all the names read means that your child was part of something bigger, something special, a special group that they will forever belong to. That, to me, is the point, the idea that I walk away from with these first 23 verses, because those first 23 verses show us something unique when you look at who these names are. Let’s read the passage, 1 Chronicles 1:1-23, now:

1 The descendants of Adam were Seth, Enosh, 2 Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, 3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, 4 and Noah.

The sons of Noah were[a] Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Descendants of Japheth

5 The descendants of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.

6 The descendants of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath,[b] and Togarmah.

7 The descendants of Javan were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim.

Descendants of Ham

8 The descendants of Ham were Cush, Mizraim,[c] Put, and Canaan.

9 The descendants of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. 10 Cush was also the ancestor of Nimrod, who was the first heroic warrior on earth.

11 Mizraim was the ancestor of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 12 Pathrusites, Casluhites, and the Caphtorites, from whom the Philistines came.[d]

13 Canaan’s oldest son was Sidon, the ancestor of the Sidonians. Canaan was also the ancestor of the Hittites,[e] 14 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 15 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 16 Arvadites, Zemarites, and Hamathites.

Descendants of Shem

17 The descendants of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.

The descendants of Aram were[f] Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.[g]

18 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah.

Shelah was the father of Eber.

19 Eber had two sons. The first was named Peleg (which means “division”), for during his lifetime the people of the world were divided into different language groups. His brother’s name was Joktan.

20 Joktan was the ancestor of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 21 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 22 Obal,[h] Abimael, Sheba, 23 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were descendants of Joktan.

In this passage, you might initially think it’s a yawner. Something to glide right through without much to glean from it. However, it was the Apostle Paul that said, “All  Scripture  is  inspired  by  God  and  profitable  for  teaching,  for  reproof,  for  correction,  for  training  in  righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, there is something to be learned from these first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles which are nothing but genealogy. This record beginning at 1:1 demonstrates several things. For one thing, this record demonstrates that God is interested not only in nations but also in individuals. Although billions and billions of people have lived since the beginning of man in Adam, God knows and remembers the face and name of each person who has ever lived since the beginning. Each of us is more than a name on a list. We are special persons whom God knows and loves. As we recognize and accept his love, we discover both our uniqueness as individuals and our solidarity with the remainder of the world, both past and present.

In these first verses, we see that all nations are seen and referenced by their roots going back to one of Noah’s sons: Japheth, Ham, or Shem. Japheth is the father of many general nations. Ham is the father of almost all of the “bad nations” on earth. Shem is the bearer of the messianic seed line resulting in Christ

and Israel as well as other nations such as the Ludites, Aramites, etc. Thus, the point of these first 23 verses can be viewed in this way. Descendants of all 3 sons of Noah are present at Christ’s birth, death, the descending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and the End Times. It’s a constant reminder of God’s intent to reconcile all nations to Him. All names are important to him. All people are important to God. He wants all of us to be reconciled to Him. At my home church, LifeSong Church in Lyman, SC, they have a saying that let’s people know that they are not just a number and a faceless person at the church. It is that “everyone has a name and every name is important!” It is the same with God. Everyone has a name and every name is important to God. He loves us all throughout time and has offered His love to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. He wants our name to be in the Book of Life. As Christ followers, He will be beaming with pride when our name is announced at our final graduation from this life into the long list of graduates who get to walk through the gates of heaven.

Amen and Amen.

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