There are large parts of the Bible that consists of lists. Some of them involve directions on building the tabernacle and, later, the temple, some are laws that the Israelites were to follow. In some passages, fighting men are detailed with the jobs they are to do, and some spots just list the various families that live in Israel.
I appreciate the need for all these lists during the time the Children of Israel were alive, but I have wondered, in the past, what good these Bible lists are to modern students of the Bible. I know there must be some purpose, but to be honest, most of the time I have skimmed through these passages or skipped them altogether.
There are some verses that I enjoy reading, especially those that add a little tidbit of information about the person listed, like I Chronicles 7:23,24. In the previous verses, two sons of Ephraim were killed by the native-born sons of Gath, leaving Ephraim in deep mourning. However, his wife gave birth to another son, Beriah, who had a daughter named Sheerah, “who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzen Sheerah.” Even though we don’t know any more about Sheerah, we can deduce that she was a strong and skillful woman.
I especially like the lists of artists. Huram Abia (II Chronicles 2:14) was “a man of great skill…trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen…experienced in all kinds of engraving and [could] execute any design given to him.” Whoa! As a crafter, especially in the fiber arts, I am pretty impressed with Huram Abia.
Then there are the musicians, with Asaph leading the list. Even today, music is an important part of our worship. We tend to notice musicians, because they are in front of our churches, but they are no more important than the humble women who make quilts for shut-ins, change the floral centerpieces at the front of the church or hang decorations for the changing seasons.
There’s another, very important, list mentioned in Revelation 3:5. It speaks of those written in the “Book of Life.” Those on that list have accepted Jesus into their lives and will never be blotted out of that book. However, Revelation 20:15 describes the fate of those who are not written in the Book of Life. They will be cast into the lake of fire.
I am so glad that my name has been added to a list in the Bible. I may not have a lot of patience for reading through all the “begats,” but I praise God that He has patience with me and all my failings, and still keeps me in His Lamb’s Book of Life.
I don’t have to worry about it. I’m on the list!