【Bible Study】Genesis 10: Blessing and Curse, Destruction and Mercy

Bible Study: Genesis

How nice is it to study the Bible! But the problem of studying the Bible, like Genesis chapter 5, is that there is a lot of names. In Genesis chapter 10, there are a lot of names. And all these names, to us, and to me, is very difficult to memorize, and very difficult to pronounce. I can’t even pronounce it well. Why does the Bible record all these names? And why did Moses spend so much effort to dig out all of these people? Are you having the same question like mine? I'm sure when people read the Bible like this, normally for a beginner, reading the Bible, like these kinds of chapters, I told people to jump over: you flip over it, don’t bother, all these names will make no sense to you.

But when I lead the Bible study, I have to say something. What am I going to say about all these things? And what is Moses trying to tell us? We have to find a clue from other places. And over the years I started to realize it is very important.

Let me tell you why Moses wrote this long list of names. Moses led the Israelites, went into the desert, and they were supposed to march into the land of Canaan. The land of Canaan was full of people, already occupied. The land of Canaan: the promised land you want to go into, and somebody already occupied it. And you know what God commanded? God’s command was to kill them all. Come on. If you and I are in the shoes of Moses, what would you think? You know, kill them all? Are you sure, my God? Are you a God of mercy? I can’t believe it. Can we do something different? We thought about it. Canaanites, you stay there and I stay here. That's man's wisdom, right?

Even today the Israelites and the Palestine's are still talking about the border: who stays here, who stays where, which nation it belongs to. And the piece of land is limited. And then how was Moses going to justify it? How was Moses going to justify: “kill them all”? I think that is something you and I have to figure out, right?

What is the topic for chapter 10? The names, the tribes, the clans, and different kinds of nations, different kinds of countries, different kinds of language? And we get this whole list of names. Remember, one of the things is that God actually never justifies is: what he wants to do. He wants to kill all these people, then kill them all. He wants to kill the firstborn in Egypt, then kill them all. Then people say: “Oh, this God!”. But if we were to give a main topic of this chapter, then we can talk about the surrounding of this main topic. What do you think? This is the approach I study in the Bible. I do not divide the whole chapter into many parts. But I hope to dig out: “What is the desire of this God, the God we trust in?”. Can we try? Does anybody want to try? I want to give this time to all of us, and let everyone try. What do you think was the main topic of this chapter? Although I have tried to illustrate the background; what Moses was trying to say to the people at the time: the simple reason is that Israelites came up from Egypt and they wanted to take over the land. And the land is full of people. These people are the descendants of Ham, and God’s command is to kill them all.

Nobody wants to try? Oh my God. So, you keep quiet. Someone says: blessing and curse come from God. Does someone else want to try? Can anyone else try to tell me what is the main topic of this chapter? And this is the approach when I led the Bible study. I have to say something that makes sense. If I say something to give all the facts, I can give a lot of facts. But if I cannot figure out the desire of God, what God is trying to tell us, then there will be a trouble.

When I was doing the Bible study in Chinese, I was facing the same problem. Ok, I’d rather lead you to the book of Romans. Can you go with me to go to the book of Romans? Let’s open the book of Romans, 9:19.

“One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?’” We need figure out God’s will, right? “But who are you, a human, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it: ‘Why did you make me like this?’

Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay, some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath, prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory, even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?”.

I will give this chapter a title: blessing and curse, destruction and mercy. We come to Genesis chapter 10 and we see all the family lines. You know, family lines, or what we call blood lines, actually have a strong impact. But the problem is this: from Adam to Noah, there was only one family left, that is Noah’s family. What about the family lines of others? For example, Cain. No more! The flood took them all away, killed them all. Only the family line of Noah was left on the earth.

But after Noah lived on earth, we look to the next few thousand years: from Noah to today. Then what do we see? We see many clans and tribes of Canaan gone already. All of them passed, came and passed, came and went, and year by year until to the year of Moses. And this Moses wanted to the Israelites to take over the land of Canaan. To take over and kill all of the people in that land. You know Canaan, all the descendants of Canaan, were supposed to be killed by the Israelites. God is doing all these things. But if God wants to bring some clay to form an object, to demonstrate his wrath, or to demonstrate his mercy, then what can we say? What can we say about this? What we can say actually is that men live by faith. And those who trust in the Lord will never be shamed.

So, in the book of Romans, we come to the end of chapter 9: “And the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame”. In the end, Moses wasn’t just talking about the family line. Am I confusing all of you? I hope not. Remember all these people are created by God. But some were destroyed. Like in Moses’s day, the Egyptians, the whole army, were all killed by God. And the firstborn of all the Egyptians were killed by God. And the flood killed a lot of people in Noah's day. And then they list down a line of all the names. And among all the names, many of them supposed to be killed, supposed to be killed again. But what can we say? Can we say: “God, how can you do this?”

Don’t ask God [questions] like this. I am nobody! I am sure you and I are just nobodies, to be asking these kinds of question. Because in the book of Romans, Paul is supposed to answer this kind of silly question. We cannot ask God why, but we can make a choice. We can make a choice. Oh, these are the objects. These people are created to demonstrate destruction, demonstrate God’s wrath and demonstrate that God is the one who wants to show his power over all this. Do you want to be that object? If you don't want, then you choose to be the object of the noble.

Moses was trying to illustrate to the people the concept of destruction. The concept of God’s wrath. The concept from our God that the people who trust in God will always live and will always have a good future and that God's mercy will be displayed through those people who trust in God. I hope I did not confuse all of you. If I confused you, please raise a question now.

I'm trying to figure out what Moses was trying to tell us. OK, throughout the whole Bible, you can see two groups of people. One group of people is like Noah, like Abraham, like Isaac, like Jacob, like Joseph, all these people have the favor of God. All these people have the favor of God. On the other hand, in the whole of the Bible there are a lot of other people. A lot of other people like Cain, Ham, etc. All these other people somehow did not have favor of God. They had wrath of God. But clearly, Moses is trying to move this topic even further: What kind of person do you want to be? What group of people do you want to be? I told myself: My God, I want to be the person who pleases you. That's the point. That's the point.

If you look at the whole history of human beings, there are lot of people who come and go. Although they can be heroes; they can be a great man, they can be a warrior, they can be a very powerful person like a Nimrod. Are you with me? In Chinese history, we have a lot of powerful figures, a lot of heroes. All these people actually were from the book of Genesis chapter 5. All those powerful people are under the wrath of God. The men of renown, the hero, and all these other people who caused the wrath of God. No matter how powerful you are, you cannot be more powerful than God; no matter how strong you are, you cannot be the enemy of Almighty God. If you want to be the enemy of Almighty God, then sorry, you are the object of the wrath. You are the object of cursing; you are the object of God’s wrath and destruction.

So, they listed down their names. Then they told the Israelites that it is your choice: you want to be the people of that kind, or do you want to the people of the other kind. There are two kinds of people. Whether you belong to this family line or you don’t belong to this family line, it does not really matter. Of course, if you are in the family line of Ham, you carry certain characteristics and you are prone to a certain way of thinking a habit. Nevertheless, regardless where you came from, but if you are the person who trusts in the Lord, God will never put you to shame. That was Moses trying to say.

Come back to here. We read this. You will always see the bloodline. For example, Japheth. His family line carries a kind of characteristic; but the family of Ham carried another kind of characteristic. And the family of Shem carried a different kind of characteristic. And I try to observe. When I was ministering people, I always asked what kind of mother you have. The mother has a strong impact on the children. You know sometimes I administer to people. I always, always find the impact of the mother to the child. Of course, even children from the same mother may not be the same. Mother gave birth to five kids, but five kids might have five different characteristics. But that's fine. Even then, they inherit something common from the mother.

My family is very interesting. I have four siblings. My parents have five kids. Five children all inherit different kinds of things from the mother and the father. I inherited all the good things from my mother and my father. That's what I see and what I say. You don't have to believe that. Now, some of my brothers and sisters they inherit different kind of things from my mother and my father. And some inherit all the bad things. Some inherit all the good things. Some are mixture of the good things and the bad things. Anyhow, you get something. So, a family line actually has a strong impact. But regardless what kind of family you come from, that is called the bloodline and called flesh. It is carnal.

To me, I have this great idea that I want to share with you. Anything wrong with you after you come to this earth, to this world. Actually, most of them are useless whether you are born like this. born like that; it’s not going to be useful. The only thing useful is what you learn, and what you pick up along the way. If someone only depends on their birth, that kind of capability, they are not so much different from any animal or beasts. Beasts, they are all born with that kind of capability. But human beings have another capability: learning. When you learn, and you know, I want to be this kind of person; I want to these kinds of people. You actually can. When you want to be this kind of person, because you know the knowledge and you have certain beliefs.

Are you with me? You have a system of knowledge to have the kind of logic to calculate which is worth more, which is worth less, and then you can make a good choice. For Nimrod have the certain kind of calculation. For Ham, he had a certain kind of calculation. For Japheth and for this Shem, all these different people have different kinds of calculation. And some people say this is worth it, and some people say: ”Oh no, that's a curse”. To some people, they say these benefits and to some others they would say: “No, this is something not worth it”. All depends on your knowledge. If what you know is much closer to the real fact or closer to the truth, then you will make something out. Contrary, if what you know is totally different from the truth.

Especially the spiritual truths revealed by God. Because God had built a lot of spiritual principles or spiritual laws governing all the world, everybody falls under the same governing principle. So, for Nimrod, it's just like all other hero. Actually, in fact, he may not enjoy life much. His entire life was actually is the either fighting or on the way to hide or to fight. Either he is fighting or on the way to fight. His whole life is like that. But if we do not know the spiritual truth and somehow, we envy people like Nimrod. Just like in chapter six, a hero and famous man. A powerful man. Sometimes we envy all this.

The family line where you were born, is just like in a family of Ham, or in the family of Sham. But that is only the bloodline. What I'm trying to tell you is that it is not much use. The only useful thing is what you know and what you pick up along the way after you were born. To pick up that kind of knowledge you search; you should seek, and you should try to knock. That was the New Testament actually was telling us: “If you search you will find, and if you knock on the door, the door will be opened for you”. To understand the concept, the concept is: God wants people to figure out the spiritual truth.

So, in the book of Romans, which did not just talk about Israelites but also those Gentiles. Gentiles means all other people besides the Jews. What I am trying to say is that you can see all the family lines and they all have a certain tendency. Ham’s descendants occupied the land of Canaan which was supposed to be taken over by Israelis.

You and I are the people who are blessed. You know, God will take over all the possessions from the people who are cursed and give it to the people who are blessed. That’s how God works. To you it could be something like: “Oh my god, that doesn’t sound good.” You want to be a kind of good man, but you may not please God. God actually created two kinds of people, the first kind of people is to demonstrate the destruction and wrath of God, and the other kind of people is to demonstrate the mercy and blessing of God. There is one kind of people who are created to be the objects of unworthiness and dishonor, while the other objects are created to demonstrate the mercy and blessing of God.

The truth is: “What kind of person do you want to be?” That’s the most important thing. If you ever want to be a kind of people, like the story of Nimrod or Cain, God will bring the wrath on you. Canaan was the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and of the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, [Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites]. I know all these people occupied the land of Canaan, which God promised, to give the land of Canaan to Israelites. But the problem is by the time Moses wrote Chapter 10, I think Moses had a different kind of feeling: “Oh my god, the same bunch of these Israelites, will be to demonstrate the wrath of God.” Are you with me? There are some people who can go into the promised land and there are also some people who are killed in the desert. That’s great sorrow of life. They were already chosen by God and prepared by God to go into the land of Canaan, but they just lost the last step. How pitiful it is. So, I'm trying to say is all these other people carried certain characteristics, but what I am saying is that no matter what kind of family line you are, remember what am I saying. The key is: “what is your choice?”. Yes, the devil and family line can influence you, but nothing can replace what you know about the truth of God. Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. It will become pleasant for those who are seeking the truth.

Even after studying the Bible, like Chapter 10, I am trying to figure out why there are so many names in this chapter. Actually, the whole Bible listed down two kinds of people, there is one kind of people who has favor of God, another kind of people who has wrath of God. People might say: “Great! I am the descendant of Abraham.” That is utterly useless. In the future chapters of Genesis, I will prove it to you. For example, Abraham gave birth to Ishmael and Isaac, Isaac has the favor of God. Isaac has two sons: Esau and Jacob. Even though Esau is the grandson of Abraham, but it doesn't mean anything, the blood line is not useful. The only thing that really matters is your choice. Esau is cursed by God and Jacob is blessed by God. But the problem is that all the Israelis from Jacob’s family line – 12 tribes. All these people came out from Egypt, but there are some people created to be the objects to demonstrate the wrath of God. And many of them are to demonstrate the destruction from God. Are you with me? So, never depend on the family line, it all depends on your knowledge and understanding to know truth of God which is the most important part.

Of course, there are a lot of people in the land of Canaan who were supposed to be killed. But a woman called Rahab who was supposed to be one of the Canaanites to be killed in the city of Jericho; as God already commanded to kill them all including humans and animals, everything that has breath in the city of Jericho. Rahab was among the Canaanites who were supposed to be killed. But because of Rahab’s faith, God saved Rahab and her whole family. Rahab is such a wonderful woman, much more powerful than the people like Nimrod. In the whole Bible. If you read the book of Romans, you can see whether you are Israelite, what kind of blood line you have, or are you the Gentile who has faith in God? Never be put to shame. Wow! How wonderful it is. Today, my message to you is: “You are released from anxiety and restlessness, from the curse in your family line. Regardless how your family has significant impact on you, it won’t replace your choice.”

Every time when I was administering other people, I can somehow see image of the mother, but you and I have to be very cautious because it is a natural part of being human: flesh and carnal. You can see Shem’s family line, but only Abraham was chosen; the percentage is very low. He was chosen, not because Abraham was Abraham, it is because Abraham seeks and finds, God only speaks to those who seek him. For people who seek the truth of God, you will observe the whole world. If you study the human history, you can see every person has to die and leave the world. And the one who trusts in the Lord will live forever. During the days of Abraham, people still have clear memory of Noah’s story: how Noah was saved by God, and how the flood came and killed all the people. This Abraham saw how people come and go, be born and die, Abraham made a decision to seek God. Today, I encourage all of you to seek truth with knowledge and understanding, knowing the fundamental principles and dealing with all our habits coming from the family line.

Regardless of what kind of habit it is, we can deal with them all. And we want to be the person who has favor of God. God is God, we can never have the same position as God and we should never question God: “Why are you doing this?”. We can only question: “Why are we behaving like this?”. We should be moving along with God, moving along with the truth of God. That's what I want to encourage all of you. Thank you for your patience and thank you for listening to my Bible study for this chapter.

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