All of Those Names and Places

Pastor's Ponderings IllustrationBible Readings for the day: Psalm 89:30-37, Romans 11:33-12:21, 1 Chronicles 6:1-81
Meditational Reading: 1 Chronicles 6:1-81 and Romans 12:1-21, especially verses 17-21
Because of the length of the meditational readings I will only include Romans 12:17-21
17  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
18  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
19  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
20  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Today’s Old Testament reading is a continuation of the lists of names that seems to prevail in Chronicles.  Names, names, names — and then — more names!  In addition to the names we’re also told of the cities, towns and villages given to the priests and Levites after Joshua conquered the Land.  Names and places.  Names and places.  But, as I was scanning the names — all of those names! — it hit me:  they kept genealogical records, extensive genealogical records, even as the children of Israel went into captivity in 587/586 BC.  So what’s the point?

The kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians in 587/586 BC because of the people’s apostasy.  They had turned their backs upon the true and living God and worshiped idols along with him.  This is important for because we can’t worship, trust, or believe in a multiplicity of gods (along with the true God).  Any time we worship any other god but God the Holy Trinity, we have fallen into apostasy.  We have turned our backs upon the true God and worshiped false gods.  We can’t worship both.  That’s the background to my “Aha! Moment” today.

All of Those Names:  Some how, some way, the apostate people gathered up their genealogical records and brought them with them into exile, an exile from which no one had ever returned.  The future was bleak for the exiles.  The situation was hopeless.  Yet they gathered together their genealogical records and brought them with them!  Why?  Because some of those exiles had not lost the true Faith.  Some of them remained faithful to the Lord and knew that, someday, they (or their children) would return from exile.  God would have to keep his promise to send his Savior into our world.  God made the promise to Adam and Eve; he renewed that promise with Abraham.  God had to keep his promise; it is part of his very being.  As I waded through all those names this great act of faith hit me and made an impact upon me.  They trusted, even in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, that God would keep his promise.  As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I also know that God will keep his promise (and promises) made in and through Jesus our Savior.  Sometimes the road may be rocky, the times uncertain, feelings are low, but God will keep his promise(s), especially the promise that he will never turn his back upon me.  All of that out of all those names!

All of Those Places:  As I left the genealogical record and then entered the land records, the records of the cities, towns, and villages given to the priests and Levites, it hit me:  The exile of 587/586 BC should never have happened!  God dispersed his priest and Levites throughout the land in order to teach the children of Israel what was good and acceptable to the Lord.  Unfortunately, many of the priests and Levites abandoned the true God (sure, they worshiped him along with the other gods of the surrounding peoples).  They failed in their mission to keep the people in covenant loyalty with the Lord.  The failed to call the people back into their personal relationship with the Lord.  The Lord spread his priests and Levites out for a reason!  And the priests and Levites failed.

As I read the list of all those cities, towns, and villages, it hit me that the Lord has also sent his people, his Christians, out into the world.  We’re not all located in one nation, one state, one city, one place.  We are scattered all over the world and we’re scattered for a reason, scattered for a purpose:  to bring Jesus and his love and forgiveness with us wherever we go.  We bring Jesus with us so that other people may come to know him as their God and Savior and share eternity with us, with him, forever!

And how do I bring Jesus with me?  Paul tells me how in in the New Testament reading:  Loving in the same measure and way that Jesus loves me.  I do not deserve God’s love because I am a sinner.  God loves me in spite of my sins and sent his Son to die on the cross to forgive my sins.  God the Holy Spirit, through Paul, calls me to love in the same measure, to love in the same way.  I am sent, sent by God, to bring him to people who need to know him!

A prayer:  Lord God Holy Spirit, let me bring Jesus with me today and all days!  Open opportunities so I can share him with people who need him.  This I ask in his Name.  Amen!

Should you wish to access Pastor Kerner’s sermon archive, you can do so at

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 585 South St. (Route 75), Suffield CT 06078 USA  Should you wish to support this ministry, you can mail a check to the church.

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