December 4th, 2011 – 2 Chronicles 3-4

Click here to read II Chronicles 3-4 on BibleGateway.com

 

People talk a lot about “pet peeves,” those little things that get on your nerves, that even you know is kinda ridiculous to get so upset about, but it still bugs you. Like when people take up two parking spaces to protect their 2003 volvo. Or when somebody cuts in front of you at Subway, and then spends 45 minutes deciding to get the cold cut combo on white. 6 inch. With no toppings. It just makes you want to rain blows down upon them with a package of oscar meyer baloney (and yes, I know how it’s spelled. It should be spelled “baloney.” pet peeve #573.)

However, there’s also what I like to call “pet amusements,” which are the little things that make you smirk and shake your head, but not really get mad. For instance, name dropping. We all have friends that say things like, “so, I went to a conference, and I shook Billy Graham’s hand; I prayed for him quick (in my mind) that he would preach good, so i’m sure that’s why it went so well tonite.” “or, yeah, I was at woodstock. I put out Jimmy’s guitar,” or “so, I was just hanging out at Mickey D’s the other night, and Postmaster Dave was there.” I never really get mad at that sort of thing, but it does make me smirk. And mock just a little.

“AND THEN, AFTER I HELPED HIM KILL GOLIATH…”

But, then we read passages like today’s in the Bible, and it turns out that name dropping has been going on as long as men have been wearing fig leaf underpants. In 2 Chronicles, we read about Solomon building the temple, and notice some of the names that come up: David is mentioned twice in the first sentence; in verse 17 we read about Boaz (the noble man who married Ruth); and my favorite in the Subtle Name Dropping category, the temple mount is referred to as Mount Moriah (instead of Mount Zion), the site where Abraham sacrificed Isaac.

Why all the references to the past? In the ancient world, establishing a link with a famous ancestor was fairly important. Often kings would reuse the names of famous predecessors, hoping to incur some of their awesomeness. The Bible has several instances where family trees are traced in some detail; actually, it’s more like excruciating detail. So they must have thought it was pretty important.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

We do the same thing today, but we are a little less open about it. How many Rockefellers do you know that are anxious to change their last name? How many people do you know with the first name of Judas? It was actually a fairly common name, until that one guy messed it up for everybody. The truth is, all of us are influenced by the names in our past, and we’d like to keep the good as brightly lit as possible, and the bad as shadowy as we can get away with.

Interestingly, the Bible gives us a nice little bonus in this situation. John 1:12 tells us that we have the opportunity to become “children of God.” Most of us would be content to known as a descendent of Charlemagne or Louis XIV, so shouldn’t we be ecstatic to hear that we are actually in the Bloodline of God himself?

Think of that next time some doofus sneaks into the express with 14 items instead of 10; and try not to lay them out with your rapidly melting frozen lasagna. You have a family reputation to think of.

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