The World In His Hands
Transforming Lord, in our turbulent world You bring creation from chaos, peace from sorrow and joy from hate.
Read Genesis 10:1–32
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Until the whole world hears, Lord, we are calling out, lifting up your name for all to hear. We’ll sing until the whole world hears” (lyrics from “Until the world hears…,” Casting Crowns).
Genealogies form an important part of ancient Near Eastern literature. Modern Westerners often see lists like this as irrelevant. However, during 2014 the Western world marked the anniversary of the start of World War 1 in many ways. It was fascinating to see people as they carefully examined War Memorials and other lists, being moved when they identified names of even quite-distant relatives. Connections with the past and our own history help us to understand something more of present realities. The genealogies in this chapter list descendants of Noah’s three sons, but they actually focus more on tribal identities than on individuals. The normal purposes of stressing continuity with the past and the passing of time are reflected here, but the writer also seems to have another purpose. In the creation stories of the ancient East, nations usually saw themselves as directly created by whatever gods they believed in. They were the center of their own universe; they were the important ones. Ancient Egyptians, for example, saw themselves as real people and all others as barbarians, somewhat less than human. This chapter is a strong reminder that Israelites were not intrinsically different from other human beings: their nation was chosen “out of all nations” (Exod. 19:5). Not all of the tribes and nations mentioned here can be identified today, but many can. The Old Testament focuses on the origin, development and life of Israel, but we need to be very clear that people of all nations are created by God in his image and likeness. God’s purposes for the world were to be worked out through his dealings with Israel, but this in no way undermines the Bible’s conviction that God cares about and has purposes for the whole world.
Following the pattern of Genesis 10, if someone wrote a brief, biblical account of your life, how would it read?
Help me, Lord, to share Your concerns for the nations. Forgive me when my words or thoughts reveal that I see myself as superior to those from different ethnic backgrounds.
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