1 Chronicles 4:21-43 – What You Do Now Matters for Generations

Posted: December 15, 2019 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 4:21-43

Descendants of Shelah and of Simeon

Our actions effect our families for generations. It’s not just you and what you want, but what you do echoes down your family line. Just look at Simeon’s lineage. Because he and his pal massacred all the people of Shechem as an act of bold revenge against that city’s prince having sexual relations by force with Simeon’s sister (see Genesis 34), he was cursed to live a nomadic lifestyle after that. Once that caste was set, his descendants lived a similar lifestyle all the way up to the days of the exile when the books of the Chronicles were written. What we do now matters.

Most of us are all so wrapped up in our pursuit of what we want, they we do not have an eye toward what the future will hold for our progeny as a result of the decisions we make now. I know that when I was a young father, I was all wrapped up in how things affected me. I became a father pretty young compared to others in Generation X. So many of my friends that I went to high school with or college with waited until their early 30’s to become parents. I became a father at age 23, not too unlike my late Greatest Generation/early Baby Boomer daddy who was 21 when he became a father and again with me at age 23. I really didn’t think about the long-term effects of my actions on my kids. My first wife was not much better in that regard. Our marriage was a soap opera of mistakes. My wife with her addictions and her affair. My justifying my affair with what became my second wife because I had lived as a martyr during the decade of addiction with my first wife. I had a right to be happy, you know, and my first wife was the cause of all my unhappiness. You know the drill. Most of us who have been through divorces play the martyr and blame the other spouse for why we HAD to do what we did. Lost in all of it are our children. My generation was the first generation to be called self-centered. So self-centered one of the first names for my generation was The Me-Generation. We were and most of us still are—all about us and what we want, even as many of us are now in our 50s. I would dare say that most of us in the Me-Generation have been married more than once. We really didn’t think about what our actions were doing to our children.

I know that with my own children, my oldest was forced to mature way too early while my youngest has allowed the rough and tumble years of the divorce’s aftermath define her. What we have taught our children that it’s OK to quit. We quit on the most basic relationship of all, the marriage and the marital family. We taught them that it’s OK to quit when things get tough. They have been taught that you really don’t have to work at things. You can just give up and then say that it should have been given to you. We as divorced parents often spoiled our kids to assuage our guilt for having failed at their basic family unit. The statistics are so alarming about the mental health and legal costs related to the children of divorce. We accept these costs as a collective nation because we don’t won’t to change from our me-attitudes. We would rather be able to change marriages like we change underwear because it’s all about us. The effects of divorce and single parent homes will continue to have long-lasting effects on our kids and our nation. We must have a change of heart about our self-seeking and seek God instead of ourselves. There are always long-lasting effects when nations quit pursuing God – just look at the book we are studying right now. Israel deteriorated from within and was so badly decayed by the time of the Assyrian exile for the northern kingdom and the Babylonian exile for the southern kingdom, they were too weak to do anything about it. There is a clarion call to our nation. What we do now matters.

With that idea in mind, let’s read this passage now, 1 Chronicles 4:21-43, with an eye as to who these people are and what their history was:

21 The sons of Shelah son of Judah: Er father of Lecah, Laadah father of Mareshah, and the families of the guild of linen workers at Beth-ashbea; 22 and Jokim, and the men of Cozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who married into Moab but returned to Lehem[a] (now the records[b] are ancient). 23 These were the potters and inhabitants of Netaim and Gederah; they lived there with the king in his service.

24 The sons of Simeon: Nemuel, Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, Shaul;[c] 25 Shallum was his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son. 26 The sons of Mishma: Hammuel his son, Zaccur his son, Shimei his son. 27 Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brothers did not have many children, nor did all their family multiply like the Judeans. 28 They lived in Beer-sheba, Moladah, Hazar-shual, 29 Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, 30 Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, 31 Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-biri, and Shaaraim. These were their towns until David became king. 32 And their villages were Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen, and Ashan, five towns, 33 along with all their villages that were around these towns as far as Baal. These were their settlements. And they kept a genealogical record.

34 Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah son of Amaziah, 35 Joel, Jehu son of Joshibiah son of Seraiah son of Asiel, 36 Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, 37 Ziza son of Shiphi son of Allon son of Jedaiah son of Shimri son of Shemaiah— 38 these mentioned by name were leaders in their families, and their clans increased greatly. 39 They journeyed to the entrance of Gedor, to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks, 40 where they found rich, good pasture, and the land was very broad, quiet, and peaceful; for the former inhabitants there belonged to Ham. 41 These, registered by name, came in the days of King Hezekiah of Judah, and attacked their tents and the Meunim who were found there, and exterminated them to this day, and settled in their place, because there was pasture there for their flocks. 42 And some of them, five hundred men of the Simeonites, went to Mount Seir, having as their leaders Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah, and Uzziel, sons of Ishi; 43 they destroyed the remnant of the Amalekites that had escaped, and they have lived there to this day.

Simeon and Levi, two of the sons of Jacob, massacred the men of the city of Shechem (Genesis 34:24-30, 49:5-7) and were therefore cursed to be scattered. Therefore, the tribe of Simeon did not have a province to call their own, only these cities, villages, and dwelling places. Simeon was granted lands in Palestine only within the arid southwestern portions of Judah (Joshua 19:1-9; cf. 15:26, 28-32); and it campaigned cooperatively with Judah in their conquest (Judges 1:3). For after the division of Solomon’s kingdom in 930 B.C., elements of Simeon either moved to the north or at least adopted its religious practices (reference the inclusion of Beersheba along with the shrines of Ephraim that are condemned in Amos 5:5). Other Simeonites carried on in a seminomadic life in isolated areas that they could occupy, such as those noted at the close of this chapter. But his brothers did not have many children, nor did any of their families multiply as much as the children of Judah: The census data both at the beginning and the end of the Book of Numbers indicates that the population of the tribe of Simeon decreased radically during the wilderness years of the exodus. They were among the largest tribes at the beginning and among the smallest tribes at the end. Of this tribe was that shameless fornicator, Zimri (Numbers 35).

As you can see this particular genealogy shows how the actions of Simeon and Levi led generations of their own people to live a nomadic lifestyle. There in-the-moment thinking causes all their future generations to not have any land and live a hand to mouth existence of a nomadic people. What we do in our in-the-moment moments matters for generations. Think about what you are doing as your children watch. What you do, they imitate. What you do now echoes for generations. Why not consider living life according to God’s Word instead of your own selfish desires! You children are watching.

Amen and Amen.

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