The History of Us
“While many cities and villages along the Indian Ocean suffered catastrophic losses from the December 2004 tsunami, the port city of Pondicherry, India, and its 300,000 inhabitants were spared. Just beyond city limits, 600 people were killed by the devastating tidal wave, but Pondicherry withstood the tsunami. Why were they protected?
The answer began 250 years ago when France colonized the city. The French built a massive stone seawall. Year after year, the French continued to strengthen the wall, piling huge boulders along its 1.25-mile length.
The French stopped building Pondicherry's seawall in 1957, but their work prepared them for a disaster that would occur five decades into the future.”
Source: Chris Tomlinson, Associated Press (1-4-05).
I can definitely say that God used my past to prepare me for my future
Growing up in a pastor’s home prepared me for pastoring
Graduating from college with a Business Management and Economics degrees has been very helpful
Working in the secular business world for three years helped to develop some skills
Working in two different children’s ministries provided some incredible opportunities for growth
All of those past experiences prepared me for pastoring and molded me into the man I am today
When Judy was younger, she used to tell people she wanted to be a flight attendant, so she could travel the world
One individual challenged her to consider being a teacher
She had not thought about that before, but it made perfect sense to her
She had been teaching with her mother in children’s church for years
Those past experiences led her to pursue an Elementary Education degree in college with an early childhood endorsement
I tell people that Judy is a natural born teacher
I learned a lot from her when I was teaching children with Child Evangelism Fellowship
How many of us are where we are today, because of past experiences (good or bad)
We may have continued in the family business or industry
We may have pursued a particular career path, because of the influence of a teacher or mentor
We may be adverse to certain addictions, because we watched a family member go through a gruesome addiction
We may be single, because we experienced parents that struggled in their relationship and eventually got divorced
We may be successful and wealthy today, because we went through poverty as a child and determined to live a different life
The list could go on and on
Moses once again doubted his calling, because of his fear of speaking, but God already had a plan in place to help him. His brother Aaron would be his mouthpiece. God did not choose Aaron, as Moses’ helper, lightly – He knew where he came from and where he and his family would go. The genealogy that we are going to look at today is important, because it showed Aaron’s pedigree, which proved his worthiness to be Moses’ helper. What the author wants us to understand today is that . . .
BIG IDEA – God can use our past to prepare us for our future.
GOD (Exodus 6:13-27)
Transition Out (v. 13)
This verse transitions the reader out of the narrative
It is a simple statement about how the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh
This is a brief summary statement of everything that the Lord said to Moses and Aaron
The Lord had spoken to Moses in more detail at the burning bush (Horeb)
Perhaps the Lord confirmed everything that Moses shared with Aaron at the mountain of God in Horeb
He commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt
PRINCIPLE #1 – “God’s purpose reaches BACKWARD and forward.” [Enns, 177]
We are going to see through this genealogy that God’s purpose for Moses and Aaron reaches back to their forefather, Levi
God’s purpose for us reaches back to our ancestors also
It is God’s sovereignty at work in our lives
He knew long before we were born what His purpose was going to be for us
He placed us in our family of origin for a reason
He knew what He wanted us to be in the future, so He placed us in exactly the right home to accomplish that
Pastor, Missionary, Farmer, Teacher, Accountant, Doctor/Nurse, Tax Collector, Banker, Social Worker, Factory Worker, Military Personnel, Technician, Information Technology, Media, etc.
For some of us He placed us with a new family, through adoption, so He could accomplish His purpose for us
He gave us natural abilities in certain areas, so we could use them for His glory
Because God is eternal, He has seen our entire life from beginning to end, and has orchestrated specific events to direct us according to His plan and purpose
This should encourage us today
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Worship the Lord for accomplishing His purpose in my life through my ancestors.
God can use our past to prepare us for our future.
Moses begins the genealogy by starting with the families of Jacob/Israel’s two oldest sons
Jacob’s Sons (vv. 14-19)
Connecting to Israel/Jacob
The potential reason that Reuben and Simeon are listed is so the author and the reader can connect Moses and Aaron back to Israel/Jacob
Once the author reaches Levi, the line that Moses and Aaron came from, he does not need to list Israel/Jacob’s other sons
Heads of families
“The Hebrew for families here and in verse 25 refers to units larger than clans.” [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for Exodus 6:14]
The use of this Hebrew word is perhaps based on the fact that this genealogy is telescoping, meaning several generations are skipped
The author goes all the way back to Jacob’s firstborn son
Reuben’s sons (reh-oo-bane’/reh-oo-vane’), meaning “behold a son”
Hanoch (khan-oke’/khan-oak’), meaning “dedicated”
Pallu (pal-loo’), meaning “distinguished”
Hezron (khets-rone’), meaning “surrounded by a wall”
Carmi (kar-mee’/care-mee’), meaning “my vineyard”
These same sons are listed in Gen. 46:9 and Num. 26:5-6
Simeon’s sons (shim-one’/shim-own’), meaning “heard”
Jemuel (yem-oo-ale’), meaning “day of God”
Jamin (yaw-meen’), meaning “right hand”
Ohad (o’-had), meaning “united”
Jakin (yaw-keen’/yaw-kheen’), meaning “He will establish”
Zohar (tso’-khar/tso’-hair), meaning “tawny”
Shaul (shaw-ool’), meaning “desired”
Shaul’s mother is mentioned here as a Canaanite woman
We are not given her name
“Shaul’s mother is probably mentioned because her background was unusual.” [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 130]
These same sons are listed in Gen. 46:10 and Num. 26:12-13 (Ohad is missing from the list in Num. 26:12-13)
Levi’s sons (lay-vee’), meaning “joined to” (he lived 137 years)
Gershon’s sons (gay-resh-one’/gare-shone’), meaning “exile”
Libni (lib-nee’/live-nee’), meaning “white”
Shimei (shim-ee’), meaning “renowned”
Kohath’s sons (keh-hawth’/kay-hawth’), meaning “assembly” (he lived 133 years)
Amram (am-rawm’), meaning “exalted people”
Izhar (yits-hawr’), meaning “shining oil”
Hebron (kheb-rone’/khev-rone’), meaning “association”
Uzziel (ooz-zee-ale’/uz-zee-el’), meaning “my strength is God”
Merari’s sons (mer-aw-ree’), meaning “bitter”
Mahli (makh-lee’), meaning “sick”
Mushi (moo-shee’), meaning “yielding”
The sons of Levi are listed in Gen. 46:11
The sons and some of the grandsons of Levi are listed in Num. 26:57-58
God can use our past to prepare us for our future.
There is obviously a jump in generations from the genealogy of Levi to Moses and Aaron’s family
“For example, according to Genesis 46:11, Kohath is one of the sons of Levi who made the initial journey into Egypt. Hence, there must have been about a 350-year span between Kohath and Moses (since the entire stay in Egypt was 430 years and Moses was 80 at the time of the Exodus; Ex. 7:7; 12:40-41), which makes it unlikely that Kohath is Moses’ great-uncle.” [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 177]
It is probable that the Amram of verse 18 is not the same Amram of verse 20
Throughout the Bible we see the same name being used with different parents, but all part of the same genealogy
We see that thing in our modern culture
My Pappy Johns was Fred Arthur Johns
My Dad is Fred Alan Johns
My brother is Fred Alan Johns II
Some families use grandparent’s, great grandparents, or even further back when choosing names for their children
Trying to determine how this genealogy works is not the focus of the genealogy, rather it is there to show the readers the credentials of Moses and especially Aaron for the commission God has given them
There also seems to be a natural break in the genealogy at the end of verse 19 when the author used the same phrase as he did with Reuben and Simeon’s line – “These were the clans of . . .” (vv. 14, 15, 19)
Moses & Aaron’s Family (vv. 20-25)
Parents of Moses and Aaron
Amram (am-rawm’) married his aunt, Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair’-red), meaning “Jehovah is glory”
Marrying one's aunt was not considered wrong at this time
In Leviticus 18 we see a listing of unlawful sexual relationships
Leviticus 18:6, “No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.”
Leviticus 18:12, “Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.”
The marriage of Amram and Jochebed was prior to the Levitical laws given by the Lord
Aaron and Moses were born as a result of this marriage (we also know that they had sister named Miriam)
Amram lived 137 years
Perhaps the best explanation of what seems like a return to the listing of Kohath’s (keh-hawth’/kay-hawth’) sons is that later generations used the same names for their sons
Notice that Hebron (kheb-rone’/khev-rone’) is not mentioned again (maybe that was not a very popular name at the time)
Also, some of the names will appear again in narratives about Moses and Aaron, so they would have been around at the same time (Moses/Aaron contemporaries)
Izhar’s (yits-hawr’) sons
Korah (ko’rakh/core-rack), meaning “bald”
Assir (as-sere’/ass-seer), meaning “prisoner”
Elkanah (el-kaw-naw’), meaning “God has possessed” or “God has created”
Abiasaph (ab-ee-aw-sawf’/avee-aw-sawf’), meaning “my father has gathered”
In Numbers 16:1-35 we learn of Korah’s opposition to Moses and Aaron
They were Levites, so they served in the Lord’s tabernacle, but they also wanted to get the priesthood too
It was against the Lord that the group banded together
“Korah and his associates had seen the advantages of the priesthood in Egypt. Egyptian priests had great wealth and political influence, something Korah wanted for himself.” [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for Numbers 16:1-3]
We see the outcome of this opposition when God chooses Moses and Aaron and removes Korah and his comrades by allowing the earth to open up and swallow them and having fire come out from the Lord and consuming the 250 men who were offering incense as part of Korah’s group (Num. 16:31-35)
This was not the first time that someone spoke out against Moses
His brother and sister did it earlier (Aaron & Miriam) as we see in Numbers 12:1-16
When they spoke against Moses, the Lord asked them to step outside of the Tent of Meeting
The Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and had Aaron and Miriam step forward, so He could speak to them
When the cloud lifted, Miriam was covered with a skin disease that was white like snow
PRINCIPLE #2 – God holds us accountable for how we treat His leaders.
Korah and his group and Miriam were held accountable for speaking against and opposing God’s chosen leader
God holds us accountable for speaking against and opposing His chosen leaders in our life (boss, supervisor, parent, teacher, pastor, etc.)
God uses different ways to hold us accountable today
He hasn’t caused the earth to open up and swallow a group of people
Perhaps some of the illnesses we experience today may be God holding us accountable
We may not have advanced at our job, because we have not respected the leader that God has placed over us
Read Romans 13:1-7
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Repent of speaking against or opposing God’s chosen leader(s) in my life.
God will hold us accountable for how we treat His leaders
Fortunately for Korah his line did not die out because of his sin (Num. 26:11) – God obviously spared his sons (perhaps they did not join their father in his opposition of Moses and Aaron)
Nepheg (neh’-feg/nef’-egg), meaning “sprout”
Zicri (zik-ree’/zek-ree’), meaning “memorable”
Uzziel’s (ooz-zee-ale’/uz-zee-el’) sons
Mishael (mee-shaw-ale’/mee-sha-el’), meaning “who is what God is”
Elzaphan (el-ee-tsaw-fawn’/elite-sa-fawn’), meaning “my God has protected”
Sithri (sith-ree’), meaning “protection of Jehovah”
We finally get to Aaron’s line
Elisheba (el-ee-sheh’-bah/el-ee-sheh’-vah), meaning “my God has sworn” or “God is an oath”
Father – Amminadab (am-mee-naw-dawb’/ah-mean-ah-dawv’), meaning “my kinsman is noble”
Brother – Nahshon (nakh-shone’), meaning “enchanter”
“The marriage of Aaron to Elisheba (v. 23) is possibly highlighted because her father Amminadab and his son Nahshon are both named in lists involving the ancestry of King David from the tribe of Judah. This link might have enhanced Aaron’s standing within the Israelite community (Sarna, 1991: 27).” [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 137]
“Her brother, Nahshon, is the individual from the tribe of Judah who assists Moses in taking the census (Num. 1:7).” [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 109]
Aaron and Elisheba have four sons
Nadab (naw-dawb’/naw-dawv’), meaning “generous”
Abihu (ab-ee-hoo’/av-ee-hoo’), meaning “he is (my) father”
Perhaps the author grouped Aaron’s sons together because of what happened to the two oldest ones
We find the narrative in Leviticus 10:1-5
Read Leviticus 10:1-5
God was serious about the role of priest and the purity of worship to Him
PRINCIPLE #3 – God is concerned about our worship being pure.
Hold on to that thought for now
We will explore this principle further when get to Aaron’s grandson
The second group was Aaron’s two younger sons who served as priests, with Eleazar following his father as high priest
Eleazar (el-aw-zawr’), meaning “God has helped”
We are not given her name
She is the daughter of Putiel (poo-tee-ale’/poo-tee-el’), meaning “afflicted of God”
She bore Eleazar a son
Phinehas (pee-nekh-aws’/peen-khaus’), meaning “mouth of brass”
PRINCIPLE #1 – “God’s purpose reaches backward and FORWARD.” [Enns, 177]
Phinehas’ was zealous for God’s honor as we see in Numbers 25:1-15 (read that passage)
PRINCIPLE #3 – God is concerned about our worship being pure.
We have to be careful that our corporate worship is not characterized as unauthorized (our worship has to be done in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord)
We also have to make sure that we are worshiping the Lord and not idols (anything that takes precedence over the Lord in our lives is an idol)
Is our worship at church focused on God or on something else? (style of music, volume of music, expression in worship, etc.)
Is our personal worship pure and free from idols?
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Evaluate how I am worshiping the Lord to make sure it is pure.
Ithamar (eeth-aw-mawr’), meaning “coast of palms”
The author concludes the genealogy by stating that these were the heads of the Levite families, clan by clan, which transitions us to the final point
God can use our past to prepare us for our future.
Transition In (vv. 26-27)
At the beginning the author transitioned us out of the narrative to highlight the credentials of Moses and Aaron
Now, he is transitioning us back to the narrative
The same guys
The author wants us to know that the same guys he was talking about at the beginning and whose genealogy we just reviewed are still in view
The order of the brother’s names is Aaron, then Moses, because we have just finished talking about Aaron’s family line
The Lord directed these two men to bring the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions
The word “divisions” is significant here
“The Israelites would not leave Egypt as fleeing slaves but as an army marching to the promised land in military formation.” [Tigay cited by Hamilton, 110]
Aaron and Moses were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt
The author reverses the names to Moses and Aaron to prepare us for the return to the narrative where Moses will be like God to Pharaoh and Aaron would be his prophet
Are you ready to worship the Lord for accomplishing His purpose in your life through your ancestors?
Do you need to repent of speaking against or opposing God’s chosen leader(s) in your life?
Do you need to evaluate how you are worshiping the Lord to make sure it is pure?
We can worship the Lord for accomplishing His purpose in the life of the church through our spiritual ancestors.
Have we spoken against or opposed God’s chosen leaders as a church and do we need to repent?
We strive to have worship that is pure
In CT Magazine, Carlos Ferrer shares his journey from communist Cuba to faith in Christ:
From the earliest time I can remember, I had an intense longing for peace. Born in Havana, Cuba, in the early 1950s, I was aware from a young age that our country was in a constant state of violence. At night, it was common for our family to hear gunfire and bombs going off in the distance. These were the beginning years of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution.
On January 8, 1959, Castro marched into the streets of Havana, and I thought peace had finally been achieved. It wasn’t long, however, before ordinary Cubans began to grasp the true nature of the new communist regime. The government started taking over farmland and businesses, which roused a movement dedicated to overthrowing Castro.
Seeing no future on the island, we decided to make our escape later that year, boarding a commercial ship headed for Veracruz, Mexico. We left in the middle of the night, taking nothing but the clothes we were wearing. My grandfather had some distant cousins living in Mexico City. After we landed in Mexico, they took us into their home for a few months.
In April of 1962, members of my immediate family received resident green cards, allowing us to enter the United States legally and we left for Miami. Then a breakthrough happened: A Baptist church in California answered my father’s application to relocate from Miami.
This church sponsored our family so that we could begin a new life in Santa Barbara. Its generous people found a job for my dad, rented us a house for six months, and supplied us with basic necessities. I couldn’t help but wonder what was motivating these acts of compassion. Why would these people display such love and generosity when we were all but strangers? The question lingered with me for years.
I decided to attend the University of Texas in Austin. As a student, I was confronting some of the biggest questions of life, questions about career, family, and faith. One day I heard a knock on my dorm room door. I opened it to find two students, who told me they were sharing their faith in God with others. They asked the question I most needed at that juncture: ‘Would you want to have a relationship with Christ, who wants to bring you inner peace and eternal salvation?’
I immediately said yes, and we prayed together. Soon thereafter, I thought back to the people of that Baptist church in California, and a light bulb came on in my brain. Why had they helped us? Now it made perfect sense: Because Jesus had loved them so abundantly, they wanted to share that love with others … through their generosity and kindness.
A few years later, the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (now the North American Mission Board) came calling, offering the position of financial controller. After taking the job, I heard that my new employer had been involved in helping resettle Cuban refugees in the 1960s. I asked if, by chance, the organization had worked with any churches in California.
The leader of the mission board’s refugee resettlement office called me over. He was holding a file folder. With tears in his eyes, he said, ‘Carlos, this is the church that sponsored your family. This is your file.’ You can imagine my complete astonishment. What an amazing path the Lord had prepared for me years before I even considered inviting him into my life.
Nearly half a century has passed since my decision to follow Jesus, and I have no regrets. I am eternally thankful for the people God placed in my life to bring me the peace I always desired.
Source: Carlos Ferrer, “Fleeing Castro, Finding Christ,” CT Magazine (November, 2019), pp. 103-104.