Summary: The "begats" are thought to be the most boring parts of the Bible. But are they? What can we learn from what God tells us in these "tedious" lists?
OPEN: The story’s told of an old Scottish minister who was reading from the opening chapter of Matthew. He started reading, "Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Judah…"
Then it suddenly occurred to him how long this list was and, not certain he wanted to read all of that, he looked up from his text and said “and they kept on begetting one another all the way down this page and halfway into the next.”
About a month ago or so, I was in a meeting with some of the staff and one of the young men said that he had determined to read the whole Bible through, but he didn’t really want to read the "boring parts".
I explained to him that there weren’t really any boring parts of Scripture. All it took was a little studying and even the dryest parts of the Bible would come alive. To prove it I challenged him to give him the boringest passages he could think of and I would preach a series of sermons using those texts.
Today’s sermon is the first of three based on the boringest parts of Scripture he could think of.
As I was growing up I was led to believe that the Bible was a boring book. I didn’t get that impression from my church or my family, but my hometown was a college community, and there were many people there who held that opinion.
In fact this is such a widely held belief (that the Bible is boring) that it’s one of the main reasons many folks don’t read it.
And it was one of the reasons I hadn’t read it during my youth either. When I went to Purdue University, I finally decided I should read the Bible all the way through. I figured “Hey, since I want to be a preacher I really ought to read this thing”
So, before I began to read I made a deal with God. I told Him "I’ll read everything but the prophecy, the poetry and the ’who begat who’s’." (Of all the boring parts of Scripture I could think of… these had to be the boringest I could imagine).
So, for the next few months I made my way through the history portions of Scripture… and guess what? Far from being boring, these stories were powerful and fascinating. I could actually visualize the people that were described in those pages. I could see them living the lives they lived, making the choices they made and making the mistakes they made.
ILLUS: Years later I remember reading the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. I so liked the book that when I noticed an article by one scholar on that book it caught my attention. This scholar said “Ivanhoe” was considered one of the first truly modern novels.
But long before Sir Walter Scott set pen to paper the Bible was THE great historical novel of the ages. It’s that well written and that powerful in its message.
So (anyway) here we are in one of the boringest parts of the Bible I could think of - the "who begat whos" - and guess what??? Even this isn’t boring.
Now granted it’s not a page-turner like some of the exciting stories such as David and Goliath or Daniel in the Lion’s Den. BUT there’s still some intriguing things to learn here - it’s just a little more subtle in how it tells its story.
The First thing to notice is found in Genesis 5:1-3
“This is the written account of Adam’s line.
When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them ’man.’
When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.”
Notice it says Adam was made “in the likeness of God”
BUT when Adam had a son, his son was “in (Adam’s) likeness, in his own image” in vs. 3
Adam had been the perfect man, created in the image of God. But when he and Eve sinned, they tore a hole in the fabric of that perfection. Now that they had children, those children became like them. They had the same strengths and weaknesses Adam/Eve now had.
Adam’s descendents still bore the image of God in their lives, but it had become warped beneath the sin that Adam had committed. The most obvious example of that was his 1st born son.
Do you remember who that 1st born son was? (Cain)
And do you remember what Cain is known for? (he murdered his brother)
Cain was the very first child of Adam and Eve, and he showed just how warped people could be who were in the likeness of Adam.