And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."
As Moses foresees the rebellious future of the nation he helped birth, he speaks to the generation that will see the most tragic punishment and the longest exile: the generation that hosted the Word made flesh, the generation of the Master (Deuteronomy 32:5; Matthew 16:4). He tells them, Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you (Deuteronomy 32:7).
The Scriptures devote whole chapters to genealogies. People used to memorize them. It was their main education, their link with the past. As these texts unfold, they teach us lessons. They help us peer into the past and discover our personal fiber so to speak. It tells us who we are and where we’re from, which in turn helps us know where we are going and how to get there. Very important lessons are imbedded in the genealogies.
Today many people have an ‘identity crisis’. This is the epitome of silliness, but even more,: of rebelliousness. We live in a generation that desperately tries to disconnects itself from its past. Since the 60’s it seems, every generation defines itself as an antithesis to the one that birthed it. This creates a very unhealthy and unstable cultural environment.
Every generation stands on the shoulders of the former ones. Cars would never have ran, appliances never found our homes, and computers never been on our desks if it were not for the ancients who gave us the wheel, mathematics, and taught us how to harness electricity.
Come to think of it, this rebelliousness goes back much farther, especially when it comes to our faith. Already in the second century C.E. the messianic movement among the gentiles defined itself against the Jewish matrix that birthed it, which eventually created a religion with no legs and feet: a house with no foundation (Luke 6:47-49). As always though, as depressing as looking into the past can be, the Scriptures offer us the hope of a more connected future when in the messianic age generations will be reconnected (Malachi 4:6; Luke 1:17).
May we hear today Moses’ cry, Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you (Deuteronomy 32:7), and learn!