Have you ever watched the TV shows Finding Your Roots or Who Do You Think You Are? Basically, both shows involve famous people who go on a search to discover more about their ancestors. They usually begin the search with a deep hunger to know more about someone in their father’s or mother’s bloodline. The journey of discovery often takes them back to faraway places. About five years ago, I started my own search. I knew my grandmother came from Annapolis, but I wanted to know more about my grandfather, who came from Monroe, N.C. You see, I had traveled there with an older cousin Myrtle, my sister Bessie and my cousin Lillian when we were kids. We were thrilled to meet one particular household of cousins and had a great time, but after that trip, we never went back and soon lost touch. I’ve made myself content but occasionally wonder who I’d find if I ever went to Monroe again. Would anybody even remember me, my cousins or the visit?
In the book of Nehemiah, Chapter: 6- 70, we see another list of people, the first wave of exiles who returned to Jerusalem after spending years in a foreign country, Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar. God directed Nehemiah to register the people by genealogy ( family lineage). About the same time, Nehemiah found that earlier list. Forty-two thousand people had been listed. But one verse troubled me. In verse 61, one group had a serious problem: They could not identify their father’s house nor their bloodline. That was serious! No one could verify if they were Israelites. They were excluded, considered as outcasts, devoid of privileges. Their fate was in the hands of the priest, who had to cast lots to determine their destiny.
I can imagine how the undocumented ones felt: scared, lonely, alienated, like lost sheep, forgotten. Since studying this passage today, I’ve been hearing a familiar praise song by Israel. I may have mentioned it in a previous post: “I am not forgotten, never forsaken. He knows my name.” Often, during times of extreme temptation–sickness, joblessness, divorce, incarceration, bankruptcy, and the like, the devil wants us to think God has forgotten us. We may feel like undocumented aliens, in a foreign land, but we have to remind ourselves who we are, children of the Most High God! Trials will come, but God is Our Father and we are not forgotten!
Memory Verse: Romans 8:37- 38 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
WEEK TWELVE ASSIGNMENT: Read Chapter 8:1-12 and use the GROW METHOD to find your treasure. (G-God 1st; R-Read; O-Observe key words;and W-Write your thought). Answer these questions:
1. Who was Ezra and what did he do?
2. What advice did the leaders give the people?