“Here are the men who served, together with their sons: From the Kohathites: Heman, the musician, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel, son of Elkanah . . ..” 1 Chronicles 6:33-34 (NIV)
When reading the Bible there is a temptation to pass quickly through the seemingly endless lists of genealogies. But contained therein, as with any genealogy, are clues to discovering hidden treasures of historical significance if one is willing to dig deeper to find out more.
In reading through the first book of Chronicles this week I came across one list of “son of’s” that caught my attention. I had never noticed before that the Prophet Samuel, who led Israel as its last judge and ultimately ended up anointing David as the King of Israel, had a grandson named Heman who was a musician. That piqued my curiosity and so I began to poke around in the cross references to see if I could find out more about this Heman.
What I discovered about Heman is that he was a real “He Man” and someone every man should want to emulate. His name, Heman, means faithful and his life was marked by that very trait. He was an amazingly multi-talented man gifted not only musically, but also as a prophet and a leader in David’s kingdom. In addition he was a man richly blessed by God as a father and he passed on to his sons his passion and skills in serving God. We are told that some of them followed in his footsteps in “the ministry of prophesying accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals.” (1 Chronicles 25:1) Heman is one of the few men in the Bible who exercised authority and influence concurrently in both a priestly and prophetic realms while also serving in an official governmental capacity answerable directly to the king.
As a very talented musician, proficient with both percussion and stringed instruments, Heman was also a priest as a descendent of Aaron. And in addition to possessing outstanding leadership qualities he was a man whom God’s hand was obviously upon. (1 Chronicles 25:5) David therefore appointed him and Asaph to be in charge of all the worship in the tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant resided. (1 Chronicles 6:31-32) In that Tent of Meeting, which served as the center ofIsrael’s worship until Solomon built the temple, rotating music teams under Heman and Asaph’s supervision provided praise to God 24/7.
If that were not enough, Heman, like his grandfather Samuel, was also a “seer” or prophet. In fact, that gifting was so remarkable that David appointed him as his official seer. In that role Heman related directly to David, served as his personal counselor and had his ear whenever the Lord would reveal things to him. (1 Chronicles 25:5-6)
As was mentioned earlier, and I think this is probably the most important thing I learned about Heman, he was an outstanding father. Spiritual leadership should always begin in the home and it appears that Heman, despite all his many responsibilities in the kingdom, took time to invest in his children. Remarkable in and of itself is the fact that he had fourteen sons and three daughters, but we are told that they were given to him by God in fulfillment to a prophecy that God was going to exalt him. (1 Chronicles 25:5) That is amazing! And to see God’s blessing on his life passing to his children who also served God both musically and prophetically speaks volumes about the kind of man he was.
However, Heman’s journey growing up, like many men, was fraught with a less than perfect relationship with his father. We know from the scriptures that his father, Joel, was not a godly man or someone who provided a godly example. Joel did not walk in his father Samuel’s ways, but was a dishonest man who took bribes and perverted justice. (1 Samuel 8:3) So Heman, with God’s help, had a testimony of overcoming that to fully be the “he man” God had called him to be.
Finally, as we study this genealogy, it is important to note that the gifts and calling of God extend from generation to generation. It is up to each generation to, by faith, fully embrace the generational blessings and inheritance that God purposes to pass on. (Romans 11:29) Many Christian families have testimonies of godly “genes” being passed on and actually gaining momentum with succeeding generations. In Heman’s case, it skipped a generation, but what his grandfather Samuel had possessed got deposited in him and his children, albeit in different dimensions and expressions.
I would encourage you to take some time to reflect upon your life as it relates to your family genealogy. What trends or traits do you see being passed on from generation to generation? One thing I noticed for myself is that as a Christian church planter, I have two ancestors who were also “church planters.” There is a great grandmother on my father’s side who helped start a church in a boxcar out in western North Dakota; and a great, great grandfather on my mother’s side who was instrumental in starting a church inIllinois.
I find it interesting that my teaching motivation seems to be generational gene as well. My mother was a teacher and two of my children are teachers, so there you have it, another evidence of generational blessings.
What are you learning as you consider your roots and fruits? Thoughts or comments?
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