Genesis 10:1; 11:10, 27, 31, 32; Genesis 12:1-4
Genealogies in God’s Word are probably more often scanned than read. They are filled with names we often cannot pronounce and give records of people with whom we are unfamiliar.
These accounts should not be overlooked by readers, though. Genesis 10 is Moses’ record of “the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth,” the people who populated the world.
After the Flood’s waters receded, God told Noah and his sons, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Genesis 10 lists the generations that populated the nations beginning with Japheth, followed by Ham and Shem. Ham’s descendants are in the middle of the genealogy. These were the people who settled the land that would eventually become known as Israel. So, the land of God’s chosen people is given at the center of this genealogy as if to say His plan is central to everything else.
Shem’s descendants are listed in the last part of Genesis 10, and it is there we are told he was the father of all the children of Eber. This is significant because the covenant people of God, the Hebrews, descended from Eber.
A second genealogy of Shem is given beginning in Genesis 11:10, and it is there the story of Abram begins. Eber was the great-grandson of Shem, who is sometimes been referred to as the father of the Hebrews.
God blessed and preserved this family, even during the time of the tower of Babel. They lived in Ur of the Chaldees, a land of idolatrous people who worshipped the moon god. Who would have thought God had a plan to bless all the nations of the earth through this family? And yet He did.
From the genealogy we learn Arphaxad was the son of Shem. Salah was the son of Arphaxad and Eber the son of Salah. Peleg was the son of Eber, and he was the father of Reu. Reu had a son, Serug, who was the father of Nahor. Terah was Nahor’s son, and Terah had three sons, Abram, Nahor and Haran.
Haran died, leaving behind a son, Lot. It is now we see this family, led by Terah, stirred by the Lord’s leading to move from their homeland and go to Canaan. Terah was joined by Abram and Sarai and Lot. They traveled as far as Haran and Scripture tells us they “dwelt there.”
God called Abram, saying, go to “a land that I will shew thee.” God promised to make a great nation from Abram, whose name means high, or exalted, father. It was an unusual promise to a man who had no children, but God had plans for Abram and Sarai.
Sarai’s barrenness was no obstacle for God, and He would keep His promise. God never fails.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]