Friday, January 19, 2024

The Vision (1.19.24): The Table of Nations


These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood (Genesis 10:32).

Genesis 10 has traditionally been referred to as the Table of Nations. It presents the descendants of the three sons of Noah, and the nations that sprang from them, after the flood, the line of Japheth (vv. 2-5); the line of Ham (vv. 6-20); and the line of Shem (vv. 21-31). 70 descendants or nations are listed (14 from Japheth; 35 from Ham; and 21 from Shem). This is a number of fullness (10 x sabbath) and completion.

In the end Genesis 10 might be considered a missions chapter, a “Great Commission” chapter.

It is a reminder that God is sovereignly working out his plan of redemption in a post-fall, post-flood world. The gospel had first been proclaimed in Genesis 3:15. The seed of the woman will eventually crush the serpent’s head, even as he bruises the Messiah’s heel.

Sinful men and the serpent, however, will not go down easily. Their rebellion will encompass the pride that will lead to Babel and the division of languages (Genesis 11), which will make it even harder for the Gospel to reach all men, humanly speaking.

Yet this will not thwart the Lord’s plan of redemption, to seek and to save all kinds of men from all over the earth. His gospel will reach even those at the farthest “isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands” (v. 5).

Luke 10 provides an intriguing parallel to Genesis 10. In Luke 10, Luke offers a unique record of the time when Christ sent out a group of men “into every city and place” (v. 1) to declare, “The kingdom of God is come nigh to you” (v. 9). Guess how many he sent? 70. See Luke 10:1-3. Do you think that was by accident? Of course not. Luke even records the report of the 70 as they returned in triumph (v. 17), and Christ’s response (vv. 18-20).

After his resurrection, Christ commissioned the apostles to go and teach all nations (Matthew 28:19-20)

Before his ascension, Christ told his apostles that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and “unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

What had been divided by sin and the fall will be united in Christ. God would have some from every nation, even the nations that hated him and resisted him the most, Egyptians (v. 13) and Philistines (v. 14), and Hebrews (v. 25),  to come unto him.

Even men like us.

In a book on missions, an evangelical author once wrote, ‘Where worship is not, mission is.’ Where there are nations where men do not know and serve the one true God our Father, and his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, through his Holy Spirit, there must be missions.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

No comments: