Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
- NO BIBLE STUDY TONIGHT. Due to sickness and to folks traveling, we WILL NOT HAVE BIBLE STUDY TONIGHT. We will take a break thru the holidays and will resume our study in January. We are exactly 1/2 way thru Zechariah, thus it marks a nice stopping point. Please plan to join us for the second half of Zechariah beginning in January, 2016.
- MEN’S NIGHT at the Rockets game. Please let me know ASAP if you can join us for a Rockets game on Wed, December 2, at 7:00PM. I would like to get the tickets as close together as possible, and likely will be ordering them tomorrow.
- LADIES’ CHRISTMAS PARTY. The ladies’ Christmas party is scheduled for Friday, December 11, at 7:00PM. More details to come.
- THANK OFFERING 2015. Please prayerfully consider supporting the annual OPC Thank Offering. You can learn more about the thank offering in the recent New Horizons, or by searching here: http://opc.org/cce/ThankOffering.html. We will collect the thank offering in early December.
- OUTREACH SUNDAY. It is our desire and prayer to be an evangelistic and outreach-focused church. To that end, we have occasional ‘Outreach Sundays.’ This is simply and opportunity for you to invite inquirers, friends, neighbors, etc,to join us for worship. We will have our Outreach Sunday on Sunday, Dec 6. Please be in prayer for the Lord to bless this time of outreach.
- WEEKLY DEVOTION. This week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from Genesis 10, the “Table of Nations.”
From the Pastor’s Desk
“The Coastland Peoples”
Genesis 10:5, “From these the coastland peoples spread in their lands, each with his own language, by their clans, in their nations.”
The Apostle Paul teaches us that all Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for the church (2 Tim 3:16-17). But perhaps there are some passages that leave us wondering where the profit is? For example, what is the profit in reading chapters of genealogies? Or perhaps even more to the point, where is the profit in the ‘ethno-graphic’ (i.e. both ethnic and geographic) genealogy of Genesis 10, the so-called ‘Table of Nations.’ But indeed there is great profit. All of God’s word if food for our souls. There is much the Spirit has to teach us in these apparently mundane passages. In this devotion, I want to briefly consider the ‘Table of Nations’ from Genesis 10 and see what riches our Lord has for us. And there are two points to note, one general and one specific.
First, generally, we note the overall structure of the passage. Typically, when the sons of Noah are mentioned, they are listed in the order, “Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Gen 6:10; 9:18; 10:1). Thus we would expect the genealogy of Genesis 10 to follow the same pattern. What we find, however, is that Noah’s sons, and the people and nations that descended from them, are listed in inverse order. That is, Japheth’s descendants are listed first (10:2-5); then Ham’s descendants (vv. 6-20); and finally Shem’s descendants (vv. 21-31). We also note how vv. 1, 32 form an inclusio (that is, they function like brackets) for the passage thereby setting it apart as a distinct literary unit. But the question for us is, “Why the inverse in order of the sons – why is the order now Japheth, Ham, and Shem?” The Table of Nations sets the stage for the drama to follow – it forms something of a backdrop to all that follows. And what follows is God’s dealing with one particular family, the family of Abraham. And it is through this family that God will bring blessing to the nations! And the man through whom the blessing will come will be a Shemite – Abraham is a Shemite! In other words, Shem and his descendants are placed last because they will be the focus of God’s plan of salvation – they will be the family through whom the Redeemer will come. Thus, they are placed in the position of emphasis. In fact, the reader will note that Shem’s descendants are repeated in Gen 11:10-26, the immediate context of God’s call of Abraham (12:1ff).
Second, we can examine one specific detail in Gen 10:5 to highlight the depth of God’s riches in his word. Verse 5 states, “From these the coastland peoples spread in their lands, each with his own language, by their clans, in their nations.” The prophets pick up on two terms in this verse in a significant way, ‘coastland peoples’ and ‘nations.’ For example, the prophet Isaiah says, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the ‘nations’ … He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the ‘coastlands’ wait for his law” (Is 42:1, 4; cf Ps 72:10-11). God’s purposes extend even to the ‘coastland peoples’ and the ‘nations.’ That is to say, God’s purposes extend to the Gentiles – they extend to the world – they extend to you and me! God’s concern is for the nations – he has his sheep in the farthest corners of the globe. And while this reality is hinted at in the Old Testament (e.g. 1 Kings 4:34; Amos 9:11-12), it is set on full glorious display in the New Testament. Indeed, in the book of Acts the gospel goes forward to the nations (to the Gentiles) … and it is still going forth today!
Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), www.csopc.org