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A WORD FOR TODAY, July 2, 2021
“For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world that he might put to shame the things that are strong. God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that don’t exist, that he might bring to nothing the things that exist, that no flesh should boast before God. Because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, as it is written, ‘He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.’” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, WEB
A friend received some old church cookbooks from a town in Pennsylvania with a couple recipes from a woman with our last name. She asked, “Is she related?” My husband was not familiar with her, but I answered, “I am sure there’s a connection if you go far enough back in history.” We discovered accidentally that a friend of ours is related to us via a man about ten generations ago. That man’s sons parted company with one staying in Pennsylvania (Bruce’s line) and hers moving to Indiana. The person in the cookbook could have been related to us by any male offspring in those generations who passed on the surname.
Those many generations have been all but forgotten in our family history. We could do research, many certainly have subscribed to the services that have collected information over the years. I have used some free sites online to understand a genealogy that I have in an old family Bible. I look at those names and wonder who they were and what they did. In the end, all I really know is that the women listed in that bible are my great-+-grandmothers. I’m sure they accomplished many wonderful things but the one thing I know that they accomplished is me, and that seems like a really insignificant reason to have lived.
One of the things I learned about when I visited the exhibit of Sistine Chapel paintings is that one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ was named Salmon. I’d never heard of him, even after decades of Bible study. Who was this Salmon? As it turns out, he’s only mentioned in the Bible a handful of times, and only ever in genealogical lists, most especially in Jesus’ family line. (1 Chronicles 2:10-11, Ruth 4:20-21, Matthew 1:4-5, Luke 3:32.) He was the son of Nahshon, about whom we have a little more information, but not much. In Numbers 2, we learn in the description of the arrangement of the Exodus camp of Israel that Nahshon was appointed the prince, or chief, of the Tribe of Judah. This established his authority and his line as the one through whom God would work the ultimate salvation of the world. He was important, but that’s all we really know about him.
We know even less about his son Salmon. We know more about Salmon’s wife, who was Rahab. Rahab was an innkeeper, perhaps even a prostitute, in Jericho at the time of the Exodus. Word had spread rather quickly that a very powerful God was with the Hebrews. After Moses died, Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua sent spies into the land ahead of the army. The two spies stayed at the home of Rahab the prostitute. When they were discovered, she hid them on her roof and told the men of the city they had left. She believed in the God of Israel and saved the spies with their promise that she would be saved when the attacked the city. Many experts believe that Salmon was one of those spies. Rahab did as she was told and when the Israelites defeated Jericho, she and all her family was saved. We are told at the end of that story in Numbers (chapter 6) that Rahab dwelt in Israel to that day because she saved the two spies.
Not only did she stay, but the genealogies of Jesus show us that she became the mother of Boaz (Salmon was his father) who became the father of Obed, who became the father of Jessie, who became the father of David, who ultimately became the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though Salmon might have been one of the spies, we don’t know this for sure. All we know is that Salmon’s greatest accomplishment is having been a father in the line that led to our Lord Jesus Christ.
None of us are truly insignificant. God has plans for each of us, and while the tasks may be small, they can have eternal consequences. The story of Salmon reminds us that we don’t always know the accomplishments of God’s chosen people, because it isn’t really about us anyway. The story isn’t about Salmon, it is about Jesus. The story isn’t about us, it is about Jesus. So while we may not want to feel insignificant about our lives, Paul reminds us that we have nothing about which to boast, except in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are meant to live our whole life for Him.
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