The List of Names of Men

“And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of the tribe of Reuben; Elizur the son of Shedeur.” (Numbers 1:5)

These are the first entries in several long lists of names here in the book of Numbers–all names of men in the twelve tribes of Israel. We know nothing about most of these men except their names, so it is natural to wonder why God had Moses include them in the inspired Scriptures.

In fact, this is one of the objections that skeptics and liberals have raised against the doctrine of verbal inspiration of the Bible. What possible spiritual or doctrinal or practical purpose could be accomplished through these lists of names for any future readers of the Bible?

And there are, indeed, many such lists of names. For example, the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles consist almost entirely of names. Then there are the lists in Ezra 2; Ezra 10; Nehemiah 7, 11, and 12; Romans 16; and others.

Information is included about some of these people, of course, and even the meaning of the names may warrant speculation about their parents’ hopes for the children.

But there is also another very cogent reason for God to have included all these names of relatively less significant people in His book. He wants to assure us that He is interested not only in the Abrahams, Daniels, Pauls, and other great men in His kingdom, but also in the Elizurs and Shedeurs and Bills and Kates in His spiritual family.

There are many millions of names “written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27), and the heavenly Lamb–the Lord Jesus Christ–is also the Good Shepherd that “calleth his own sheep by name” (John 10:3). The names in His book here on earth are an assurance that He knows and calls us by each of our names in His book in heaven.


HM

The Sum of Christianity

I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you. JOHN 13:15

Mark it down. We are what we see. If we see only ourselves, our tombstones will have the same epitaph Paul used to describe enemies of Christ: “Their god is their own appetite, they glory in their shame, and this world is the limit of their horizon” (Phil. 3:19).

Humans were never meant to dwell in the stale fog of the lowlands with no vision of their Creator.…

Seeing Jesus is what Christianity is all about. Christian service, in its purest form, is nothing more than imitating him whom we see. To see his majesty and to imitate him, that is the sum of Christianity.

God Came Near

A NOBLE MOTIVATION

At dawn on the first day, Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary went to look at the tomb. MATTHEW 28:1

It isn’t hope that leads [Mary and Mary Magdalene] up the mountain to the tomb. It is duty. Naked devotion. They expect nothing in return. What could Jesus give? What could a dead man offer? The two women are not climbing the mountain to receive, they are going to the tomb to give. Period.

There is no motivation more noble …

Service prompted by duty. This is the call of discipleship.

from HE STILL MOVES STONES

Faith in All the Ages

“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets.” (Hebrews 11:32)

Hebrews 11 is a thrilling catalog of the faithful servants of God in all the ancient ages. There were Abel, Enoch, and Noah before the Flood; then Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph in the patriarchal age; followed by Moses, Joshua, and Rahab in the time of the exodus and conquest. Finally, today’s verse summarizes the periods of the judges (Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthae), the kings (Samuel, David), and the prophets.

All these were men and women of great faith, though each had to endure great testing. They, as the writer says, “stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword . . . had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder . . . destitute, afflicted, tormented” (Hebrews 11:33-37).

In every age, men and women of faith were more often than not despised and persecuted by the world (even by the religious world!), but the Bible notes, parenthetically, that it was they “of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38). In God’s sight, they all “obtained a good report through faith” (Hebrews 11:39), and this is worth more than all the world, for it is the entrance into a far better and eternal world.

Note that faith is not a sentimental wishfulness, but a strong confidence in God and His Word, through Jesus Christ, who is Himself “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Like those of past ages, we can also “run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1), through the faith He offers us.

by Henry Morris, Ph.D.