Monday, September 20, 2010
The Two Edged Sword
A Tale of Two Brothers
This is from a sermon by my pastor, Mark Janke; pastor of Franklin St. Church, Louisville. He said he credits the commentary on Genesis by Dr. John Sailhamer
Genesis 10 could be considered a boring chapter – it’s a list of genealogies. Why would any pastor preach from a chapter of genealogies? Well, my pastor chose to do just that last March and I am so glad he did!
As one reads down the list of names in the genealogy of Noah’s sons, we come to Eber, one of Shem’s sons. Genesis 10:25 says, “And two sons were born to Eber; the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother was Joktan.” What did it mean that the earth was divided? Did a huge earthquake split the earth at that time? Most likely that is not what is meant in this verse. Rather, the earth was divided into two groups of people – two types, if you will. And these two groups are represented by Eber’s two sons, Peleg and Joktan.
If you continue reading in Genesis 10, verses 26-29 lists Joktan’s sons. Then, verse 30 says that their settlement was in the hill country of the east and that's when the story begins to get interesting. Genesis 11:2 tells us that as they journeyed east, they found a plain and settled there. It was here that the people built a city as well as the tower of Babel in the next few verses. What was their motivation in building these? The answer can be found in 11:4, “And they said, ‘Come let us build for ourselves a city and a tower…and let us make for ourselves a name…” They wanted to make a name for themselves.
Peleg’s family was a different story. Genesis 11 also gives their genealogy and if you follow it down to verse 26 you will come to the name of Abram. What makes Abram different from Joktan’s descendants? Well, in Genesis 17: 3-5, we find God telling Abram that He will change Abram’s name to Abraham and will make of him a great nation. Rather than Abram making a name for himself, God made a name for him.
My pastor ended his sermon with this exhortation, “We should pray and ask God to get us off the ‘make a name for ourselves’ path and get us on the ‘Lord make a name for us’ path."