Genesis 46:8-27: Jacob and sons.
“8 These are the names of the sons of Israel (Jacob and his descendants) who went to Egypt: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob.9 The sons of Reuben:Hanok, Pallu, Hezron and Karmi.10 The sons of Simeon:Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.11 The sons of Levi:Gershon, Kohath and Merari.12 The sons of Judah:Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan).The sons of Perez:Hezron and Hamul.13 The sons of Issachar:Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron.14 The sons of Zebulun:Sered, Elon and Jahleel.15 These were the sons Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, besides his daughter Dinah. These sons and daughters of his were thirty-three in all.16 The sons of Gad:Zephon,Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli.17 The sons of Asher:Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah.Their sister was Serah.The sons of Beriah:Heber and Malkiel.18 These were the children born to Jacob by Zilpah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Leah – sixteen in all.19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel:Joseph and Benjamin. 20 In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.21 The sons of Benjamin:Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard.22 These were the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob – fourteen in all.23 The son of Dan:Hushim.24 The sons of Naphtali:Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem.25 These were the sons born to Jacob by Bilhah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel – seven in all.26 All those who went to Egypt with Jacob – those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives – numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two sons who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventyin all.”NIV
Some of us may struggle with reading lists of names in the Bible. But they show us that God works through people; He loves people. He knows all about us; the many details of our lives. He even works through our sins and failures. He is not responsible for them; He does not desire them; but in His sovereignty He can use them. We are names to God, and not just numbers. He knows our (God-enabled) contribution to the story.
A further thought from Tom Hale is worth recording here:
‘Seventy seems like a very small number compared with God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would be like the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5; Deuteronomy 10:22). But God has no problem multiplying numbers. No matter how small our number, no matter how tiny our offering, God will multiply it (Isaiah 60:22). Indeed, there is only one number God can’t multiply:zero. God can create something out of nothing, but He can’t ‘’multiply’’ something that does not exist. We may think that our labour or our offering is insignificant, but it is not insignificant to God; He will multiply it. But He will not multiply what we do not offer Him.’ ‘Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.197.
If you’re in the middle of a day of (apparently) small things, don’t despise it, but remember this truth and be encouraged.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord that you still take the five loaves and two fishes sincerely offered to you, and you use them to feed a multitude.