October 1, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them a command for the children of Israel and for Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. These are the heads of their fathers’ houses: The sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel, were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. These are the families of Reuben. And the sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. These are the families of Simeon. These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. And the years of the life of Levi were one hundred and thirty-seven. The sons of Gershon were Libni and Shimi according to their families. And the sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. And the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred and thirty-three. The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. These arethe families of Levi according to their generations. Now Amram took for himself Jochebed, his father’s sister, as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses. And the years of the life of Amram were one hundred and thirty-seven. The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri. And the sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Zithri. Aaron took to himself Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Nahshon, as wife; and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. And the sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. These are the families of the Korahites. Eleazar, Aaron’s son, took for himself one of the daughters of Putiel as wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites according to their families. These are the same Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, ‘Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.’ These are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are the same Moses and Aaron.”—Exodus 6:13–27 (NKJV)
Be honest, were you tempted to skip over the proceeding passage once you saw that it was a genealogy? Make no mistake, each genealogy is telling an important story—and there’s no exception here.
To understand the significance of what’s being communicated here we need to understand where this appears in the “tug of war” between Pharaoh and God, who is being represented through Moses. At this point, Moses’ message isn’t received by Pharaoh, his people are starting to turn against him, and he’s doubting himself. He’s at a low point, but it’s in this valley of discouragement that God reaffirms the calling He placed on Moses’ life by reminding Moses and Aaron of the mission they’ve been given, which then leads us to the genealogy.
It’s important to remember that Moses wrote Exodus, so the genealogy is something he chose to include at this point. He started with a list of the sons of Israel in order and their sons. This was sort of a “founding fathers” of Israel. But he does something different once he gets to the third son, Levi. Instead of just listing Levi’s sons and moving on to the next son of Israel, he does a deep dive into the successive generations of Levi’s descendants, digging all the way down until he comes to both himself and Aaron. Moses is establishing his personal connection (as well as Aaron’s) to the ancestral tree of Israel. In other words, it’s a way of saying, “Here’s who I am, here’s my place, and here’s where I belong!”
Do you see how important this would be to a man like Moses . . . a man who must have wrestled with identity issues from his earliest memory? He was a Hebrew raised in an Egyptian household only to be forced to flee to a foreign land for many years. But in this genealogy, Moses plants his flag as it pertains to his sense of identity. This is who He is and this is what God has called Him to do. Affirmation in both of these areas was the antidote against the discouragement that Moses must have been wrestling with.
Identity and calling go hand in hand. When we’re sure in who we are, it assures us in what our purpose is. God has settled the identity issue for us. He doesn’t want us to question our identity but wants us sure and secure in the fact that we are His children once we place our faith in Christ. We have a place in His family, a seat at His table, and we’re accepted and loved unconditionally by Him (Ephesians 1:1–6). That’s who we are, that’s our place, and that’s where we belong. And knowing who we are frees us to pursue what we’ve been called to do, to fulfill the purpose our heavenly Father has appointed for us.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”—Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
Pause: What’s Moses’ purpose for writing this genealogy at this point in Exodus?
Practice: Consider how your sense of identity impacts your sense of purpose and calling.
Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for settling the issue of identity for me. Please help me to grow in my security in who You say I am and may this also strengthen my resolve when it comes to fulfilling Your purposed calling for my life. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.