There are many times when skimming through the Biblical genealogies is the right thing to do. It’s not that they are uninspired or unimportant; it’s simply that sometimes you just need to read them. Other times, however, they are well worth reading carefully. There is a treasure trove of wisdom and glory found within the Bible’s many lists of names.
Nehemiah 11 is a treasure trove, not because it is brimming with applicable information for your life, but because of one simple sentence that challenges our perceptions of what is worth being remembered for. Nehemiah 11:17 says, in part:
Mattaniah the son of Mica, son of Zabdi, son of Asaph, who was the leader of the praise, who gave thanks
First of all, this Mattaniah is a direct descendant of the man whom David appointed as the chief of singers, Asaph. You can read of his place as chief in 1 Chronicles 16. The legacy that Asaph leaves on Israel is worth a post on its, but I want to look at what Mattaniah has left for us.
He was the leader of the praise. This means that he was in charge of the singers and musicians in Israel. Their job was to lead the people in singing the praises of God. This is a good job. Maybe the best job. but I might be biased.
What is most compelling to me about Mattaniah is the added description after his title. It simply says, “who (he) gave thanks.” Now, on the one hand this is a bit more information about his job. The leader of praise was to lead the people in giving thanks to God. But on the other hand, this is just about all we know of Mattaniah. He came from a good and faithful family, He lead praise, and He gave thanks.
To me it is reminiscent of Enoch in Genesis 5:24. Enoch had some kids and walked with God. That’s it. Mattaniah sang some songs and gave thanks to God. That’s it.
Forever, Mattaniah will be known not for his great accomplishments or his stunning voice. He will be known as the praise leader who gave thanks.
What will you be known for?
Personally, I’d like to be known as the guy who was thankful, thankful to a good God who never leaves or forsakes His people, who never goes back on His word, and who never condemns those who put their hope in him.
I am thankful for that now, and I want to be known as thankful for that forever.
What about you?