(Genesis 10-11, Matthew 10; Optional Psalm 9:11-20, Proverbs 3:5-10)
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GENESIS 10-11 – We were SUPPOSED to cover Gen 10 yesterday, and I mis-read the reading plan (which I’m editing for next time – I think it’s helpful to read Gen 10 and 11 together). Some quick comments…
Gen 10 is often called the “Table of Nations”. We’ll see LOTS of these nations again through the story of Israel. From ESV Study Bible: “Many of the people groups mentioned in Genesis 10 can be identified with relative certainty. In general, the descendants of Ham settled in North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean coast, the descendants of Shem in Mesopotamia and Arabia, and the descendants of Japheth in Europe and the greater area of Asia Minor.” Ham’s line gets so much attention because so many of Israel’s enemies came from there. Shem’s line gets lots of attention because he is the father of the Semitic people groups (including Israel).
Gen 10:5 – “each with his own language” – This prepares us for what will happen in Gen 11.
Gen 10:21 – “Eber” is highlighted out of birth order (compare Gen 10:25), and many think he is why Jewish people are also called “Hebrews”. Eber is the ancestor of Abram / Abraham, and this prepares us for his story in Gen 12.
Gen 10:25 – “the earth was divided” – Probably preparing us for the division of people in Gen 11.
Gen 11:4 – “let us make a name for ourselves” – Contrast Gen 12:2, where God Himself promises to make Abram’s name great. “lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth” – Well, that’s exactly what God COMMANDED after the flood (see Gen 9:1, 7). So this place (the same area that would later become Babylon) was established to do THEIR way rather than God’s. But look whose will always wins in the end (Gen 11:8)!
Gen 11:6-9 – The fact that many languages are on the earth has this sad, sinful beginning, but see Rev 5:9-10 to see God’s ultimate plan. Jesus will get glory and eternal praise for saving people from “every tribe and LANGUAGE and people and nation”. God has planned that EVERYTHING that happens will work together for His ultimate GLORY and for the ultimate GOOD of His people! This is NOT an excuse for sin, but a constant reason for praise and joy in God no matter how dark or evil a situation is.
Gen 11:10 – “These are the generations of…” Again, here’s the phrase God uses throughout Genesis when He’s FOCUSING IN on a smaller group. Here the line of Shem, leading up to Abram (who will be renamed Abraham).
Here’s an 8 minute video overview getting you ready for the rest of Genesis: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/genesis-12-50/
MATTHEW 10 – The calling of the twelve apostles and Jesus sending them out on their first preaching and ministry trip. Matt 10:5-15 are instructions for this short-term missions trip. Then the instructions of Jesus seem to expand to cover ALL of His people until His return (there are things in the second part of Matt 10 that clearly did NOT fully apply for this first short-term trip – Matt 10:18 for example). Matt 10:26-33 is about living free of anxiety and fear (except for one fear that’s commanded), even when times are incredibly tough.
Matt 10:2 – “twelve apostles”. Parallel to the twelve tribes of Israel we’ll be reading about in Genesis. “Apostle” means one who is SENT, who has authority to REPRESENT the one who is sending them. Jesus delegates authority to heal, cast out demons, and preach the same message He’s been preaching (see Matt 10:1, 7-8). Peter (a clear leader and spokesman) is always listed first in any list of the twelve, and Judas Iscariot is always listed last.
Matt 10:5-6 – For this first short-term trip they were ONLY to go to Jewish folks. We’ve seen in Matt 8:10-12, and will see very clearly in Matt 10:18, 28:18-20 that it will not always be this way. Rom 1:16 summarizes God’s plan: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Matt 10:9-10 – Specific instructions for THIS short-term trip (contrast Luke 22:36-36).
Matt 10:16 – From here on through the end of the Matt 10, Jesus expands the instructions from this short-term trip to prepare ALL of His followers until He returns. Two main themes: 1) things will often be very rough in this fallen world for believers. 2) We should be wise and cautious (Matt 10:16-17, 23), but NOT anxious or fearful (Matt 10:19, 26-33). Don’t miss the one PROPER fear Jesus COMMANDS us to have – fear God, “who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt 10:28; also 1 Pet 2:17) This PROPER fear of God is to burn away all our fear of people who can only “kill the body” (Matt 10:28; cf 2 Cor 5:8). I have a capital “F” written beside Matt 10:28 because this is such a key verse in understanding a biblical fear of God and how it’s necessary to remove other fears and worries.
D.A. Carson, summarizing this section in his helpful devotional For the Love of God (Vol 1):
“What will stabilize us in such times? This chapter mentions several precious supports: the recognition that Jesus our Master was hated before us (10:24–25); assurance that in the end justice will be done and will be seen to be done (10:26–27); recognition that a proper fear of God reduces fear of human beings (10:28); quiet confidence in the sovereignty of God, even in these circumstances (10:29–31); encouraging recognition that those who do receive us receive Christ, and therefore receive God (10:40); Christ’s own promise that the rewards of eternity cannot fail (10:41–42).
In any case, a fundamental principle is at stake: This is the way Christians view things; indeed, it is bound up with being a Christian. “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (10:38–39).”
Optional Psalm 9:11-20 – Continued encouragement for believers who are persecuted and oppressed. Don’t miss the missionary command in Ps 9:11, or the REASONS for the prayer for help: “that I may RECOUNT all Your praises, that…I may REJOICE in Your salvation.” (Ps 9:14). I’ve written a capital “F” next to Ps 9:20 as I study the fear of God throughout the Bible.
Ps 9:19-20 – A wonderful prayer for fellow believers in countries where they are persecuted for following Jesus.
Optional Proverbs 3:5-10 – Prov 3:5-7 – Trust in the LORD and follow HIS way. Our tendency (and the message shouted by much of our culture) is to lean on our OWN understanding / insight / feelings. I’ve written a capital “F” beside Prov 3:7 because it’s such a key verse reminding us that fear of God is connected with turning away from evil (also see Prov 8:13).
Prov 3:10 – We noticed in Gen 9 that the FIRST mention of wine in Gen 9:21 is negative, and that MANY of the biblical references to wine involve warning. But Prov 3:10 is a positive mention. See Rom 14 about how believers can have differing convictions in areas where God hasn’t given clear commands. The main point in life is that we are to honor God, and acknowledge HIM in ALL our ways (Prov 3:6).