I grew up in a small town where you either knew every body or you were related to them. My husband was an out-of-towner and was not accepted as quickly into the fold as someone that could trace their family line back several generations. We found this out when we took out a small farm loan right after we were married. (clarification: his mother was from the same small town, but had left, married, and lived away for many years)
Ken was so excited to buy some cows and play at being a farmer on a small-scale. He went to the farmers bureau and talked with the loan officer and did all the tons of paperwork required to get the ball rolling. Finally came the day when they approval our loan and we had to sign the papers. This was the first time that I had been with him to any of their meetings.
As I walked in, I said hello to the loan officer and he looked at Ken and said, “Why didn’t you tell me who you were married to? This whole process would have been much easier.” I knew the loan officer, we grew up together, but more importantly, he knew my daddy.
Many of us have a past we would like to forget, events or people that we want to ignore, yet we can’t. Our past, our family’s past, affects us in the now. When getting to know someone, part of acquainting ourselves with them is to find out about their past, who their parents were, where they were raised, and how they were raised. You really don’t have a deep friendship with someone without knowing these things.
“A friend is a person who knows all about you and still likes you.” – Iva Lewis
Others have known us since birth, and being so familiar, just take for granted what they know and basically just forget about it, pass it off as unimportant, that “common knowledge” that every body knows so you don’t ever have to talk about it.
I sometimes think that is where I’m at in my relationship with Jesus. I’ve known Him my entire life, I’ve known all about His family, so familiar am I with their stories that I don’t even pay attention to them anymore. Have I taken them for granted, forgotten their importance in the story of Jesus?
In a previous post, I asked how you become acquainted with Jesus or were introduced to Jesus?
For the most part, I bet it was from the Christmas story. It’s an easy starting place. Everybody loves a good baby story. You probably learned about Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, and maybe his cousin, John. You might even have learned that Jesus’ great(+)grandfather was King David, which you were familiar with because of the David and Goliath story.
But what about the rest of his family, what about Matthew 1:1-17 or Luke 3:23-38? Did you ever truly study those names and put them into perspective of God’s plan for mankind?
If you are reading along with me and answering any of the questions (in your head or on paper), from that previous post, I asked you to draw off Noah’s family tree and see which one which one Abraham’s family came from.
In this family line, there are a few key names that play a huge part in the story of the Jews and Israel.
Abraham – Isaac – Jacob
God made a promise with each of these men, a promise that continued down through the different generations. God’s promises are called covenants.
Genesis 12 – God promises that He will make Abraham a great nation, that every person on earth would be blessed through him (Abraham).
Genesis 15 – God promises Abraham that the land where he has settled with be his land and that his offspring will be too many to count, like the stars.
Genesis 26 – God reaffirms His promises with Isaac, Abraham’s son.
Genesis 35 – God again reaffirms His promises, this time to Jacob, Isaac’s son. God also promises that kings will descend from his family. God gives Jacob a new name, Israel.
By choosing this family line to bring about His plan, God uses them as an example to each other and to other nations and for us today. The families of Israel, later called Jews, were called God’s chosen people. That doesn’t mean that God only loved them. God loved everyone. But He was going to use them to show how everyone, including these chosen needed a Redeemer, a Savior.
Jacob had 12 sons (and the story of how those sons came about is better than any daytime soap opera!). They were called the 12 tribes of Israel and when Jacob was dying he blessed or foretold what would happen to each son and their family. When they settled in what is now called the land of Israel, where each family settled was called by their names.
Reuben – Simeon – Levi – Judah – Issachar – Zebulun – Gad – Asher – Joseph – Benjamin – Dan – Naphtali
A couple of things to keep in mind. The family of Levi was given no land allotment. They were to be priests, in charge of the Tabernacle/Temple. Joseph had two sons, and his land was divided between the two of them and named after them, Manasseh & Ephraim.
Now read Matthew 1:1-3. Which one of Jacob’s sons did Jesus’ family line come from?
For extra points: What did that son’s name mean? See Genesis 29:35
I’m still in the first few chapters of Matthew in my reading. Next we’ll focus on prophecies and what the prophets foretold.
What do you think of family blessings? Would you feel “blessed” if you were told that your children would be enslaved for 400 years or that they would be people of war?
How important is the meaning of names today? What does your name mean?