Nehemiah saw God’s activity in all areas of his life. He even attributed God’s moving him to record the genealogies of the returned exiles. He says, “Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first…” The rest of the chapter records the lists of the “sons” of those who “belong” to the original immigrants along with their home towns.

I’ve become interested in my genealogy as I’ve grown older. But I can only trace my father’s side. My mother was adopted and never knew her father, therefore, I never knew my grandfather on her side. I’ve tried several things, but can’t find out who he was. Further, I can only trace my father’s side back a couple generations because they came from Denmark and didn’t maintain their genealogies. There were times when that bothered me and I know it broke my mother’s heart when she learned she was adopted and never knew her real father. There is a sense of identity in our heritage.

The scriptures teach us that when we come to faith in Jesus we “belong” to Him, and our names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life. Although we may have lost our original heritage, we’ve inherited a new one. Maybe that’s another reason why coming to faith in Jesus in a true biblical sense is referred to as being “born again.”

There’s a fascinating difference between the genealogies of Genesis and the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew. The constant refrain in Genesis 10 is “and he died…” Death is never mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy even though the physical men and women did die. But it suggests to me that by our sinful nature we are in Adam’s genealogy of death, but by our spiritual “?new birth?” we appear in Christ’s living register of the redeemed. Maybe you’ve heard story of the man whose name showed up in the obituaries by mistake. He complained to the newspaper, “This is terrible! How could you do such a thing??” The editor apologized and said, “Cheer up, I’ll put your name in the birth column tomorrow and give you a fresh start!?” That’s what happens when we find new life in Christ.

Now I know who I am!

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)