Summary: Continuing on with our sermon series in Genesis. In this sermon we are looking at Nimrod and the nations after the flood of Noah, and how it all applies to us today.
Genesis (Pt. 20) The Post Flood Nations
Text: Genesis 10:1-32
By: Ken McKinley
We’ve come to the point in our study of Genesis where things begin to get a bit more complicated. Noah has died, and so Moses, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, begins a new section in history where the revelation of God’s will and God’s Word is going to be limited to the descendants of Shem, who would later become the Hebrew people. But before Moses does that, He’s going to tell us a little bit about the descendants of Ham and Japheth. Now it’s interesting here (at least it is to me) that if you count up all the names of the descendants of Noah’s children, you come up with 70 names that form distinct people groups (30 nations come from Ham, 26 come from Shem and 14 come from Japheth), and when we get to the NT, in Luke chapter 10, we see Jesus send out 70 disciples. Now the NIV translates it as 72 and the reason for that is because the NIV was translated from the Septuagint, which was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The NKJV is translated from the Masoretic Text. So it’s not an error on the part of our modern translators, but whether it's 70 or 72, the point is; that Jesus clearly had in mind that His followers should be reaching all the nations. Now granted, there are thousands of people groups now days, but all of those groups originated from Noah and his 3 sons.
So first we see Japheth, and for much of the OT we don’t actually hear a lot about Japheth, or his descendants. Just once in a while… not until we get to the NT when we start hearing about the Greeks and the Romans. Next we see the descendants of Ham, and this is basically a list of “Biblical bad guys.” In the descendants of Ham, you’ve got Egypt, and Canaan, and a few other peoples. And basically much of the remaining OT is going to be about the enmity we see between Shem and Ham, with Japheth off to the side. And again, about the only time we see the descendants of Japheth in the OT is when they are being used as instruments of judgment on the descendants of Ham. And again; that’s a pattern we see over and over again in the Old Testament. Now when we get to verse 8 there’s sort of a pause in the genealogy list and we read about this guy Nimrod. We see that Nimrod is a descendant of Ham and in verse 9 we’re told that he was a mighty hunter before the LORD. Now the English language doesn’t do justice to the Hebrew here. It’s not like Nimrod managed to get himself a couple of trophy bucks and some big game. There’s more to it than that. The Holy Spirit is the One who inspired Moses to write this, and when God inspires someone to write that a person was a “mighty one on the earth…” we might want to take notice. That terminology implies that not only was Nimrod physically strong, but that he had a great influence upon man, and on those he was around. If we read on, we see that Nimrod was a kingdom builder, and people followed him. The name “Nimrod” in Hebrew means, “Let us rebel,” and we’re told here that he was the one who was responsible for the city of Babel and also Nineveh. And we’ll talk more about him next week (Lord willing), but for now I want you to understand that Nimrod wasn’t a godly man.
He was a rebel, he was in rebellion against God, and he was leading people astray. Now I don’t know about you; but that sounds like someone else we’ve read about in the Bible, earlier in Genesis.
So Nimrod was in rebellion against God, but remember; he’s also very influential, and he’s very wealthy and powerful. So the 1st lesson we can learn from that is that wealth and power aren’t always a good indicator of how good a relationship a person has with God. Power, wealth, and influence can all be found in abundance in the world, or within the Church. God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust alike. That’s why we look and see if there is evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a person’s life, and when it comes to a person in leadership – whether it’s a king, or a politician, or a pastor or priest, we need to examine their actual relationship with the Lord, we need to examine the words they are saying in light of Scripture, we need to look at their walk. Often times we just look at how charismatic or likeable a person is and what they are saying or their actual character comes second, when it should be what we look at first.