Scripture reading for January 5th: Genesis 10-11
I love to build things and organize. God designed us that way! In the days following the flood, the descendants of Noah had a fresh opportunity to obey God by being fruitful, multiplying and repopulating the earth. Shem, Ham, and Japheth had a whole new world that needed care and tending. They each had a wife and could begin again to obey God’s simple command. (Genesis 9:7)
Genesis 10 records the genealogy of these three descendants of Noah. Note that one of Ham’s descendants, Nimrod is given particular attention. He was a mighty warrior and hunter before the Lord. He built the cities of Babylon and Nineveh. (Genesis 10:8-10) His brother Canaan was the father of the Canaanite tribes that inhabited Israel in the time of Abraham and beyond. Note also that Shem was the father of Eber. (Genesis 10:21) Eber’s descendants included Abram and the “Hebrew” people derive their name from him! (Genesis 11:27)
Nimrod and his family group decided to settle on the plains of Shinar, which is modern day Iraq. There they organized all or most of the family to build a tower to heaven and make a name for themselves. They particularly did not like the idea of being scattered over the whole earth. (Genesis 11:2-4) There is some implication that Nimrod forcibly organized this rebellion and hunted down those who would not comply. He also organized a humanistic religion that worshiped the work of man’s hands and the creation, but not the Creator!
God came down to see this city and stated that nothing would be impossible with this kind of unity. They had unified in opposing the plans and purpose of God. He took action and confounded their one language so that they couldn’t understand one another. In the days of Peleg he scattered them across the earth and then divided the earth. (Genesis 10:25) He created the nations from these three families.
God wants to dwell with His people and desires fellowship with them. He longs to have a people willing to be under His rule and protective covering. We can learn from these records of God’s dealing with those after the flood. He is merciful, but demands obedience. Take a few minutes today and thank Him for His mercy and His plan of reaching all with the Gospel. God came down in Jesus Christ and is here now in His church!
Another seventh day of rest has arrived. God himself wanted to rest. Man and woman need rest too! “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”. (Mark 2:27) Resting is not the practice of many in the modern world we live in. I know that myself too well. I am a doer and have been taught that I shouldn’t waste time. Time is precious and there are many things to do. Church can even be busy. I am trying rest and reflect more this year and enjoy creation, my family and God. We find the invitation in Genesis to enjoy a Sabbath Rest every seventh day!
Looking back on the readings from Genesis 10-26, we have taken quite a trek through time and history. The world-wide flood sent by God began the history of man again with Noah and his family. We have this genealogy in Genesis 10. In Genesis 11, we find some of those descendants building the tower of Babel in defiance to God! How could man forget the lesson of the flood in just over 100 years with their grandparents as eyewitnesses of that judgment? Was it true even then that the generations didn’t communicate? It has been said that God’s church is always only a generation away from extinction! But God is merciful in judgment, scattering them over the earth by confusing their languages. Thus the nations are formed and God’s plan is moved forward.
The lives of Abraham and Sarah and their children take up the bulk of last weeks reading. They appear about 2000 years before Christ. God’s purpose is to make from this couple a great nation that He could be King over. They would be His people and He would be their God. Abraham believed God when God spoke to him. This is counted as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6) Believing is the only ‘work’ we need to do to be right with God. We must work it out by obedient actions and attitudes in our walk of faith. Abraham and Sarah give me hope because they certainly weren’t perfect in believing or obedient actions. How about Sarah’s plan to give her maid Hagar to Abraham for sexual relations and children? How about Abraham twice asking his wife to say she was his sister and nearly sending her into an adulterous relationship just to protect his own life? How about Sarah’s anger at Hagar and mistreatment of her? How about Sarah’s laughter when the angel spoke of a child? And then the denial she later made when confronted? I’m thankful that God’s grace covers my sin when I confess, repent and trust in His son Jesus!
Isaac is finally born to parents whose bodies appeared ‘dead’ to the ability to reproduce! The sound of laughter filled this aged couple’s home! God specializes in the impossible! We simple need to rest in His ability to do what He says He will do!
“May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!” –Romans 15:13
May the Lord give you a blessed day of rest and enjoyment of creation, your family, and your awesome God!