A daily devotion for April 29th
1 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah's sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth:
Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.
3 The sons of Gomer:
Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.
4 The sons of Javan:
Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim and the Rodanim. 5 (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)
6 The sons of Ham:
Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan.
7 The sons of Cush:
Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteca.
The sons of Raamah:
Sheba and Dedan.
8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, "Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD." 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
13 Mizraim was the father of
the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites, Casluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.
15 Canaan was the father of
Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.
Later the Canaanite clans scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.
20 These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.
21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber.
22 The sons of Shem:
Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.
23 The sons of Aram:
Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshech.
24 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah,
and Shelah the father of Eber.
25 Two sons were born to Eber:
One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.
26 Joktan was the father of
Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.
30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country.
31 These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.
32 These are the clans of Noah's sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.
These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations (Genesis 10:31).
A funnel is an instrument or device for narrowing a flow of liquid or powder from a wide expanse to a narrow one. That is what God is doing here in Genesis 10. Shem, the oldest son of Noah, is listed last because God is narrowing the flow of sacred history down to the Semitic races. Shem is the neck of the funnel. [There is some debate in the translation of Gen 10:21 as to if Shem or Japheth is the oldest son of Noah.] God is restricting the stream of humanity that He will deal with personally and directly down to one family group, the family of Shem. In chapter 11, He takes this up again and narrows it still further to one man, Abraham. From there it begins to broaden out again to take in Abraham and all his descendants, both physical and spiritual. The rest of the Bible is all about the children of Abraham, physically and spiritually. Here we have then a most important link in understanding the Bible.
Why does God do this? He has been accused of showing favoritism in picking the people of Israel for His link with humanity. But it is not that. God is no respecter of persons. He does this because it is necessary in view of the limitations of our minds, not of His. No one person can grasp the whole widespread, varied world of humankind. We cannot do so even today. At election time we take polls to determine what people are thinking because we cannot grasp or assimilate in any way what the entire mass of a people are thinking. We must take samples. God is doing this with Israel. Israel becomes the sample people. Through the rest of the Bible, whatever is true of Israel is true of everyone; their story is our story. Their stubborn rebellion is the same rebellion that we display, and their spiritual blessing under God is the same kind that we can expect if we open ourselves to respond to the grace of God. One fact comes drumming through all this otherwise dry genealogy: that God is seeking somehow to break through into our hearts and wills. He presses upon us in great historic sweeps and in the minor incidents that happen to each of us.
The great question we must raise is,
Are you listening? Are you getting the message God wants you to get? He writes it large upon the landscape of history, and also He writes it small in the incidents of your daily life. But in every case it is the same truth pressing through to us. God is essential to us. We cannot live without God. You cannot fulfill yourself, you cannot find yourself without Him. He loves you, is seeking you, wants you, and is drawing you to Himself.
Father, thank You for Your love, demonstrated through generations of people and kingdoms that have come and gone, but now fully revealed in the sending of Your only Son.
Life Application: The Bible focuses on the nation Israel as a sample of the human story. Are we willing to learn from generational lessons, and respond to God's seeking of us?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.