What has your life done with your family name? I know, that’s an awfully personal question, but think about it. My answer would be: “Well, that depends on which day/month/year you are focusing on.” There have been days that I brought shame on the name of Sublett and there have also been those that brought honor. That is probably true with you too. However, it is unlikely that it has been 50% shame, 50% honor. More than likely it slants to either shame or honor.
The reason I’m bringing this up stems from a class I’m teaching on the Old Testament book of Ezra. There Ezra records 2 lists of families; one a list of HONOR, the other a list of SHAME.
Ezra 8:1-14 lists those families who traveled with him, the 900 miles, over 4.5 months, from Babylon to Jerusalem. Ezra lists 15 clan names and 10 father’s names and 18 names of individuals who actually made the journey. The mere mention of those 18 names brought honor to their clan and to those fathers. What they were a part of was of HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE to the Jewish nation. Every family member, through out the generations that followed, could with honor identify themselves as a relative of one of the 18 who were a part of Ezra’s return. And every time those 18 were proudly mentioned, the 15 clans were honored and so were the 10 fathers.
Ezra 10:18-44 is the other side of the coin. There Ezra records the names of 16 clans and 1 father who bore the shame of some of their descendants marrying outside the Jewish faith, marring pagans, some even having children with the pagans.
In our modern culture, that “sin” is thought to be “no big deal”, after all “you have the right to marry who you want.” But that attitude puts on public display for all to see, a total ignorance of Jehovah God Almighty. Marrying a pagan, an idol worshiper, someone who did not worship Jehovah, was a serious betrayal of the covenant Jehovah made with Israel.
So how did Jehovah instruct Ezra to handle this filthy mess? God sent a message through Shekaniah in Ezra 10:1-4 that told Ezra to lead the people to renew the covenant with Jehovah and send the foreign wives and children away. Can you imagine the pain and agony that filled Israel on the day of the “putting away”; all because of their sin.
And once again, in our modern times, God, Ezra and all of Israel would have been called bigots and racists from every corner of the globe. They would all be chastised with unrelenting ferocity; again, showing a complete ignorance of Jehovah.
In Israel, however, every time those betrayers’ names were mentioned, the family clans bore some of the shame. Kind of like, “Oh, so you are part of Lee Harvey Oswald’s family.” Even though they didn’t do anything wrong, by some, they would still get that look, that tone of voice that splashed a little of the shame on them.
So, what are you doing with your family name? Do you really want to splash shame on your family when they didn’t do anything wrong? If you won’t re-consider the foolish thing you are about to do for yourself, think about your mom and dad and others in your clan. Is it fair to them to have to bear some of your shame? Thinking about that just might help you re-think. Maybe you could choose to do something honorable instead. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at email@example.com.
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