The Names in The Lineage of Majesty
Every story works on multiple levels. There is the plot, the dialogue, the inner thoughts of the characters. In a well-crafted story, each of these elements work in concert to translate the author’s vision onto the page.
Beyond these fundamental aspects, there is also the underlying message of the story and the world-view of the author which is being displayed. A reader will come away with a very different experience if you read The Stranger than if you read The Lord of the Rings.
Even more than all this, though, there is the effect of the story on the mind and spirit of the reader and even beyond that, on the world as a whole. No story is told in a vacuum. Stories both are affected by and affect culture (some vastly more than others).
What is the author telling me about the world? And where does this book fit in the grand flow of time, thought, and human history?
Everything has a purpose
The most wonderful novels, as great as they are, offer only a pale reflection of what the truth. There exists a larger story, one which we are all caught up in, that has gone on long before the stories we love, and will go on long after them.
This story has not been written by any human author. Its Author is divine. And our felicity, along with our place in the story unfolding around us, depends entirely on the degree to which we recognize the message of this Author. This is why we read ultimately. Not to be entertained, not to lose ourselves, not to gain new perspectives and new experiences. We read to know where we fit in the greatest story of all: God’s redemption of a fallen race and a fallen world.
As Malcolm Muggeridge once said, “Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.”
Getting the message
Everything you’ve ever read tells you something about that larger story. In some it is more obvious than others. The hero slays the dragon. The princess finds true love. But if we could see clearly, if our minds were not dimmed by our on misconceptions and faults, not limited by our own finite capacity to remember and understand, we would see the connections in every book, every chance encounter, every conversation, every moment of our lives. Even in the ones that hurt. Even in the ones that didn’t make sense at the time because we were too scared, or bitter, or self-centered to see it.
I recently listened to a message in the form of a video which helped me to see the great golden thread of God’s purpose in a way I had never imagined before. Watching it, it was as if God, the Author, were peeling back the curtain and showing me the larger story. I saw how every detail of His story had been ordained and ordered by His hand. As Jesus said, not a “jot or tittle” of his word will pass away without being fulfilled. Everything about his word is perfect, even down to the punctuation! As an author myself who struggles to wrangle paragraphs and sentences into some semblance of an order on a daily basis, this is unfathomable.
The Lineage of Majesty
What I saw was that God is not telling a story just through events, words of wisdom, an parables, but that even the names of the characters in his story were part of God’s purpose. They were telling a story all by themselves, and yet I had never heard it until now.
You know all those boring lineages that you skim through or skip over when you’re reading the bible? Yeah, those are the names I’m talking about. Because God is telling a story even through those. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is insignificant, not the smallest jot or title, not the most obscure Lamech or Amiram.
I don’t know if this will impact you as much as it did me, but as an author, I was in awe at the level of power and majesty God displays through his word, in ways I never would have even thought possible. Everything has a purpose. There are no accidents. We live in a universe lovingly created and crafted by the very word of God. He spoke it into being and his words resonate throughout history with the echoes of his glory. As an author, I love that God is a God of words, he is The Word made flesh. Why should is surprise us, then, that even in the choosing of the names of the people recorded in his book, his power and purpose would be on display?
This is just…well, you’ll just have to watch it and see for yourself.
One final note: Eric Ludy, the man speaking in this video clearly added in transitional phrases and in some cases used synonyms or associated phrases when translating these names. I don’t think that diminishes the overall message of what he was trying to say: that God wrote his story even through the names of the people of the bible. If you’re interested you can check out Ludy’s comments on how this video came about for a deeper understanding of the thought process behind how this was created.
To God be the glory. He is the One True Author.