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Boring Bible

July 5, 2007

The Desiring God Blog is a great resource: I really enjoy the posts that come out of there. Abraham Piper recently posted on the benefits of studying the Bible when it is boring, or difficult to get through. Why is it important to see who descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Why do we need to know who moved into Jerusalem during the time of Nehemiah? As Abraham Piper brings up, why should we care about the boundaries that God set up for Isreal?

Here is the reason he gives:

Joshua tells us why these obscure details are important: So that the Israelites would have specific and extensive evidence that God does what he says he will do.

Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. (Joshua 21:45)

The more detailed the report of God’s faithfulness, the more proof that indeed not one word of his had been false. He promised their forefathers this land, and now, because of this account in the book of Joshua, they can remember specifically how God was faithful. Faithful in concrete detail. Faithful down to the most boring of trivia.

Genealogies recount God’s faithfulness to his promises, and show that God cares about the Israelite family, particularly the Messianic family line.  This shows God’s faithfulness to his people, and by extension, to us.  Also, as we see God’s extensive fulfillment of his promises, we can take comfort in his sovereignty.  After all, we can compare prophesy made in the Old Testament to prophesy fulfilled in the New (or sometimes, prophesy made and fulfilled in the Old Testament).  Do we not serve a God who controls all things?  We can read genealogies as proof that God can indeed do what he says he will.  In the example pointed out in Joshua, we see God has the power to carry his promises to completion.  We do not serve a God who makes promises he cannot keep – he keeps his promises to his people, promises that involve a nation: big promises that take a powerful God to execute.  And God never lets his people down, even in promises that state that his people will conquer a land and escape slavery, or promises that state the town that Jesus will be born in, and the way his mother will conceive him as a virgin.  Through the genealogies that appear of David’s family line, we see that God is in control of his creation.  If he can control the family line Jesus descends from, how much more can he work the much smaller details for our ultimate good, as Romans 8:28 says?

Because we serve a God able to fulfill his promises to the “mundane details”, we can rest assured that God has the power to do as he promises.  We do not serve a God of empty words, but a God who can do what he says he will do.

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