Have you ever wondered why the Bible contains so many lists of names? Admittedly, all of those “begats” get a little tedious at times; especially when it is difficult to determine exactly what all of those names have to do with the lineage of our Lord, the history of Israel, or some other subject we may find to be fascinating or important.
Who Are These Guys?
While one reads Genesis 36, a list like this is found. In verses 31 through 39 of that chapter, there is a list of eight different kings of Edom. If you want extra credit on some Bible exam, here are their names: Bela, Jobab, Husham, Hadad, Samlah, Shaul, Ball-hanan, and Hadar.
While I don’t expect that most of us will remember those names very long, I do hope that all of us will remember an important lesson contained in these verses. Each time there is a change in rulers, we read that “________ died, and ________ reigned in his place.”
It is likely that, as each of these men served as a king, he could have thought that he was really making a name for himself. Surely, his name and his accomplishments would be remembered for as long as the world stood. Instead, their names are forgotten except by those may have very, very good memories of Bible facts, names, and places.
Life is Like a Mist
What the brief biblical record of their reigns can remind us of is the brevity of life. Long before James reminded us that our life is “…a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:17), the brief record of these kings suggests very strongly to us that there are things much more important that titles, power, prestige, and notoriety.
Someday (maybe sooner than we think) somebody else will be doing the job we are now doing; somebody else will be occupying the house in which we now live. In short, somebody else will “in our place.”
You may not know the name Amy Carmichael any better than you know the names of those kings of Edom. Even if you don’t know her name, you might have read or heard the following words that are attributed to her:
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past,
only what’s done for God will last.
That’s worth remembering!