Online Worship for Trinity Seven, Sunday July 18, 2021
Sermon for Trinity Seven – Sunday July 18, 2021
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
Dear Friends in Christ,
It has become very popular in our world to seek out our family origins, in an effort to answer the questions:
“Who am I and where did I and my family come from?”
Now the immediate answer to those questions isn’t usually very difficult to answer. Most of us knew and were able to talk to our parents and grandparents and maybe even great grandparents. They told us about their childhoods and where and how they grew up. They might even have told us about ‘the old country.’ We probably assume – based on our names and the ethnic heritage of our parents and grandparents – that we know where we and our families came from. If curious, you can look into your family tree through companies like: Ancestry.com.
Recently, it’s become popular to ‘discover your ancestry’ by means of a DNA test. Simply pay for the kit and test your blood and you might find out that you are descended from the Philistines or the Hittites! CRI Genetics, Ancestry DNA and 23 and Me all claim to be able to find out your ethnic background scientifically by means of their test!
Well, generally speaking, I know exactly where I came from and where you came from. We are all descended from the first man and his wife, Adam and Eve. We all are related through Noah. After the World-wide Flood, humanity started over, and our family tree can be traced back to one of Noah’s three sons: Shem, Ham or Japeth.
In the 10th Chapter of Genesis, the Spirit of God reveals to us through Moses how the sons of Noah expanded and came to be the nations of the world. Our own nations have arisen from them. Are you a Shem-ite, Ham-ite or Japeth-ite? Do you know?
Now maybe you are thinking: “I don’t care about who my great, great, great, great, great, great-grandfather was or what he did for a living.” Well, good; I can’t tell you that; this isn’t a genealogy workshop, it’s a worship service.
We will just hit the highlights of the 10th Chapter of Genesis and be reminded why it all matters to us. In the end, it matters because of one of Shem’s descendants, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, who died to save us all.
Now, since this portion of God’s Word is 32 verses long, take a seat and try not to fall asleep (or stand in judgment of the pastor as he attempts to read all of these names). May God the Holy Spirit bless our study of these words, for they are the very words of God and therefore worthy of our time. Amen.
Genesis 10:1–32 (NKJV)
Now this is the genealogy of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And sons were born to them after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan (Ya-van), Tubal (Tu-bal), Meshech (Me-shek), and Tiras (T-ras).
3 The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz (Ash-kenaz), Riphath (Ree-path), and Togarmah (Toe-gar-mah).
4 The sons of Javan (Yah-van) were Elishah (Eli-shah), Tarshish, Kittim (Kit-eem), and Dodanim (Doe-da-neem).
5 From these the coastland peoples of the Gentiles were separated into their lands, everyone according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.
6 The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.
7 The sons of Cush were Seba (Se-bah), Havilah (Cha-vee-lah), Sabtah (Sav-tah), Raamah (Ra-mah), and Sabtechah (Sav-teka);
and the sons of Raamah (Ra-mah) were Sheba (Si-bah) and Dedan (Di-dan).
8 Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.” 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech (Eric), Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir (Ri-Cho-boat Ear), Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city).
13 Mizraim begot Ludim (Lou-deem), Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim (Naf-tuh-chim), 14 Pathrusim (Pot-ruh-seem), and Casluhim (Kas-luh-chim) (from whom came the Philistines and Caphtorim).
15 Canaan begot Sidon his firstborn, and Heth (Ch-eth); 16 the Jebusite, the Amorite, and the Girgashite; 17 the Hivite, the Arkite, and the Sinite (See-neat); 18 the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite (Cha-ma-thite). Afterward the families of the Canaanites were dispersed. 19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon as you go toward Gerar (Ge-rah), as far as Gaza; then as you go toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah (Ad-mah), and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.
20 These were the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, in their lands and in their nations.
21 And children were born also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber (Ay-bear), the brother of Japheth the elder. 22 The sons of Shem were Elam (A-lam), Asshur, Arphaxad (Ar-fac-sahd), Lud, and Aram (Ah-ram).
23 The sons of Aram were Uz (U-tz), Hul, Gether (Get-er), and Mash.
24 Arphaxad (Ar-fac-sahd) begot Salah (Sal-ach), and Salah begot Eber (Ay-bear).
25 To Eber (Ay-bear) were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan (Yak-tan).
26 Joktan (Yak-tan) begot Almodad, Sheleph (Shah-lef), Hazarmaveth (Cha-zar-mavet), Jerah (Jer-roch), 27 Hadoram, Uzal (0o-zal), Diklah, 28 Obal, Abimael (A-bima-ale), Sheba, 29 Ophir (Oh-fear), Havilah (Cha-vee-lah), and Jobab (Yo-bob). All these were the sons of Joktan (Yak-tan). 30 And their dwelling place was from Mesha (May-shah) as you go toward Sephar (Si-far-rah), the mountain of the east.
31 These were the sons of Shem, according to their families, according to their languages, in their lands, according to their nations.
32 These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood.
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Through whom we are children of God,
In whom we are heirs of the Father’s House,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Precious Blood –
When I was a child, like many boys, I was, um…less than tidy when it came to my bedroom. Moreover, to compound matters, I shared a bedroom with my brother, Seth. I’d love to tell you that our room was neat and tidy, but that would be a lie. So, naturally from time to time, my parents (specifically my mother) would tell us that it was time to clean the room. It always seemed an impossible task and we would wonder, “Where do I start?”
We might wonder the same thing when reading the 10th Chapter of Genesis. When we start out, we are somewhat familiar with the names Shem, Ham and Japeth. We might even be slightly familiar with names like Nimrod and Canaan, but the rest of the names are completely unfamiliar and even difficult to pronounce!
Where do we start in ‘unwrapping’ the genealogy of Noah and his sons? Well, after repeating the names of Noah’s sons, the Spirit of God begins with the youngest, Japeth.
Japheth -- It would be of no consequence to tell the life story of people who didn’t play a role in the family tree of the Promised Savior, so we are simply told the names of 7 sons and 7 grandsons of the youngest son of Noah.
Then we are told that generally speaking, Japeth and his sons settled north of the Mediterranean Sea. They developed according to countries, languages and family divisions and expanded from there. They became the Greeks, the Medes, those in Asia Minor, along the coast and among the Islands in the Mediterranean. They lived in places that today we call: Britain, Scotland, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia (in the former Soviet Union) Cyprus, Crete and other Islands.
See? That wasn’t that bad, was it? Let’s unwrap a little more.
Ham – The Spirit of God reveals the names of 30 descendants of Ham, including 4 sons – Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan, as well as numerous grandsons and great-grandsons and even nations that descended from Noah’s middle son.
Again, generally speaking, Ham and his sons settled south of the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa, Canaan and in the Arabian Desert. They also developed according to country, language and family and expanded from there.
They lived in places that today we call Tunisia, Ethiopia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Sudan.
Nimrod – The Spirit of God also speaks in detail about one particular grandson, descended from the firstborn Cush, named Nimrod. He is described as a ‘mighty hunter’ but not because he hunted animals, but men. He developed a reputation as he captured other men. It was Nimrod that developed what would become Babylon and Assyria, even building the city of Nineveh.
Mizraim, 2nd son of Ham and his relatives became the nation of Egypt, among others on the north coast of Africa. The Philistines also came from among the families of Mizraim.
Canaan -- When the Children of Israel entered the Promised Land, they encountered the distant relatives of Ham, the Canaanites, who were divided into smaller groups – Jebusite (living near Jerusalem), Amorite, Girgashite, Hivite, Arkite, Sinite, Zemarite and Hamathite.
OK, so that was a little more involved. Let’s unwrap the last bit.
Shem -- The Spirit of God reveals the names of 5 sons, 6 grandsons, 2 great-grandsons and 13 great, great-grandsons that descended from Noah’s first-born son.
Generally speaking, Shem and his sons settled south and east of Mount Ararat where the Ark came to rest after the flood and in the Arabian Desert. They developed according to country, language and family and expanded from there. They lived in places that we today call: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and Ethiopia.
Arphazad’s (Ar-fac-sahd) son, Eber (Ay-bear) – Is mentioned because a distant relative of Eber was named Abram. So the Israelites were descended from Shem, the oldest son of Noah.
Are you sleepy yet? Wake up, we are done unwrapping the genealogy of Noah’s sons.
In summary, think of it like this:
Shem – If your family tree originates in Asia, you are probably related to Shem.
Ham – If it begins in Africa, you may be related to Ham.
Japheth -- If your family tree is from Europe you may be related to Japheth.
What is the point of this tedious little exercise?
The Accuracy of God’s Word -- Let’s remember that this is God’s Word, true and accurate in every detail. While Mormonism’s ‘holy book’, The Book of Mormon presents events and a history not supported by secular history, the careful work of archaeologists have confirmed the Bible’s account is accurate on every genealogical point. Time spent studying God’s Word is never wasted time.
But finally, one’s family tree and branches is interesting and oddly comforting – but of no lasting consequence. It might be interesting fodder for a family reunion, it guarantees us nothing in this life or the life to come. We may be proud of our family tree, but whether descended of Shem, Ham or Japeth, none of us obtains thereby a ‘get into heaven because you are related card.’
We may be descended from different people from different regions with different languages, but no matter your ethnic background or skin tone, we are all descended from one man, from one blood. In speaking to the men of Athens, likely distant relatives of Japeth, the Apostle Paul (descended of Shem) said (Acts 17:26-28):
And He [God, that is, the God of the Bible] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’
Therefore, since we are all – without exception - descended of Adam it is also true that we and our families are born like fallen Adam, sinful and corrupt. We are born proud of ourselves and hostile to God, as it is written (Romans 8:7-8):
“…the carnal [natural, fleshly, unconverted] mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
We are hard-wired (because of sin) to go our own way, to be self-centered, not God centered. From day to day, we hesitate even to recognize or bear witness to our weakness and utter dependence upon our Creator.
Who you are related to by birth and blood means nothing if in the end we die in our sins, without a peaceful relationship with God our Creator! It is possible, even likely for much of the human race, because, as it is written (Romans 3:23):
“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
It is an urgent matter. Death will come to us as it has to every generation before us and every generation that follows us. Unless our Creator steps in and stops this circus, it will continue as it has since Shem, Ham and Japeth followed their father Noah off the Ark.
There is hope for you…because if you can hear or read this you are alive and still in your time of grace. When everything went terribly wrong back in Eden and the first man and woman disobeyed God, bringing sin and death into this world and upon us all; God first promised to make things right again.
When the time was right, God did just that by sending his own Son into the human race. He was born of a distant relative of Shem, named Mary. She gave birth to the unique, the one and only God-man, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. God was in Christ working to reconcile fallen humankind to Himself – not by ignoring sin but by making atonement for it.
This isn’t revisionist history, it’s God’s own truth, for it is written (2 Corinthians 5:18-21):
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
I know you know this already. I know that I’m preaching to the choir. I want you to consider today that out of the mass of humanity, God has called you to faith in His Son. He has separated you from sin and dedicated you in body and mind to serve Him.
Let’s appreciate what has been done for us and get to work being spokespeople for God, ambassadors of the message of reconciliation. It is our privilege to tell the people of this region and around the world that God has paid the entire debt of sin and that those that trust in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as the atoning sacrifice for sin – are adopted into the family of God and are at peace with God.
So, it is written for our comfort and joy (Romans 5:1-2):
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
God has intervened in your life through Word and Sacrament. We were – by birth and nature – on the wide road that leads to destruction, but God has turned us around by His amazing grace and He would do the same through you in the lives of others. We are on the narrow path (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24) that leads to life but the traffic seems light.
I’m a mixture of two families, Schaller and Grams. I can trace my family tree back for generations and see my family’s characteristics in myself and my siblings and cousins. Maybe you can do the same.
Still, we do not place our hopes for the future upon our blood or family tree. We may or may not be able to trace our family tree back to one of three men. We place our hopes for the present and the future on one man who was also God incarnate, who died to redeem us from sin – Jesus of Nazareth the Son of God.
By Him, we are recipients of the grace of God.
Blessed are the sons of God, They are bought with Christ’s own blood;
They are ransomed from the grave, Life eternal they shall have:
They are justified by grace, They enjoy the Savior’s peace;
All their sins are washed away, They shall stand in God’s great Day:
They are lights upon the earth, Children of a heavenly birth;
One with God, with Jesus one; Glory is in them begun:
With them numbered may we be here and in eternity (TLH 391) Amen.