This post is the entry for January 12, 2024. It is titled "Among the Nations". The bible reading associated with it is Genesis 10 which is the genealogy of Noah and his sons. This is really pertinent today with all this is going on in the Middle East with Israel, it's neighbors and the Palestinians. I urge you to read Genesis 10 either before or after reading this post.
At the Art Institute of Chicago, there is a large painting titled “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat. It depicts 19th-century people relaxing by a river. However, upon closer inspection, you see that this is no ordinary painting! Seurat used a technique called pointillism, fashioning the image from thousands of tiny dots.
While we may be tempted to skip past genealogies in the Bible, these lists of individual names come together to paint a larger picture of God’s plan and faithfulness. This genealogy in Genesis 10 also communicated important truths for ancient Israel and for us today. In the ancient world, most societies traced their lineage directly to the beginning of the world and to the gods. They told stories of their founding that made them somehow better than all the other people in the world. In contrast, Genesis 10 describes the formation of most of the nations that existed in Israel’s world: Egypt, Canaan, Assyria, the Philistines. Israel is not even mentioned in the chapter.
There are two important points that follow from this. First, we are told that all the peoples of the world trace their origins back to Noah and Adam. Israel was not to view itself as superior because of their lineage. Nowhere in Scripture do we find an endorsement for racism or a sense of ethnic superiority. We are all connected in one great human family.
Second, it should not surprise Israel that God cares for all the nations. As one theologian put it, “Prior to the particularity of God’s call to Abram...we have the Table of Nations with its universal concern for nations and territories.” This concern for the nations is also reflected in Jesus’ command to the church to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19).