It is funny the conversations you get into on the school run – both with the kids and with the other adults. One morning last week another parent and I, on our way back from school drop off, had a fairly lengthy chat about pirates. I think it started because I was telling him about some scripts I had been writing for a Sunday school video series. He went on to tell me that he has a friend who traced his family ancestry and discovered he was descended from Edward Teach. Now I have to say, although I have become quite fluent in pirate lingo over the last few weeks, my pirate knowledge is obviously a little weak, so sensing my complete lack of understanding He went on to explain that Edward Teach was the real name of the infamous Black Beard! I’m not sure how I would feel if I discovered I was descended from such a bilge-sucking hornswaggler but I imagine my timbers may be a little shivered.
Some people love to study genealogy, it can become quite a passion – they love to research the path back through their family tree and find out the stories of the people who went before them. Knowing some of our ancestry can sometimes help us to understand ourselves better – there may be a particular gift or strength that runs down your family line, it maybe helpful to be aware of weaknesses or any hereditary diseases that are known about, or you could even end up on one of those “Heir hunters” type shows and discover you had a long-lost great-uncle who left you a castle and an antique bedpan.
Genealogies are found from time to time in scripture. They help us to get the sense of the bigger picture – of the legacy of generations and the out working of God’s blessing and promises. In the west we have quite an individualistic perspective of our lives, we can forget that we are part of a bigger story both as part of our own family and as part of God’s. Having said that reading a page with a list of names of people (who you know very little about) is not always the most thrilling way to spend your time, and it’s not particularly easy to know how to art journal these passages either – but all scripture is breathed out by God and useful for teaching, correcting and training in righteousness so I’m not going to let myself off the hook that lightly!
Genesis 36 tells us all about Esau’s descendants and towards the end we get this list of the Kings of Edom which was the name of the nation which Esau’s family had become;
“These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the Israelites. Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, the name of his city being Dinhabah. Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his place. Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites reigned in his place. Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, reigned in his place, the name of his city being Avith. Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his place. Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates reigned in his place. Shaul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor reigned in his place. Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his place …” Genesis 36:31-39
Now there are several good piraty sounding names for you but do you know what else I noticed about all of these kings? Can you see the common thread running through this whole list? This is the profound revelation I had on this page – all kings die! I don’t know if King Bela was a good king or not but I know he died and was replaced by King Jobab. I’ve no insight as to whether King Jobab was brave or kind or an excellent cook, all I know about him is that he died and was succeeded by King Husham. Husham might have been rude to his mother or impatient in a queue or perhaps a bit of a scallywag, I have no clue. This I do know – he died…. I could go on but you get the idea. They all died and someone else took over. Whether you know your ancestry or not, whether you are from a line of nobodies or kings, one thing you have in common with every member of your family tree is death (now there’s a cheery thought). There are no exceptions to this rule…..
Oh except one;
“And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30-33
All of Edom’s kings died. All rulers and politicians and monarchs have their day and then are replaced by another. Some leave a legacy of blessing, others not so much. But there is One whose Kingdom will never end! He will not die because He is sovereign over death itself. He is The Resurrection and The Life. The person who believes in Him will live, even though they die; and if we live by believing in Him we will never die! (NB John 11:25).
Dear friends I don’t know your family story – you may be descended from Kings or from Pirates, you may not have a clue, but of this I am confident – Jesus is King! He is on the throne reigning and ruling – Sovereign over your life, your family, your generation , your nation, our world, even over death itself! I think I’m going to go and soak in this truth a bit more now – I might listen to Jenn Johnson’s beautiful song “Gravity”. The bridge says this;
“Sovereign High above it all.
Sovereign You are.
And I can rest ’cause it’s all in your hands.
Sovereign you are.”
Thanks for reading. Much love Rach x