A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Handford

You remember those tedious lists of names scattered through the Bible, don’t you? Somebody “begat” somebody or “was the father of” somebody, or “these of the names of those who—” did something or the other. The two chapters I was to read today seemed to be a list of such names, and I was bored.

I grew up in a home where we read straight through the Bible, a chapter every morning at the breakfast table. I treasure those sweet days of hearing God’s Word, and believing it and being changed by it. So, ever since my teens I have tried to read the Bible through every year. Still, I confess that there are some chapters, like the genealogies in Genesis chapter 5 or the people who came back from captivity (in Nehemiah chapter 11 that seem only a tedious list of unpronounceable names of people I know nothing about. So why should I waste time reading lists when I could be reading a Scripture that would help me to live well that day?

Because the Lord Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4)

So I reread the passage and saw verses 1-3 of chapter 11 in a new light.

Now the leaders of the people were living in Jerusalem, the holy city, at this time. A tenth of the people from the other towns of Judah and Benjamin were chosen by sacred lots to live there, too, while the rest stayed where they were. And the people commended everyone who volunteered to resettle in Jerusalem. Here is a list of the names.”

Then comes the names of the people who’d come back from 70 years of captivity to their homeland, which had been devastated by foreign kings. Some of them volunteered even to live in the rubble-filled streets of Jerusalem, so vulnerable to attack. They were brave, committed believers. . . And God had their names written down in the Scriptures that record their names forever!

Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another,
And the LORD listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the LORD
And who meditate on His name.
“They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts,
“On the day that I make them My jewels.” Malachi 3:16,17

Some wonderful day, when all those who have trusted Jesus to be their Savior have gone to Heaven, God will have that “book of remembrance” opened. He will read, again, the names of all the faithful people who loved Him and talked about Him (—that “boring” list of names!) And He will make them His “jewels.” I can’t imagine exactly what that will be, except that it certainly means God will treasure those who spoke of His faithfulness. What a comfort and joy it is to know that He sees. He knows. He cares. He listens. And He treasures those who worship Him and honor Him.