I'm reading through 1 Chronicles at the moment in my two-year reading plan. It's easy to loose focus when all you are reading is name after name after name after name...
But these names represent real people, like you or me, people who went before us in the purpose of God. People without whom we wouldn't be here.
Genealogies are important, because they remind us that the plan and purpose of God did not originate with us! God was not in trouble before we came along. It seems obvious, but it is such a common error for those who are pressing in to a new move of God to become arrogant and dismissive of their past.
Even the great(est) prophet Elijah fell into this trap. In a moment of weakness and despair, he exclaimed: "I am no better than my ancestors!" (1Ki 19:4) Of course, in the ever-increasing purpose and rule of God, one should expect to go further and do greater things than those who preceded us, and maybe to give Elijah the benefit of the doubt, that's what he meant... but I don't think so. God's response to him was to feed him with bread from heaven, take him for 40 days through the wilderness to Mount Horeb, and there to reveal to him a part of his awesome glory - a deliberate parallel with Moses... one of the "ancestors" he had just been so dismissive about.
It is never God's will that we isolate ourselves from our legacy of faith. It is only once we have laid hold of all the inheritance that they laid up for us that we can press in to claim the new treasures of our own.
These names also communicate something else to me. We easily dismiss them because we think they have no relevance or bearing on our lives. They are just the names of people we know nothing about... but imagine if you came across your own name, or the name of your father or grand-father. Wouldn't it make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end to discover your name forever recorded in the eternal word of God?
If that gives you a buzz, just think how thrilled we should be that our names are recorded for eternity in God's book: The Book of Life
Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Lk 10:20)
But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Rev 21:27)
So next time you find your eyes glazing over as you read a genealogy, stop yourself and give thanks for all those who have gone before us in this great race that we now run, and even greater thanks that our names, like theirs, are eternally recorded before God in heaven.