The book, Genesis in the Holy Bible, traces the passing of God’s promises to the sons of Israel and especially to Judah, whom the kings of Israel would descend – including Jesus of Nazareth. When one attempts to read the Holy Bible from the front cover to the back cover, I think that many people give up, if not get bored halfway through Chapter 5 with all the genealogical begets – a chronicle of mankind listing persons from before the great flood. This generational narrative however defines the people of Israel. It is worth the effort to forge ahead and read the rest of Holy Bible.
There is not a single plotline or story in the book of Genesis, but the author provides an overarching structure to the complexities throughout the sacred line of generations. I am, however, finding the book of Genesis an interesting foundation for my own writing project as I begin to dig up my family’s own genealogical story.
The Holy Bible is an excellent book to read even if one does not define themselves as a Christian. The important thing to remember in reading the Holy Bible is the same as reading any historical narrative. The reader is to consider the worldview at the time of each generation and try to determine if any truths hold water today. It is precisely this viewpoint I strive to remember when considering my own ancestry.
My current research has taken me back through to our family’s parents, grandparents, and second great grandparents. Both family lines have declining birth rates from 8-14 children to 2-3 children among our immediate families. As I read through all of the begetting, I thought, for the love of scotch stay off of her!
I imagine poor Louise praying, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I should die before I wake (please! before Friedrich comes to bed), I pray to my Lord my soul to take. Amen”
How much did our ancestors dwell in the spiritual well of faithfulness – being true in words and actions?
Just within these three generations in both lineages I have learned of a divorce because of extreme cruelty and the abandonment and abuse of children. Historical documents often tend to disclose the worst rather than the best of our ancestors.
“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3 (ESV)
“So, the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:7 (ESV)
As I am getting to know our ancestors on a more personal level in the time that they were alive, I wonder about their possible regrets, as well as, any of my own. Certainly, there is sadness for time misspent or opportunities wasted; but I cannot think of one regret. If I had any regrets, then I would not be the person I am today. All that time misspent and opportunities wasted helped me to become mindful of this moment in time.
Certainly, chronic illness or death of a significant person in our life has a way of putting our past under the microscope in the moment.
Did we spend enough time with the people we love?
Did we fulfill the purpose for which we were born?
Whether we are examining the worldview of our ancestors or our own life, it is important to balance ourselves between the spiritual well of kindness exercising compassion, and the spiritual well of gentleness exercising a grace in hardship or prosperity.
“And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 (ESV)
“But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV)
Harmony of mind, body, and spirit
The importance of preserving our heritage is much like the Holy Bible balancing the begets and the regrets with the promises of love and forgiveness still abounds across the generations.
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