The Scriptorium

What's in a Name

Here's an exercise in meditation. 1 Chronicles 1.5-7; 3.10-15; Matthew 4.4

Gleanealogy: Gleanings (7)

Pray Psalm 66.13-16.
I will go into Your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay You my vows,
Which my lips have uttered
And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble.
I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals,
With the sweet aroma of rams;
I will offer bulls with goats. Selah
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
And I will declare what He has done for my soul.

Sing joyfully Psalm 66.13-16.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
To Your house we come with off’rings, what we vowed, Lord, help us do.
O, receive our praise and homage as we give ourselves to You.
Come and listen, all who fear Him: hear what this great God can do!

Read 1 Chronicles 1.5-7; 3.10-15; Matthew 4.4.

1. What differences can you observe between these two excerpts from genealogies? Do any names stand out? Why?

2. Choose one name on each list and meditate on it. Where do your meditations lead you?

As we bring our study of Gleanealogy to a close, let’s look a little more closely at two excerpts from the genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1-9. Our purpose will be to discover what’s in a name, that is, how feeding on names from the genealogies can lead us into meditation, prayer, and perhaps even a renewed outlook on our lives in the Lord. Since every word of Scripture has some nourishment for us, we must take the time to feed  on them.

For this exercise, I’m going to use what we might call a “meditation stream”. I’m just going to let my thoughts run together, pausing to reflect a bit more as seems appropriate, and letting the stream lead me where it will. My purpose in this is to show you how pondering names in the genealogies of Scripture can provide food for your soul and profit for your walk with the Lord. These “meditation streams” are intended to be suggestive, not exhaustive.

So, let’s start with 1 Chronicles 1.5-7.

Curious. The genealogies of those descended from Seth, who were returning to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon, begins not with their line, but with the surrounding nations, the sons of Japheth. God doesn’t want us to forget the nations; we’re called to make them disciples (Matt. 28.18-20), even though the judgment of God rests on them (Rom. 1.18-32). God wants them to be before our eyes. Who are the “nations” to whom God is sending me today? Some names that the returnees would have recognized: Tiras – Tyre: judged by God, destroyed by Babylon and Greece. Why? Tyre was the economic giant of its day, and wealth was its god. Evidently, wealth is not god-enough. Hmmm. Meshech: Psalm 120.5-7. Implacable. Be ready; many unbelievers will never come to peace with God. You carry out your mission in a war zone, but you need to seek God’s peace even amongst and for those who despise you. Tarshish: Don’t run away from what God calls you to do in His project (Jonah 1.1-3). Don’t get distracted, and don’t be afraid. Kittim: Greece. Daniel warned about the coming power of the Greek king. Alexander’s military successes would create a common (koiné) culture that would give us a worldwide language and the New Testament, and would expedite the initial advance of God’s project. Thank God for the Greeks! God loves the nations, even those who prefer other gods. He can use them to bless His people, just as He intends to use us to be a blessing to them. Whom will You bless through me today, Lord?

Now let’s turn to 1 Chronicles 3.10-15.

Solomon to Zedekiah: glory to gloom, blessing to bust, building to destruction. The glory of David’s Kingdom, summarized and lost in a short paragraph; it doesn’t take much to lose your way, once your heart has turned from the Lord. Good kings among bad: Jehoshaphat – “God judges.” Yes, He does, even today (Heb. 12.3-11). Joash, Hezekiah, Josiah: Imperfect kings whom God used. Even as the kingdom of David declined into judgment, seasons of revival brought renewed hope and the return of God’s favor. As bad as things can get, God can always revive us. He’s looking for people to seek Him in prayer and stand firm in His Law. Faithful priests (Jehoida) and prophets (Isaiah) helped bring revival to the people of God. We need revival today, Lord. Help me to be faithful to seek You, and to encourage others to do so as well.

Don’t miss the rich blessings that can come from feeding on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, including the names in the genealogies of Scripture. Not every name will yield such rich fare as I have outlined, but even if we only try to imagine these people as real people, needing the blessing of God in their day as much as we do in ours; and if we ponder them going about their daily tasks as the Lord remembered them, we may be led to give thanks for how God cares for us as well.

And let us be reminded that the fulfilling of that which is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life is in our hands; for God, Who wrote the names in that Book, is pleased to secure their registration through the work His people do in carrying out His project in our own place and time.

1. What might you add to the first meditation (1 Chron. 1.5-7)?

2. What might you add to the second meditation (1 Chron. 3.10-15)?

3. Why is it important that we take the time, as we come upon them in our reading, to slow down and meditate on the genealogies of Scripture?

But the Savior’s very response indicates that it was as man that he was tempted: “Not by bread alone shall man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” So if anyone does not feed upon God’s Word, that one will not live.
Jerome (347-420), Commentary on Matthew 1.4.4

Renew me in Your Word today, O Lord, so that I might take my
place as one of Your covenant people to work at Your project as I…

Pray Psalm 66.1-12.
Pray that God will revive you today, and that He will revive His people everywhere, that we might be faithful in pursuing His project for making all the nations disciples.

Sing Psalm 66.1-12.
Psalm 66.1-12 (Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Shout for joy to God, all people, sing the glory of His Name!
Give Him glorious praise and say, “How great Your pow’r and great Your fame!
All the earth shall worship gladly as they praise Your glorious Name!”

Great and awesome is our Savior in the works which He has done.
He the sea and river dried to let His people cross as one.
Then our joy was great to worship Him our mighty, sovereign One.

He the nations watches ever – all you rebels, humbled be.
Bless our God, all men and nations, praise His Name eternally!
He preserves our souls, and He will keep His paths beneath our feet.

You have tried us, Lord, as silver, and have brought us into nets,
made us carry heavy burdens, let men trample o’er our heads.
But through all Your grace sustained us and has brought us through to rest.

T. M. Moore

The genealogies of Scripture reveal the heart of God in His covenant relationship with His people. To learn more about God’s covenant, order our book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here. You can learn to sing all the psalms to familiar hymn tunes by ordering a copy of The Ailbe Psalter (click here). You can download the weekly studies in this series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore