Jesus, who was perfectly clean, took our uncleanness upon himself so that we might be made clean, and he is at work even now, by his Spirit, making us holy. God will not abandon our world to its uncleanness forever! He will make it clean.
The book of Numbers begins and ends with a census. In Numbers 1, we find the record of the generation who rebelled and refused to believe that God was giving them the land of Canaan and therefore died in the desert. In Numbers 26, we read the census record of the second generation as they prepared to enter into their inheritance and abundant life of the Promised Land. Why do we need this information?
The census records of Numbers encourage us to examine whether our names are to be counted among those who refuse to believe and will die in the wilderness of this world, or if we are counted among those who believe God’s promise of an inheritance and have life in the abundance of the Promised Land to look forward to.
In Joshua 13-21, we read the geographic details of the land in Canaan given to each tribe. Because we are unfamiliar with the ancient geography, it can be a boring list to us. But if we were familiar with these places and with these people, we could better imagine the sense of wonder among God’s people as each tribe was given a huge amount of territory in the Promised Land. Likely the people of each tribe would have looked at each other and said, “All of this for us?”
The allotment of territories to tribes in the land of Canaan gives us a preview of what it will be like when our greater Joshua, Jesus, leads us into the eternal Promised Land where we will inherit all that God has promised.
One day, our Greater Joshua will read out the inheritance that will be ours in the new heaven and the new earth, and we won’t be bored! Surely we will breathlessly say, “All of this for us?”
First Chronicles includes chapter after chapter of genealogies that begin with Adam and stretch to the descendants of Judah, Benjamin and Levi—the kingly and priestly tribes—who made up most of those who returned to the land after exile.
The genealogies in 1 Chronicles help us focus on where history is headed—the son of David, seated on the throne of the universe.
This list should reorient our hearts toward the coming of our great king when we will hear a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Revelation 21:3).
When Nehemiah was trying to figure out who among the returned exiles should take up residence behind the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem, he pulled out the book in which the names of those who returned to Judah when the opportunity was first given by Cyrus’s decree to come home were listed.
The list of names in the book Nehemiah read that included all those whose hearts God stirred up to leave Babylon for Jerusalem should make our hearts glad to know that God likes to keep lists of those whose hearts he has stirred up with a longing for his city, those who will inhabit the New Jerusalem.
In Revelation 21:27, John tells us “only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” will populate the New Jerusalem. We will not be bored when that list of names is read! We’ll be on pins and needles listening for our names.
The New Testament begins with a genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. And oh the grace we find in this boring part of the Bible! There in the lineage of Jesus is Abraham, who pretended his wife was his sister and gave her to a godless king; Judah, who fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar, his daughter-in-law; Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute who put everything at risk to get in on the promises of God; Ruth, a Moabite who left everything behind to make Israel’s God her God; David, who took another man’s wife and then had her husband killed; Solomon, who allowed many foreign women to turn his heart away from loving the Lord. So the #1 best thing about the boring parts of the Bible is:
The genealogy of Jesus shows us that Jesus welcomes flagrant but forgiven sinners into his family.
This gives outsiders and outlaws like you and me hope. He is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters.