Reading genealogies in the bible can be daunting. Sometimes you wonder why they're even there, but trust that someone, somewhere has derived a spiritual benefit from them in some way. I've been reading through Chronicles, and the first part is a pretty hefty genealogy. There are some lines in between the hard to pronounce names that tell a little story, but for the most part it is tough to get through. Today, though, the Holy Spirit brought out a couple things to me that I'd like to share.
They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. They were helped in fighting them, and God handed the Hagrites and all their allies over to them, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him...They also took one hundred thousand people captive, and many others fell slain, because the battle was God's. And they occupied the land until the exile. (1 Chronicles 5:19-20 and 22)
From this verse we can see that God answers the prayer of those who trust him. It says that outright actually, so no meditation required there! It begs the question, though -- how much do we trust God? 

Katie and I have been looking for a place to live; a house and also a city that we really feel at home in. It might be where we are, or maybe somewhere else (or maybe nowhere on this planet!). In the home buying process, there is a lot of stress and competition, particularly in a city like Charleston, which has hit about every "top destination" list out there. In the midst of all that stress and anxiety, I have to ask myself two questions found in this scripture: do I trust God to get us the right house, and is this battle even ours? Throughout scripture you will find places where the battle is God's. Sometimes this is a literal battle, but others it's a search, an internal struggle or spiritual forces outside of our realm; ultimately, our sin is the greatest battle that we strive to fight (through good works), but isn't ours to conquer (Christ already did it on the cross).

So think about the things you are going through in life and ask yourself those two questions, and then take the answers to God and see what he has to say about it.

Okay, the second scripture:
They were brave warriors, famous men, and heads of their families. But they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. (1 Chronicles 5:24b-25)
I have had way too many dreams that I have been hanging out with famous people. Owen Wilson, Taylor Swift, Zac Efron...twice (total honesty here). I also like watching those late night shows where famous people talk about random things. (Maybe it's not a coincidence that I worked for E! Entertainment for four years...) So obviously I have some draw towards being famous, or at least being associated with fame. A friend once asked what I wanted in life, and I replied, "To be a person of influence." That makes the desire for fame sound a little more honorable, but it's still there. Since then I have learned that every one of us already has a sphere of influence that God himself designed for us, so the mission is already accomplished I guess. 

Anyway, in this scripture, the things that these people (the half-tribe of Manasseh) attained were what most of us want: courage, fame, notoriety, clout. But it struck me that, even way back in the days of old, before People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight, these people made a trade: fame with men for following God. It's easy to see this happening in modern day, with celebrities selling themselves for the like, but this apparently isn't a new problem. But the outcome is the same for ancient famous people as well as modern -- the fame is temporal, and often replaces a genuine desire for God. Maybe that is why Jesus gave us these heavy words:
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matthew 16:25-26)