God of the Nations
The Guinness World Records provides information about the most prolific mother ever.
“The greatest officially recorded number of children born to one mother is 69, to the wife of Feodor Vassilyev (b. 1707–c.1782), a peasant from Shuya, Russia. In 27 confinements she gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets.
Numerous contemporaneous sources exist, which suggest that this seemingly improbable and statistically unlikely story is true and she is the woman with most children.
The case was reported to Moscow by the Monastery of Nikolsk on 27 Feb 1782, which had recorded every birth. It is noted that, by this time, only two of the children who were born in the period c. 1725–65 failed to survive their infancy.”
That was a long time ago! Most of us think about the Duggars when we think of a family that has a lot of children. They have 19 children between Jim Bob & Michelle. Most of us can’t fathom having that many children, but God has truly blessed them.
Our parent’s families
Dad – four sisters
Mom – nine sisters and one brother
Dad – four brothers and six sisters
Mom – one sister
The Lord has blessed Judy and I with three boys, whom we’re really proud of
We’ve been blessed with two wonderful daughter-in-laws, one granddaughter and another granddaughter on the way and a grandson on the way
We had one miscarriage between our second and third sons
Our second son had a bump removed from his belly when he was really young, that had cartilage, hair, and other items in it (we believe that this was perhaps his twin that never developed)
We would probably have had more children if the last two pregnancies would not have been so difficult on Judy’s body
We were privileged to have two sisters stay with us, for a period of time, under a private guardianship
Take a moment to think about your own family
How many siblings do you have?
How many siblings did your parents have?
Give me some feedback this morning
Whose immediate family had the most children?
Whose parents had the most siblings?
As Moses continues to write about Noah’s family, we see in Genesis 10 what many scholars call The Table of Nations. It’s from Noah’s three sons that the earth is repopulated. What we see in The Table of Nations is 70 descendants of Noah that span four generations. Compare that to Mrs. Vassilyev who had 69 children by herself. We realize that The Table of Nations does not reflect all of the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, but certain ones have been selected that will help us as we continue to study Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch. Many of the names listed played a significant role in the life of the Israelites. What we’ll learn from this passage of Scripture is that . . .
BIG IDEA – God is concerned about all people.
GOD (Genesis 10:1-32)
Introductory statement (v. 1)
This begins the fourth toledot (the account/origins of . . .) statement
Here we see the account of the line of Noah’s sons, which will carry through the tower of Babel narrative in chapter 11, verse 9
Shem, Ham, and Japheth had sons after the flood, which fulfilled the command from the Lord, found in Genesis 9:7, “As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
The increasing in number and multiplying is what we see in The Table of Nations
In most lists of Noah’s sons, it is in the order Shem, Ham, and Japheth and we see that in verse 1
There is significance to listing Shem first, even though he is the middle child
As we’ll see in Genesis 11:10-32, Abram (Abraham) comes through the line of Shem, which means that David and Jesus descended from Shem
When Moses begins to list the descendants of Noah, he begins with Japheth and ends with Shem
This is important, because after the narrative about the tower of Babel, Shem’s line continues
Then chapters 12-25 recount the story of Abraham
So, we begin with Japheth’s line
Japheth’s Line (vv. 2-5)
Sons of Japheth (yeh’-feth) [show flow chart of Japheth]
Gomer (go’-mer), Magog (maw-gogue’), Madai (maw-dah’-ee/maw-die’), Javan (yaw-vawn’), Tubal (too-bal’/too-val’), Meshech (meh’-shek) and Tiras (tee-rawce’)
Moses only highlights the next generation of Gomer and Javan
Japheth’s grandsons [continue flow chart of Japheth]
Gomer’s sons – Ashkenaz (ash-ken-az’), Riphath (ree-fath’) and Togarmah (to-gar-maw’/toe-gar-maw’)
Javan’s sons – Elishah (el-ee-shaw’), Tarshish (tar-sheesh’/tear-sheesh’), the Kittim (kit-tee’/kit-teem’) and the Rodanim/Dodanim (row-daw-neem’/do-daw-neem’)
All three genealogies contain a combination of three kinds of information [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1A, Genesis 1-11:26, 434]
Individuals’ names (e.g., Nimrod, Peleg, Eber)
People groups, including tribal names and nations (they are easy to spot because they either have the plural suffix – ‘îm at the end (e.g., Kittim) or the gentilic suffix – ‘î within the name (e.g., Jebusites)
Place names (e.g., Babylon, Ninevah)
“It is clear that the descendants of Japheth are primarily, if not exclusively, ethnic groups that represent maritime nations, peoples who practiced the profession of seafaring and whose interchange was largely by sea.” [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, 334]
They were located to north, northeast, and northwest of Israel (Canaan) [show map, point out red area at the top]
Ham’s Line (vv. 6-20)
Sons of Ham (khawm) [show the flow chart for Ham]
Cush (koosh), Mizraim (mits-rah’-yim), Put (poot) and Canaan (ken-ah’-an)
Again, Moses only highlights certain sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons
Ham’s grandsons and great grandsons [continue flow chart of Ham]
Cush’s sons – Seba (seb-aw’/sev-aw’), Havilah (khav-ee-law’), Sabtah (sab-taw’/sav-taw’), Raamah (rah-maw’), Sabteca (sab-tek-aw’) and Nimrod (nim-rode’)
Raamah’s sons – Sheba (sheb-aw’/shev-aw’) and Dedan (ded-awn’)
Mizraim’s sons – Ludim (loo-dee’), Anamim (an-aw-meem’), Lehabim (leh-haw-beem’/leh-haw-veem’), Naphtuhim (naf-too-kheem/naft-kaw-heem), Pathrusim (path-roo-see’), Casluhim (kas-loo-kheem) and Caphtorim (kaf-to-ree’/kaf-tore’)
Canaan’s sons – Sidon (tsee-done’), Hittites/Heth (khayth), Jebusites (yeb-oo-see’), Amorites (em-o-ree’), Girgashites (ghir-gaw-shee’), Hivites (khiv-vee’), Arkites (ar-kee’/air-kee’), Sinites (see-nee’), Arvadites (ar-vaw-dee’/air-vad’), Zemarites (tsem-aw-ree’) and Hamathites (kham-aw-thee’/ham-moth’)
Nimrod’s history (vv. 8-12)
Nimrod was perhaps the founder of the first imperial kingdom [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 104]
His kingdom included all of Mesopotamia, which included Babylonia in the south (10:10) and Assyria in the north (10:10-12) [Waltke, Genesis A Commentary, 169]
Moses lists four cities that were part of Shinar (Babylonia)
Next he lists four cities in the region of Assyria
Nimrod made a name for himself by doing bold and daring deeds
His name means “rebel” or “we shall rebel,” which is important since he built the city where the tower of Babel would be erected
The parenthetical note about Nimrod is significant, because the two regions he founded played an important part in Israel’s history – they would be taken into captivity by the Babylonian and Assyrian empires
Filling the earth
In verses 18b-20 that descendants of Ham were fulfilling the command from Genesis 9:1 to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth [show map, point out green area]
The Canaanite clans scattered and expanded their borders [show map of Canaan]
That completes the genealogy of Ham, which leads us to Shem’s line
Shem’s Line (vv. 21-31)
Important information about Shem
His older brother was Japheth
He was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber (his great-grandson)
Sons of Shem (shame) [show flow chart of Shem]
Elam (ay-lawm’), Asshur (ash-shoor’), Arphaxad (ar-pak-shad’/air-pak-shad’), Lud (lood) and Aram (arawm’)
Moses again only highlights the genealogies of two of the five sons
Shem’s grandsons, great-grandsons, great great-grandsons, and great great great-grandsons [continue flow chart of Shem]
Aram’s sons – Uz (oots), Hul (khool), Gether (gheh’-ther/geth’-air) and Meshech/Mash (mash)
Arphaxad’s son – Shelah (sheh’-lakh)
Shelah’s son – Eber (ay’-ber/a’-ver)
Eber’s sons – Peleg (peh’-leg) and Joktan (yok-tawn’/yoke-tawn’)
Peleg means division (perhaps he was born during the time of the tower of Babel when division came as a result of confusion of their languages)
Joktan’s sons – Almodad (al-mo-dawd’), Sheleph (sheh’-lef), Hazarmaveth (khats-ar-maw’-veth/hets-air-maw’-veth), Jerah (yeh’-rakh), Hadoram (had-o-rawm’), Uzal (oo-zawl’), Diklah (dik-law’), Obal (o-bawl’/o-val’), Abimael (ab-ee-maw-ale’/avee-maw-el’), Sheba (sheb-aw’/sh-va’), Ophir (o-feer’), Havilah (khav-ee-law’) and Jobab (yo-bawb’/yo-vawv’)
Shem’s descendants were located east and southeast of Canaan [show map, point out yellow area]
Moses identifies the region where they lived
It stretched from Mesha (may-shaw’) toward Sephar (sef-awr’) in the eastern hill country
We have the finishing statement that has been a part of all three genealogies concerning each son – we’re made aware of the fact that these were the clans and languages, in their territories and nations
Closing statement (v. 32)
This closing statement reminds us again that what we’ve just read is the account of Noah’s sons
The purpose of this section in Scripture is highlighted in verse 1 and 32
It was to repopulate the earth and fill it
What can we take away from this genealogical account found in Genesis 10?
Warren Wiersbe does an excellent job of highlighting four main principles [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 60]
PRINCIPLE #1 – Jehovah God is the Lord of the nations.
God is in control and keeps His promises
All throughout Genesis so far, we have seen how God is in control
After Adam and Eve sinned, God brought restoration through animal sacrifice and started the process of redemption for mankind through the line of Seth
After God destroyed the earth by flood, He brought restoration through Noah and his family
As we’ll see over the next few weeks, with the tower of Babel and the continuation of Shem’s genealogy, God confused their language, but continued His promise of redemption through the line of Shem to Abraham
Noah’s prophecy about his sons came true
Deuteronomy 32:8, When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.
Acts 17:26-28, From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
God is still in control and Lord of the nations
It’s all over the news, right now, about Russian hackers infiltrating certain companies in the United States
It has happened multiple times this year
That can make us feel uncertain and fearful about the security of our identity and finances
But I want to encourage you that God is in control, even of Russian hackers
This past week we learned about the assassination of the President of Haiti, yet God is still in control
We may be concerned about the political climate in our own nation, but be encouraged – God is in control
Some people may be concerned about China’s influence and control within the global community, but God is still greater than China
He is the Lord of the nations!
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Put my trust and faith in the God of the nations, when I feel afraid or insecure.
PRINCIPLES #2 – All nations belong to the same human family.
Acts 17:26a, From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth;
Proverbs 22:2, Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.
“All human people, even of different national and cultural identities . . . are of the same origin, have the same dignity, and belong in the same world. This undercuts all human divisiveness based on nationality, culture and race. However good, however rich national and cultural diversity can be, it should never be allowed to cloud the more fundamental fact that all human people share the same nature, breathe the same air, live on the same earth, and owe their life to the same God.” [Atkinson, The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of Genesis 1-11, The Dawn of Creation, 174]
We have to embrace this principle and truth as followers of Jesus Christ
The old saying is, “blood is thicker than water,” which supposedly means that family is more important than friendships or family bonds are closer than friendships is important for this principle/truth
Since we have all come from one man, we are all family – that includes every nationality and race
Divisiveness in our nation
When we listen to the news and political leaders in our country, it doesn’t take long to realize that, as a nation, we don’t believe this Biblical truth
The news highlights our differences
We hear of the white police officer that shoots and kills a black man/woman
We hear about violence against different ethnic groups or races
Politicians are making ridiculous claims about the Declaration of Independence being racist
Our educational system is trying to teach our children that simply the color of their skin determines whether they are racist or not
Our holidays highlight our differences
There are holidays and months that are dedicated to different races and cultures
While it’s wonderful to celebrate our heritage, it should never overshadow that we’ve all come from one man
As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be careful that we don’t focus on our differences, but rather on our familial bond with all people
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Recognize that we all belong to the same human family and celebrate that truth.
Within the body of Christ
The same is true within the body of Christ
We need recognize that we all belong to the same Savior and celebrate that truth instead of denominational distinctives
Paul writes about this truth to the Galatian believers
Galatians 3:26-29, You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
While we covenant with the United Brethren in Christ denomination, we should be willing to cooperate with and partner with other evangelical churches that preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ (we did that this summer with the Revival on the Farm)
PRINCIPLE #3 – God has a purpose for the nations to fulfill.
As we continue to study Genesis we’ll see how God chose one nation to fulfill His promise to send a Savior to redeem all mankind – He chose Abraham and his line to bring about the birth of Jesus
“. . . God also used Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Media-Persia, and Rome to accomplish His purposes with reference to the Jewish people. God can use pagan rulers like Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius, and even Augustus Caesar.” [Wiersbe, 60]
We know that the Israelites experienced war and exile at the hands of other nations
This is the repeated cycle throughout the Old Testament when they turned away from the Lord and worshiped idols
God would punish their rebellion by sending them into exile, until they recognized Him and repented, and then he would restore them to the Promised Land
We also know from the New Testament that God used the Roman empire to bring about the death of Jesus, by crucifixion (to fulfill prophecy), so that we might be saved
God still punishes our rebellion against Him
Hebrews 12:5b-6, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
The writer of Hebrews is quoting the wisdom of King Solomon from Proverbs 3:11-12
Solomon had been visited by the Lord after he completed the temple of the Lord
The Lord then reminds Solomon that when He stops the rain and sends locust to destroy the crops, and when He sends a plague among the people, that it is to discipline them for their rebellion
He tells Solomon what the people must do in order to restore their relationship with Him
2 Chronicles 7:14, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Do my part by humbling myself, praying, seeking God’s face, and turning from my wicked ways, so that God will heal our land.
We may not understand what is happening nationally or globally, but we can trust in the fact that God has a purpose for the nations to fulfill
PRINCIPLE #4 – God is concerned for all the nations.
God’s desire is that all nations come to know & serve Him
Read Psalm 66:1-8 & Psalm 67:1-7
Read Matthew 28:18-20
#4 – My Next Step Today Is To: Ask the Lord how and where He wants me to accomplish His Great Commission.
Do you need to remember today that God is in control?
Are you celebrating the truth that every human being is family?
Are you doing your part to bring God’s healing to our land?
What part should we be playing to accomplish the Great Commission?
“Noah’s three sons left a mixed legacy to the world, but the Lord of the nations was still in charge, and history is still His story.” [Wiersbe, 60]