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AMONG THE NATIONS

Daily Devotional Genesis 10:1–32


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.


God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

ACTS 10:34–35


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).


Go Deeper


Did you find any surprises in this genealogy? For further study, look up information on Egypt, Canaan, Assyria, and the Philistines on the internet or in a Bible encyclopedia!


Pray with Us


You created the nations, and You love what You have created. Father, fill our hearts with Your love and concern for all peoples and nations. You know each of us intimately.

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