Day: December 7, 2019

The Sons of Noah

Genesis 10:1-32 

This not one of the top 10 go-to texts for aspiring preachers. Are even seasoned ones who probably would choose another one. Yet are some good and important things to learn from chapter filled with strange sounding names.

All this of great significance to people Moses most concerned with, Hebrew children. They needed this story because gives answers to ultimate questions. Every generation including ours needs it for same reason. Names given here probably largely familiar to Hebrews, doubtful whether many grasped all the connections and their place in it all.

Not simply list of names useful for constructing family tree. Not even useful for figuring out elapsed time… no age or life-span numbers given. Not even certain if names listed in birth order, especially since introductory sentence follows different order from subsequent listing. Is not a complete listing of names yet contains details found nowhere else in ancient literature.

Repeated summary statement in v.5, 20, 31

From these the coastland peoples of the Gentiles were separated into their lands, everyone according to his language, according to their families, into their nations. 

These were the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, in their lands and in their nations.

These were the sons of Shem, according to their families, according to their languages, in their lands, according to their nations.

No explanation given to bridge between way of life before the flood and after. Idea of languages, lands and nations certainly well-known to Moses and Hebrews… no surprise there. How it all happened not necessarily well understood, something Moses will take care of next. Understanding what is taught here in Table of Nations helps them and us with question of identity, sense of place, God’s purpose and their part in it.

A. identity

who you are

descended from Adam and Eve for sure, through line of Seth and then Noah… but what about after the Flood?

have to wait until end of list before names would start getting personal – descendant of Shem: Eber, then Peleg (25)

next chapter with Shem’s genealogy continue story, identifying these as direct ancestors of Abraham… the limb on family tree where they were attached

two possibilities: Eber perhaps the source of name “Hebrew”; Peleg: “in his days the earth was divided” perhaps reference to division/scattering explained in next chapter

who they are

Japheth listed first, descendants of only two of 7 sons named (selectively) – ancestor of Gentile peoples including us

next Ham’s people, significant commentary included in this section – details given about Nimrod, pertinent to next chapter as well as Israel’s future

seeds of unrest / rebellion already beginning to show – Nimrod described as “a mighty hunter”, not a good thing

Nimrod all about empire building… starting with Babel/Babylon, then Nineveh, later known for rebellion against God and oppression of his people

what happened

descendants of Noah did indeed through their many offspring replenish the earth, probably not how they expected!

somehow there came to be different languages / families / nations… but not different races

yet even for all the differentness and what it would lead to, still related – enemies at times yet family

B. place

where you are going

headed for Canaan, the land God promised – Moses language changes v.16, identifying peoples rather than individuals

should have encouraged Moses’ contemporaries – all the “-ites” descended from Noah’s grandson Canaan… the one he cursed, said would serve others

implied warning perhaps in how borders of Canaan identified – Sidon and Gaza ok for north/south, but Sodom and Gomorrah?

who your neighbors will be

neighbors would be Assyrians and Babylonians, then further away the families of Japheth reaching outer limits of known world

knew about some of neighbors in Egypt and northern Africa, now have clearer teaching about their ancestry

brief reference to coastland people indication that neighbors more than just the ones you can see over the next hill

center of the world

would be easy to understand from this political-historical-genealogical account that land of Canaan the hub of human activity

from that area where concentrated population had been dispersed, where major social and commercial routes intersected

Japheth’s people an arc NE to NW of Canaan, Ham’s people S and SW, Shem’s people S and E, Mediterranean to W

C. purpose

one God

if was one God over original one family, is still same God over all their descendants – includes Hebrew children… and us

may seem like for a time Israel was focus of God’s attention – did certainly receive special favors / treatment

at same time, God has always had entire world, whole human family in view and he is Lord over all of them

one race

Acts 17:26 “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings”

racial distinctions and racism as we know it not God’s way of looking at mankind – in his view are one human race

one Redeemer

God has had a plan from the beginning, articulated in miniature form to Adam and Eve – at no time has God deviated from or abandoned his one plan

instead he has governed his creatures and their actions to bring about that one plan, preserving the line of people from Adam through Seth and Shem down to Jesus

Regardless of how it looks in world today, God is still Lord of the nations. He has a plan for the nations, to “redeem us to God by His blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9) We are included in his plan, are privileged to be part of his plan – we are his ambassadors, carrying truth of Gospel to all who will hear. Should do so, confident that God will continue to move his plan forward, that Christ’s kingdom will advance. We know the good news, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, to give hope to the hopeless, to heal the brokenhearted and set captives free.

Light Under Threat

2 Peter 2:10-22

Advent season one of great excitement, anticipation. Words like merry, joyous, blessed, happy common and essential fixtures in holiday greetings – seen on signs and decorations, included in cards, in ones personally spoken. Repeated theme in our music of joyfulness, celebration, praise to God and warm feelings toward one another. All that is true and right and proper – is a time to rejoice and celebrate what God has done in past, what he will do in future.

Sang about angels in two carols already, they have part in our closing carol. Familiar words: “Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation; O sing, all ye bright hosts of heaven above!” Two Sundays hence will light Angel candle on Advent wreath, commonly think of angels as the choir providing mood music for newborn baby. Was not their only reason for being present there over Bethlehem – hosts of heaven were on guard duty, ensuring the Light which had just come into world wasn’t snuffed out. Remember action Herod took as soon as he found out some important details about Savior’s birth!

Danger didn’t go away when Jesus did, it persisted and Christians have been in line of fire ever since. Peter had seen the Light, wrote about that in chapter 1. Had seen the Light in another way, too – the spiritual light of truth that shined in darkness of his heart. Had been his mission for thirty years or more to bring that light to all who would listen, first fellow Jews and then others. Based on what he saw / heard from Asia Minor, light of true Gospel at risk of being extinguished. No way Peter was going to stand idly by and watch it happen. He proceeded to call out those attacking the Gospel and then turned attention of readers back to truth. We need to do same today… whether false teachers who have crept into the church or those of similar tactics who seduce from outside.

A. do not live in the light  v.10-14

no respect for authority

stated right out by Peter: despise authority – speaking, of course, about authority of others; hold own authority in very high regard

displayed in several ways: self-willed/arrogant/insolent/audacious, make strong statements without knowledge or understanding, expect to be believed and followed

act as if they have authority

they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones” ESV – need to look at next verse for explanation: dignitaries, glorious ones probably reference to Satan and his angels

Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

false teachers act (and encourage others to act) as if they have authority over Satan/demons… to bind and command

perform works of darkness in broad daylight

pursue pleasure at all times, seek to acquire more and more for themselves – entice others to follow same licentious lifestyle

in today’s setting: readily speak for God – tell people “God wants you to…” have this, go there, be that, and here’s the formula

are skilled at making the kind of pitch that seduces the weak – just one example, not wealthy who go to Foxwoods, Atlantic City

saddest of all: in spite of respectable outward appearance, are in reality behaving as lowest of brute beasts… living for pleasure of moment, no more valuable to mankind than Ham and Bacon, Steak and Stew

B. not ignorant of the light  v.15-16

were once on the right way

didn’t ignore the right path, they forsook it – means they traveled on it for a while, picked up enough Christian code to sound native

makes them even more dangerous – insiders always sound more authentic – is easier to persuade less discerning to follow

prefer the ways of darkness

weren’t kicked off the path, didn’t get lost in the dark, they made the choice to go a different way intentionally

placed a higher value, had a greater desire for material gain than spiritual wealth – had an understanding of the light, had walked in the light for a time, chose to leave the light for darkness

even dumb animals are smarter

God uses all sorts of instruments – dumb donkey restrained the prophet’s madness; another donkey likely provided transport for Mary; yet another carried Son of David into Jerusalem; will be a white horse that brings him back – each animal willingly follows God’s instructions

false teachers follow example of Balaam rather than the donkey – rushing blindly to destruction when even the donkey could see better

C. attempt to quench the light  v.17-19

have one appearance

things Peter describes here are ones that, when genuine, give great hope – these individuals outwardly appear to have it all together, be able to supply what they promise

is even possible they are themselves deceived – if tell yourself a lie long enough, loud enough, will eventually come to believe it

but are actually the opposite

these false teachers wells without water, clouds without rain, darkness without light, tables without food – could not quench thirst, nourish crops, provide safety, satisfy hunger

Savior was born in Bethlehem – house of bread; the One who called himself the bread of life, who actually delivered what he promised

intentionally draw others away from the light

promise freedom while they are enslaved – everyone who follows their teaching / example will become just as enslaved, hopeless

even if they cannot put the light out in the world, do their best to put it out in individual lives – and here’s what probably got Peter most exercised:

For by speaking high-sounding but empty words they are able to entice …people who have just escaped from those who reside in error. NET, v.18

those who managed to escape getting sucked back in, who had some hope of coming to light suddenly back in darkness

D. no hope of recovering the light  v.20-22

had some understanding of the truth

speaking of those who get enticed – once enslaved to the world, had managed to escape through knowing Jesus, then “fall back”

take an example: Teen Challenge does not have 100% success rate – some complete program (walk the walk, talk the talk) then go back to their addiction

better to have none

as general proposition, would have less bleak future if had never gone through the program – are less sensitive to Gospel, have greater responsibility for knowledge gained and rejected

unlikely to be restored

are in a worse state… but not without hope – false teaching makes it significantly more difficult yet God can and does overrule

cannot take it for granted that God will overrule in particular cases – better if we act up front like he won’t, be bold like Peter against false teaching

Peter was furious with false teachers because everything they did was designed to make Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection of no use. Jesus came to provide light, they work to put it out. Jesus came to give life and nourishment, they work to starve and kill.

Phil. 2:8-10 …He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

False teachers exalt themselves and not Jesus. Jesus is the one who has the words of life, who not only promises freedom but actually sets captives free and heals brokenhearted. Don’t need big words, extravagant lifestyle, any of things people see as attractive and desirable – only need Jesus as he is revealed to us in his word and by his Spirit.

Come and adore Him. Come and trust Him. Come and find hope and healing and joy and peace in Him. Tell your friends, tell your family, hold the light high so all can see.

 

64. Who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Luke 16:11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Read: Luke 16:1-13

 

Setting:

still on the road to Jerusalem with the crowds

singles out the disciples for particular attention

Person(s) being questioned:

question primarily for the Twelve but all within earshot could profit from hearing/thinking/answering

applies on some level to anyone who can “hear” with understanding

 

Question behind the question:

several “layers” of significance to the story/parable, summary questions, Jesus’ conclusion: personal responsibility, faithfulness, loyalty, value of spiritual vs. temporal, living in the moment while planning for the future

If you do not take responsibility with temporal things, why should you be trusted with more important things?

If you are not faithful in one part of life, how can you be expected to be faithful in other parts of life?

If you are content to live for the moment, what hope do you have for the future?

 

Expected response:

not necessarily a question that required spoken response – more important to give sufficient thought to what Jesus was getting at

Pharisees thought they knew the answers… and that Jesus was wrong – believed they figured out how to have God and stuff

 

Jesus’ point:

property manager in the story makes several of Jesus’ points – was not responsible with either his or master’s stuff, why he had to scramble

pink slip changed his relationship with stuff: he became master of it, using it to purchase a commendable outcome

1. need to be acting responsibly (demonstrating faithfulness) in all areas of life if we expect God to entrust us with more/greater spiritual treasure

2. first loyalty must be to the right thing, all other things should serve the first thing

3. are some things God’s people can learn from “the sons of the world” – need to keep the good points, discard the rest

 

Modern Application: 

be sure are taking responsibility seriously for what has been entrusted, whether temporal or spiritual things, acting/living faithfully across the board

loyalty must be to God first, “mammon” must then serve our service to God – making us more useful, gaining advantages for the Gospel

need a “plan” for when the “mammon” runs out – using/managing resources most wisely in the moment so that they are producing results in next life

be sure are doing our part/best we can to live in such a way that God willingly entrusts greater spiritual treasure to us for our use