“This is the account of Shem…” – Genesis 11:10
“This is the account of Terah…” – Genesis 11:27
“A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Son of David,
the son of Abraham.” – Matthew 1:1
As you are reading Scripture, there are numerous times in which you will come across a passage like the ones found above. If you are like me, many times you probably skip over them or just read through them very fast. However, these family trees help develop the themes that go through the entire Bible.
One negative theme is the struggles Israel has with the nations surrounding them. The family line of Noah’s son Ham grows into some of Israel’s greatest enemies of the Old Testament; these nations will cause many problems for the nation of Israel. The family trees show the beginning of many of the struggles in the Old Testament. One of the more famous divisions within a family tree is Ishmael and Isaac, the sons of Abraham. The nation of Israel traces its roots back to Isaac, while the Islamic faith traces its line back to Ishmael. That is a division, though, that cannot be discussed in a brief devotional.
However, there is also a positive encouragement that comes through understanding the family trees. The theme of redemption that flows through Scripture began in the Garden with the promise that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the snake. The Old Testament focuses on this seed, Adam and Eve to Abraham, the man to whom God promises a great Nation. The Old Testament is continually reminding its readers where it is within this family line. Often for the nation of Israel there were times of great struggle and pain, but there was always hope – hope in a family tree that would provide salvation and ultimate victory. A line that goes from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Jacob to David and eventually to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the seed that was promised to come to destroy the power of sin in our lives. As you read those family trees, think about the hand of God protecting and providing hope when it seemed like there was none.