God puts Genesis 10 in Scriptures for a reason. The question is can we understand how Genesis 10 fits into God's redemptive plan? The answer is yes!
Sinned Against God. Genesis 10 shows us the link of all the people on Earth back to Noah and Noah's God. Noah and Mrs Noah had three sons. They were Shem, Ham and Japheth. Which mean everyone on the planet has an ancestor that started out knowing the living God. Any people group that does not worship Him had to rebel and walked away at some point in their history. Human's sinfulness survived the flood! We noticed Moses writing for the Israelites starts off with Japheth. Moses tells us very little about Japheth's descendants (vv. 1-5), because these nations were geographically the farthest from Palestine. Notable among Japheth descendants is Javan (v.2), the father of the Greeks.
Judged By God. Second in the list is Ham, Noah's youngest son (Gen 9:24). Ham received more attention. It is not surprising to find Egypt (v.6), Babylon (Babel, v.10), and Assyria (Nineveh, v.11) in his line. These three empires were the deadliest enemies of Israel during the old covenant period. The Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptian, the Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrian and the Southern Kingdom of Judah was taken captive by the Babylonian. Ham's descendant's opposition to the people of God reflects the evil nature of their father Ham. Ham was a man who rejected the ways of his godly father. Because of his wicked behaviour, Ham and his descendants were under Noah's curse (v.24-25). The descendants of Shem, the Israelites were the chosen people of God under Moses, about to enter into the promised land and to be the executor of the sinful Canaanite peoples for God - by God's explicit instruction as the iniquity of the Amorites (descendants of Canaan) is now complete (Gen 15:13-16). Leviticus 18 is one example of their sinfulness.
Chosen By God. The descendants of Shem were the chosen people of God under Moses, about to enter into the promised land. To him was born Eber (v.21), a forefather of Abram (Gen 11:10-26), and the name from which the word "Hebrew" is likely derived. They were chosen not because of their righteousness but by the sovereign will of God (Deut 9:4-5). The chosen people of God through the line of Shem, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is only a foreshadow to the coming messiah, Jesus Christ the promised sin crasher (Gen 3).
Adopted By God. Genesis 10 is funnelling our focus on God's unfolding salvation plan through God's chosen nation. Salvation originated not in the will of man, but in the will of God. Hence, just like the Israelites we contributed nothing to our salvation. Salvation is is by grace alone, in Christ alone through faith alone. As we take a break from Genesis we look forward to Romans, the Gospel of God where we all have sinned against God (Rom 3:23), will be judged by God, destined to die (Rom 6:23) but for those who have been chosen by God (Rom 8:29-30) will be adopted by God (Gal 4:4-8 & Rom 8:14-17) and share in Christ's glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Elder Lawrence Yong
How do you respond to sin?
I know when people sin against me I am very quick to judge and demand justice. How dare they do such a thing! Who do they think they are? In that moment the flood waters of God’s wrath could not come any sooner. And yet, when I get caught out, when I sin and fall, I am quick to ask for mercy. I want the protection and the safety of the Ark. Give me a chance, lets just move on, let it go. I am very harsh with others sins and very lenient with my own sins. Funny how it always seems to be like that. I am clearly not as righteous as I think I am.
In Genesis 10, we see the cracks appearing in Noah’s life. For the past 600 years Noah has been day in and day out living righteously before God. He had just gone through the most dramatic period of his life as he saw first-hand the wrath of God and now having come out of the Ark in a time of new beginnings, second chances, fresh starts – Noah subtlety but dramatically falls into sin. That’s because though the flood waters could wash away sinful humanity from the earth, it could never wash away the sin within the hearts of humanity.
If a righteous man like Noah can fall into sin, then we need to be humble and be watchful over our own sin. Similarly, if all of us are prone to sin and there is no one righteous and beyond sin then we should also be very careful in how we respond to someone else’s sin lest we add to their sin with our own.
When Noah was caught by his son Ham in his sin of drunkenness and nakedness, Ham had a decision to make in how he would respond to his father’s sin. He could either condemn his father or he could be compassionate to his father. It was all too easy for Ham to condemn Noah and to kick him while he was down. Instead, Ham should have been like his brothers Shem and Japheth who in seeing the sin of Noah they did all that they could to love and dignify him nonetheless. There was nothing to gain in demonising Noah nor is there anything to gain in demonising anyone for their sin.
1 Peter 4:8 says: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Shem and Japheth covered over the sins of their father when they walked in backwards and covered Noah’s drunken nakedness. Jesus covered over the sins of the world as he stepped into the world knowing full well he would die for the sins of the world.
As the rainbow was the reminder for God to never destroy the world again as he did with the flood. May the cross remind us to never destroy our brother or sister whom Christ has died for. Let us take sin very seriously and let us take the forgiveness of sins all the more seriously.
Boon Guo Quah
If you have walked in Christian circles or have been around at church for long enough then the name Noah will be very familiar to you. After all he was the man of God who against all odds built an Ark of legendary proportion and saved his family and all the animals in the world.
The crux (pun intended) of the Christian message is the Crucified Christ.
Crucifixion was an ancient form of execution wherein the victim was nailed to a cross and left to die. It was used to deter its witnesses from committing similar crimes. It was a horrific and humiliating way to die – naked and ashamed. The term excruciating literally means out “out of crucifying” and is an indication of the pain experienced.
Christ is a Greek word that means “the anointed one”. That is to say, Christ is a title and not a name. It is not Jesus surname. Jesus is the chosen one, the saviour, the redeemer, the messiah, the anointed one.
So one can appreciate why saying that at the heart of the Christian message is the “Crucified Christ” – people would be triggered and stirred up. And for 2000 years since the first ‘Easter’ when the Christ was crucified, nothing has changed.
In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 the Apostle Paul details the responses that people have to the cross.
This is similar to the trilemma popularised by C.S Lewis asking is Christ Jesus;
If he is a liar then we should be repulsed by him as someone who has intentionally mislead countless people. If he is a lunatic then we should dismiss his claims but need not condemn him. But if Christ Jesus is the Lord, then we can and we ought to believe what he says and following on from the Apostle Paul, we should also boast in the Lord.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
God can save you because Jesus died for you.
Boon Guo Quah
Many Christians tend to engage in evangelism without the partnership of the Holy Spirit. They tend to use human reasoning to convince unbelievers to accept the Gospel and be saved. The outcome of this method is frequent frustration and discouragement.
Jesus showed the disciples a more effective way. He promised to send to them the Holy Spirit, the 3rd Person of the Holy Trinity when He went to heaven (Jn 16:7). The Holy Spirit's powerful role was convicting unbelievers of sin and guilt. The spirit also has the wonderful role of imparting righteousness of God when sinners turned from sin to accept Jesus as Saviour.
Evangelism is a spiritual warfare. As fully man, Jesus had to rely on the Spirit to empower Him to overcome Satan's lordship over mankind. Mankind could not free themselves from Satanic grip. But God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil because God was with Him "(Acts 10:38). Paul was a great evangelist and missionary because he was anointed with the Holy Spirit. Jesus sent Ananias to lay hands on Paul after he was encountered by Jesus at Damascus. Paul was filled with the Spirit and with power. He brought many into the kingdom through the partnership of the Spirit. Paul declared to the Corinthian church "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with the demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom but on God's power" (1 Cor 2:4-5).
The Spirit's role is not to glorify himself in evangelism. His primary role is to honour Jesus (Jn 16:14). Partnership with the Holy Spirit will assuredly bear much fruit of repentance. This is what is desired of all believers. In Lk 11:13, Jesus said "If you being evil now how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask". God is generous in what He promises.
Close partnership with the Spirit will undoubtedly bring much glory to our Lord Jesus. Is there any good reason not to ask the Spirit to be partners in sharing the Gospel?
Is there any reason we keep accepting our uneasiness and frustration of not sharing the Gospel of salvation with our relatives, friends and colleagues? Ask for the Spirit to change us for good.
I used to be spiritless and fruitless in honouring Christ. I changed because the Spirit changed me. I now have faith and trust in the convicting and life changing work of the Spirit. It's a wonderful and joyful experience to see relatives, friends, golfers, even strangers wilfully accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Witnessing is no longer a burden. It's an opportunity to see the Holy Spirit at work with me. Step out in faith and God will step in with power.
Pastor Kim Bew Lim