1 Chronicles 4: Lessons on God’s Blessings from the Inheritance Given to Judah and Simeon

Introduction: After tracing certain family lines of Judah, Chronicles traces other members of the tribes of Judah and Simeon who returned from exile to settle in the land of Judah. From God’s inheritance for these two tribes, He reveals seven lessons regarding His blessings.

First, the tribe of Judah included a line of descendants that ran from Perez through Ashur. Like the other lines, this was a line that included sinners from beginning to end. Perez was the son of an incestuous union between Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar. Ashur was a polygamist. Yet, despite their sins, God blessed this sinful line with His mercy and grace. Like this line of Judah, God can bless you with His mercy and grace. Second, as part of God’s grace, He also rewarded the descendants of Judah when they demonstrated faith. This included Jabez, whom God rewarded for his faith. Like Jabez, God can also bless you for your faith. Third, this line of Judah also included obscure descendants that are no longer remembered. Because He loves you, God will bless you by remembering you when you are in need. Fourth, the line of Judah also included heroes of the faith, like Othniel, Israel’s first judge or deliverer, and Caleb, who encouraged the Jews to take the Promised Land. God rewarded them for their faithful service. Like Othniel and Caleb, God can bless you when you faithfully serve Him. Fifth, the tribe of Simeon had no inheritance of a territory of their own because of their sins. Yet, Judah shared its land inheritance with Simeon. Both Judah and Simeon were blessed because Judah shared with its brother in need. God can also bless you when you share with others in need. Sixth, God blessed the members of the tribe of Simeon with lands within Judah to return to following the exile of the Jewish nation. Like Simeon, God can bless you with His spiritual inheritance. Finally, some members of the tribe of Simeon acted in faith to seize the opportunity given to them by serving God and living righteously. For their faith, God blessed them with honors and lands. God can also bless you when you seize and use your spiritual inheritance for His glory.

1. God Can Bless You With His Mercy and Grace. 1 Chr. 4:1-7.

  • The descendants of Judah through Perez. After recording other descendants of Judah, Chronicles next traces the line of other descendants through his son Perez: “1 The sons of Judah were Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur and Shobal. Reaiah the son of Shobal became the father of Jahath, and Jahath became the father of Ahumai and Lahad. These were the families of the Zorathites. These were the sons of Etam: Jezreel, Ishma and Idbash; and the name of their sister was Hazzelelponi. Penuel was the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These were the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem. Ashhur, the father of Tekoa, had two wives, Helah and Naarah. Naarah bore him Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah. The sons of Helah were Zereth, Izhar and Ethnan.” (1 Chr. 4:1-7). Although the English word “sons” would suggest that each person listed was the son of the person in the preceding verse, the word “sons” can have different meanings in Hebrew. It can also include descendants. Many Bible scholars believe that some of the sons listed in this chapter were in fact descendants under different family trees.

  • God’s grace at the beginning of the Perez family tree. Although Perez was patriarch in the line leading to David, he had an ignoble heritage. Perez was the son of Judah and Tamar. At the time Tamar conceived her son Perez, Judah was negotiating with what he thought was a “temple prostitute,” who was really Tamar in disguise (Gen. 38:16-17). This suggested that his father Judah was involved in temple prostitution. Judah then showed himself to be a hypocrite for saying that Tamar should be killed for having sex outside of marriage (Gen. 38:24). Because Tamar was in fact Judah’s daughter-in-law, Judah broke God’s laws regarding sexual purity (Lev. 18:15; 20:10). As a result of this incestuous union, Tamar gave birth to twins, Perez and Zerah (Gen. 38:27-30; 1 Chr. 2:4; 4:1). Tamar (along with Rebekah) was one of only two people in the Bible to have had recorded twins. The ignoble heritage leading to Perez’ birth shows that God’s blessings are based on His grace. His mercy and grace are available for all sinners.

Arent de Gelder (1645-1727) “Judah and Tamar” (oil painting 1667)1

  • Hezron, Carmi, Hur and Shobal. Many of the other names on this list are not as well known as Perez. The next person within this section, Hezron, was not Judah’s “son.” He was in fact Judah’s grandson. Carmi also was not Judah’s son. Instead, he was one of Judah’s descendants through his other twin son Zerah. Hur was Judah’s descendant through Caleb, and Shobal was a descendent of Hur (1 Chr. 4:1).

  • The Zorathites. After covering generations of descendants in a single verse, Chronicles next reveals the origins of the Zorathites, a people who formed the city of Zorah in the lowlands of Judah. (1 Chr. 4:2). Chronicles traces their origins through Reaiah, who is also referred to as Haroeh (1 Chr. 2:52). Reaiah’s descendants leading to the Zorathites ran through Jahath, Ahumai, and Lahad (1 Chr. 4:2). These descendants also inhabited Zoreah (1 Chr. 2:53). Although this might not seem relevant to modern readers, God recorded these details to show that He had a home for each Jew who returned home.

  • The Etamites. The descendants of Judah also included the inhabitants of Etam, which many believe was near the town of Zorah (Jdg. 15:8). It was near Bethlehem. Etam’s descendants included Jezreel, Ishma, Idbash and Hazelelponi (1 Chr. 4:3). God again included these important details to show that each Jew had a home in Judah.

  • The Bethlehemites. The descendants of Judah also included the founder of Bethlehem. The line leading to the founding of Bethlehem led through Penuel, Gedor, Ezer, Hushah and Hur. Ephratah was the founder of this city (1 Chr. 4:4). Micah later prophesied that this small town would give birth to the Messiah: “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you one will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2). Jesus later fulfilled this prophecy: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,” (Matt. 2:1). God also included these details to show that these descendants had a home to return to.

  • God’s grace at the end of the family tree through Perez. Sin did not begin and end with the founder of the line of Judah. It ran throughout its genealogy. As an example of this, Chronicles records that Tekoa’s father Ashur had two wives, Helah and Naarah (1 Chr. 4:5). From the beginning, God intended for marriage to be limited to one man and one woman (Matt. 19:4-6; Gen. 2:23-24; 1 Tim. 3:2). Lamech, the first polygamist, was also a murderer (Gen. 4:19). Every person in the Bible who took multiple wives suffered for doing so. Out of grace, God recorded the descendants of this polygamist marriage. Ashur’s second wife Naarah had descendants that included: Zereth, and Zoar, and Ethnan (1 Chr. 4:6). These names are not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. Yet, they are recorded to show God’s grace from the beginning to end of this lineage. In addition to showing God’s grace, Tekoa founded a city with his name. God was again demonstrating that He had not forgotten any of His people or His promises.

  • God can also bless you with His mercy and grace. Just as God showed mercy and grace toward His people, He can also bless you with His mercy and grace: “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16). If you are grateful for the mercy and grace that you have received, Paul calls upon you to live your life as a holy sacrifice for God’s use (Ro. 12:1). How are you giving thanks for the mercy and grace He has given you?

  • God is faithful even when we are not. God kept His promises to return the Jews to the Promised Land even though they did not deserve it. As a believer in Jesus, you can also celebrate that God will always be faithful to keep His promises to you. This is true even when your faith fails you. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13). This is yet another reason for you to give thanks.

2. God Can Bless You For Your Faith. 1 Chr. 4:8-10.

  • God honors Jabez’ faith. As part of God’s grace, He also rewarded the descendants of Judah when they demonstrated faith: “Koz became the father of Anub and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum. Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.” (1 Chr. 4:8-10). Jabez’ name meant “son of sorrow.” This account showed that Jabez overcame the sorrow in his life through his faith in God.

Jabez was a man of faith who regularly prayed to God2

  • God can reward your faithful prayers. Nothing is known of the line leading to Jabez. Unlike the families in the preceding verses, they did not go on to found important cities in Judah. It is assumed that he came from a line that held no wealth or influence. Yet, Jabez was a man rich in faith. His faith lead him to lead a Spirit-led life of obedience and righteousness. As a man of faith, Jabez cried out for God to “enlarge [his] border.” This included protection from the many sources of harm and pain in his life. God rewarded his faithful prayers (1 Chr. 4:9-10). God can also reward your faithful fervent prayers: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Ja. 5:16). The apostles followed Jabez’ example by continually praying for others. “. . . I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,” (2 Tim. 1:3). “. . . we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” (Col. 1:9). “do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;” (Eph. 1:16). “as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, . . .” (1 Thess. 3:10). You are part of Jesus’ holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). As His appointed priest, you also have the power of intercessory prayer. Yet, it doesn’t work if you lack faith. “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, . . .” (Jam. 1:6). Are you praying for others in need?

  • God can enlarge your scope of influence when you serve Him. Jabez cried out for God to “enlarge my border.” (1 Chr. 4:10). If this were a selfish prayer for more wealth, God would not have honored it. Yet, God rewarded Jabez because he sought to expand his territory to serve God. God promised to “enlarge” the Jews’ borders if they were faithful: “When Yahweh your God shall enlarge your border, as He has promised you, and you shall say, I will eat flesh, because your soul desires to eat flesh; you may eat flesh, after all the desire of your soul.” (Dt. 12:20). Because God knew the people lacked the faith to believe this promise, He repeated it many times throughout the Bible: “For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders;” (Ex. 34:24). “If Yahweh your God enlarges your border, . . .” (Dt. 19:8). “You have increased the nation, O Yahweh. You have increased the nation! You are glorified! You have enlarged all the borders of the land.” (Is. 26:15). God also wants you to have faith in His promises to “enlarge your borders.” If you don’t believe that God can do this, He won’t: “For without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6). Are you asking God to stretch your church, family, or business’ borders in ways that will serve Him?

  • God can also protect you when you cry out to Him. Jabez also cried out that God “would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” (1 Chr. 4:10). Jesus also promises to protect you from the evil one when you cry out in faith: “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thess. 3:3). “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”’ (Matt. 6:13). Are you praying for protection?

3. God Will Bless You By Remembering You When You Are in Need. 1 Chr. 4:11-12.

  • The men of Recah. The line of Judah also included the descendants who founded Recah: “11 Chelub the brother of Shuhah became the father of Mehir, who was the father of Eshton. 12 Eshton became the father of Beth-rapha and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Ir-nahash. These are the men of Recah.” (1 Chr. 4:11-12). Unlike some of the previously mentioned cities, Rechah was so small and insignificant that modern historians can no longer identify it within the territory of Judah. Yet, God faithfully recorded the descendants who founded this town to show that everyone was important.

  • God will also never forget you or forsake you. Like the members of Judah’s tribe, God will not forget you when others do: “Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” (Is. 49:15). “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me up.” (Ps. 27:10). God will also never forsake you nor leave you (Dt. 31:6; Heb. 13:5).

4. God Can Bless You When You Faithfully Serve Him. 1 Chr. 4:13-23.

  • The descendants of Othniel and Caleb. God’s records of the people of Judah also included heroes of the faith, like Othniel (Israel’s first judge or deliverer) and Caleb (who encouraged the Jews to take the Promised Land): “13 Now the sons of Kenaz were Othniel and Seraiah. And the sons of Othniel were Hathath and Meonothai. 14 Meonothai became the father of Ophrah, and Seraiah became the father of Joab the father of Ge-harashim, for they were craftsmen. 15 The sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh were Iru, Elah and Naam; and the son of Elah was Kenaz. 16 The sons of Jehallelel were Ziph and Ziphah, Tiria and Asarel. 17 The sons of Ezrah were Jether, Mered, Epher and Jalon. (And these are the sons of Bithia the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took) and she conceived and bore Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. 18 His Jewish wife bore Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Soco, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. 19 The sons of the wife of Hodiah, the sister of Naham, were the fathers of Keilah the Garmite and Eshtemoa the Maacathite. 20 The sons of Shimon were Amnon and Rinnah, Benhanan and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were Zoheth and Ben-zoheth. 21 The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were Er the father of Lecah and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of the linen workers at Beth-ashbea; 22 and Jokim, the men of Cozeba, Joash, Saraph, who ruled in Moab, and Jashubi-lehem. And the records are ancient. 23 These were the potters and the inhabitants of Netaim and Gederah; they lived there with the king for his work.” (1 Chr. 4:13-23). God was faithful to reward those who served Him. This included gentiles grafted into the Jewish line. Othniel was a foreigner. As another example, Mered married “Bithia the daughter of Pharaoh.” (1 Chr. 4:17). God rewarded His faithful followers regardless of pedigree.

  • God rewarded Othniel for his faith-led obedience. During the time period of the Judges, God heard the cries of His people and raised up Caleb’s nephew Othniel to become Israel’s first deliverer: “9 When the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11 Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.” (Jdgs. 3:9-11). Caleb previously gave his daughter Achsah to his nephew Othniel after he accepted Caleb’s challenge to capture the Canaanite city of “Kiriath-sepher” (Jdgs. 1:9-13; Josh. 15:13-17). Caleb used his God-given inheritance to inspire others like Othniel to serve God. Even though Othniel was a foreign Kenizzite (Josh. 14:4), God used him and rewarded him for his faith. God gave him a wife, his own special inheritance, and the privilege of becoming Israel’s first deliverer. He is also remembered through the book of Chronicles for the long lineage of descendants that came from him. Many had their own accomplishments. For example, Seraiah was Othniel’s brother, and father to Joab. Joab settled in Charashim, which means craftsmen.

God rewarded Othniel for his faith-led obedience3

  • God rewarded Caleb for his faith-led obedience. This list of descendants also included Caleb. Caleb was a hero of the faith. Caleb and Joshua were the only two spies who did not fear the “giants” in the Promised Land (Nu. 13:30). For his faith, God gave him the lands that he walked upon as a special inheritance for his descendants (Josh. 14:6-9). Like Othniel, God also rewarded Caleb by recording his descendants in 1 Chronicles.

  • God will also reward you for your service to Him. When you faithfully serve God, He will also reward you: “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” (Heb. 6:10). How are you serving God?

5. God Can Bless You When You Share With Others in Need. 1 Chr. 4:24-27.

  • The tribe of Judah shared land with Simeon. Those who returned from exile to the land of Judah also included descendants of the tribe of Simeon: “24 The sons of Simeon were Nemuel and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, Shaul; 25 Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son. 26 The sons of Mishma were Hammuel his son, Zaccur his son, Shimei his son. 27 Now Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brothers did not have many sons, nor did all their family multiply like the sons of Judah.” (1 Chr. 4:24-27). Although Simeon had descendants, they did not multiply like Judah. They also had no land of their own. Yet, the tribe of Judah blessed them by sharing their inheritance.

  • God’s grace in giving an inheritance to the tribe of Simeon. Simeon was the second son of Jacob and Leah, the unloved wife (Gen. 29:33). Although he would have become the first-born child in terms of his rights of inheritance after Rueben’s sins in sleeping with his father’s concubine, Simeon later lost his chance to become the first-born due to his own sins. After his sister was raped, Simeon and Levi killed the people of Shechem in cold blood as an act of revenge. They further defamed God in doing so by asking the people to Shechem to be circumcised in order to make peace with them. They then slaughtered the men as they recovered (Gen. 28:27-29; 34:25-26). At the time of Jacob’s death, he warned that Simeon’s descendants were cursed because of his actions. They would be “scattered” throughout Israel: “Let my soul not enter into their council; let not my glory be united with their assembly . . . I will disperse them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.” (Gen. 49:6-7). Unlike Levi (Josh. 13:32-14:5), the Simeon tribe never repented for the sins of its father. Zimri was also a leader from the tribe of Simeon. He openly brought a temple harlot home for all to see after God began to punish the nation of Israel for its temple prostitution (Nu. 25:6, 14). Of the 24,000 people who died in God’s punishment (Nu. 25:9), most were believed to be from this tribe. While in the wilderness, Simeon’s tribe declined in size from 59,300 to 22,200 fighting men (Nu. 1:23; 26:14). This was a decrease of 37,100 fighting men or 62.56% of its fighting aged population. In absolute terms, Simeon went from being the third largest tribe to the smallest. At the conclusion of his life, Moses blessed all of the tribes except for the tribe of Simeon (Dt. 33). Sadly, they continued to diminish in strength after entering Israel, just as God foretold through Jacob. Many believe that the tribe was eventually absorbed by the tribe of Judah. Yet, Chronicles shows that God was faithful to remember His people, when the people forgot their heritage. In a foreshadowing of Jesus, the people of Simeon found their salvation by turning to the tribe of Judah. Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Judah who brings salvation for all who turn to Him (Rev. 5:5).

  • The inheritance given to the tribe of Simeon. Out of Judah’s generosity and God’s grace, the tribe of Simeon received lands that were spread out within Judah’s territory: “The inheritance of the sons of Simeon was taken from the portion of the sons of Judah, for the share of the sons of Judah was too large for them; so the sons of Simeon received an inheritance in the midst of Judah’s inheritance.” (Josh. 19:9). By being spread out within the lands of Judah, Jacob’s prophecy was fulfilled (Gen. 49:6-7). Yet, even though their inheritance was scattered amongst cities within the lands of Judah in southern Israel, they were still important to God. Every child of God is important to Him, and He offers to provide for the needs of His people. This promise applies to you as well: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19).

  • God will also bless you when you serve others. Unlike the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh who complained about their inheritance, the tribe of Judah was willing to share from the inheritance that God had given it: “The men of Judah did not oppose taking away the cities within their border, when convinced that they had more than was right. If a true believer has obtained an unintended and improper advantage in anything, he will give it up without murmuring. Love seeketh not her own, and doth not behave unseemly; it will induce those in whom it richly dwells, to part with their own to supply what is lacking to their brethren.” (Matthew Henry on Joshua Chapter 19). Jesus also calls on you to provide for Him by caring for your brothers and sisters in need: “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” (Matt. 25:40). When you serve others, Jesus promises to bless you: “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Matt. 10:42). Like the people of Judah who gave from their inheritance, will you give from your spiritual inheritance to help others?

6. God Can Bless You With a Spiritual Inheritance in Him. 1 Chr. 4:28-33.

  • The territory given to Simeon. For the members of the tribe of Simeon who returned to Judah, God was faithful to record the locations of their homes: “28 They lived at Beersheba, Moladah and Hazar-shual, 29 at Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, 30 Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, 31 Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-biri and Shaaraim. These were their cities until the reign of David. 32 Their villages were Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen and Ashan, five cities; 33 and all their villages that were around the same cities as far as Baal. These were their settlements, and they have their genealogy.” (1 Chr. 4:28-33). Many of these towns were located in the extreme southern part of Judah (Josh. 15:26, 29). Baal is not a reference to the Canaanite god. It is instead a town with the full name of Baalath-beer.

The territory given to the tribe of Simeon4

  • Jesus also has an inheritance for all of His people. Jesus is your High Priest (Heb. 4:14). To fulfill the Law, He lived without owning land while He lived as man on Earth (Matt. 8:20; Lk. 9:58). Just as He provided for the people of Simeon who had no right to an inheritance, He will provide an inheritance in heaven for each of His believers: “And it shall be with regard to an inheritance for them, that I am their inheritance; and you shall give them no possession in Israel-- I am their possession.” (Ezek. 44:28). “The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words.” (Ps. 119:57). “The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot.” (Ps. 16:5). “But you will be called the priests of the LORD; you will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs.” (Is. 61:6-7). The Holy Spirit is His down payment on your eternal inheritance: “who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” (2 Cor. 1:22). Also, when you act in one accord with your fellow believers for Christ, Jesus further gives part of His glory to you (Jo. 17:22). Thus, unlike the Jews, you have an inheritance of both land and a relationship with Jesus in heaven. If you are grateful for what you are going to receive, how are you thanking Him? (Ro. 12:1-2).

7. God Can Bless You When You Seize Your Spiritual Inheritance. 1 Chr. 4:34-43.

  • The descendants of Amaziah. This chapter of Chronicles concludes with the descendants of Amaziah within the tribe of Simeon: “34 Meshobab and Jamlech and Joshah the son of Amaziah, 35 and Joel and Jehu the son of Joshibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, 36 and Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, 37 Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah; 38 these mentioned by name were leaders in their families; and their fathers’ houses increased greatly. 39 They went to the entrance of Gedor, even to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks. 40 They found rich and good pasture, and the land was broad and quiet and peaceful; for those who lived there formerly were Hamites. 41 These, recorded by name, came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and attacked their tents and the Meunites who were found there, and destroyed them utterly to this day, and lived in their place, because there was pasture there for their flocks. 42 From them, from the sons of Simeon, five hundred men went to Mount Seir, with Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, as their leaders. 43 They destroyed the remnant of the Amalekites who escaped, and have lived there to this day.” (1 Chr. 4:34-43). These descendants are known for three things. Some used God’s grace to be righteous and grow with God’s blessings. Others used God’s grace to seize lands from the cursed descendants of Ham and use them for good. Others fulfilled God’s calling for the destruction of the Amalekites and to use their lands for good.

  • Some members of the Simeon tribe pursued God’s righteousness. Although the tribe of Simeon continually contracted because of sin, not every member of the tribe embraced sin. Here, Chronicles records the names of families who were blessed because they pursued righteousness: “38 these mentioned by name were leaders in their families; and their fathers’ houses increased greatly.” (1 Chr. 4:38). The lesson here is clear. Just because you may come from a family with a sinful past does not mean that you are doomed to be cursed with them. No matter who you are, Jesus has called you for good works and righteousness: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10).” This includes being holy: “because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.”’ (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44-5). God will also reward you when you step out to live righteously and do the good works that He made you for. How are you fulfilling your calling?

  • Some members of the Simeon tribe seized lands from the cursed Ham descendants. Other members of the tribe took lands from sinful people and used those lands in service to God: “39 They went to the entrance of Gedor, even to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks. 40 They found rich and good pasture, and the land was broad and quiet and peaceful; for those who lived there formerly were Hamites.” (1 Chr. 4:39-40). Because of Ham’s sins against his father, Noah cursed Ham and his descendants: “So he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.”’ (Gen. 9:25). Some of Ham’s descendants settled in southern Judah. Some members of the tribe of Simeon seized lands that they once held and used them to serve God. While some people may use God’s gifts for evil, others can transform those missed opportunities for good: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Gen. 50:20). If someone has misused God’s gifts for evil, you can encourage them to use them for God’s glory.

  • Some members of the Simeon tribe seized lands from the cursed Amalekites. Finally, while Saul refused to perform his duty in killing the Amalekites, some members of the tribe of Judah fulfilled this divine appointment: “five hundred men went to Mount Seir, with Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, as their leaders. 43 They destroyed the remnant of the Amalekites who escaped, and have lived there to this day.” (1 Chr. 4:42-43). After giving the Jews victory when the Amalekites first attacked them, God promised to punish the Amalekites (Ex. 17:14-16). Before his death, Moses advised that they would be the instrument of God’s judgment against the Amalekites after they settled in the Promised Land (Dt. 25:17-19). Through Balaam, God also warned of the destruction of the Amalekites (Nu. 24:20). To fulfill His Word, God first ordered Saul to act as His avenger against the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:3, 18). God then judged Saul when he refused to obey His command (1 Sam. 15:13-23). The Amalekites that the men of Simeon defeated were the ones who escaped after David defeated them (1 Sam. 30:18, 2 Sam. 8:12). Where Saul refused, these members from the tribe Simeon fulfilled God’s calling. In southern Judah, Simeon also played an important role in protecting the Jews from the Edomites (Richard Hess, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Joshua, an Introduction & Commentary (Intervarsity Press 1996) p. 267). Thus, even though the tribe of Simeon carried a legacy of sin and rebellion, not every member was defined by the sins of their fathers. God is also looking for people like them to stand up and serve Him. If you repent, your old sins also cannot disqualify you. Isaiah responded to God’s calling by volunteering to serve (Is. 6:8). Are you volunteering to serve God?

  • Seize your spiritual inheritance. Jesus has also given every believer an inheritance of “talents” that are to be used for His glory (Matt. 25:14-30). These include various gifts of the Spirit: “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Ro. 12:6-8). If you have been given gifts for teaching, preaching, hospitality, prayer or any other skill, He wants you to seize and develop those talents for His glory. If you are successful and make money, that money can be used to further His kingdom. If you are failing to use your talents for His kingdom, you have committed the sin of slothfulness in His eyes. “The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” (Prov. 20:4; 21:25). “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Prov. 10:4; 12:24). When one disciple asked Jesus, “‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father,’” He responded, “‘Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.’” (Matt. 8:21-23). He does not want you to wait to get your personal affairs in order before you go and serve Him. Are you being disobedient to a calling in your life by waiting until a time you think is convenient?