Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Table Of Nations

In Genesis there is a table of nations. It explains the nations that came from Shem, Ham and Japheth. Ham occupied the western and southern coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, what is modern day Palestine and north-east Africa. Shem occupied Babylonia and the Arabian Peninsula. Japheth occupied Asia Minor, the Caucus Mountain region and the European coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea. I started thinking about what is the application of this information in my own life. On the surface, it seems like just a lot of geographic and ethnographic information. But as I thought about it prayerfully I realized that I could flip page or two and there would be Abram being promised that all nations of the earth would be blessed through him. Perhaps as modern readers we might be tempted to think too small when we see God's promise of blessing all nations through the Abrahamic covenant. Perhaps we might think Abram and Moses really did not understand the complexities of various people groups, but if you read this passage, all peoples is a wide range of peoples. I don't think it is intended to be an exhaustive list, but a list of the relevant people that the children of Israel would have been exposed to at the time of the writing of the book of Genesis. The peoples named are all within about a 1500 mile distance from the Palestine region. Most detailed listing of people groups are those in Canaan and Egypt, the places they knew the best. I wonder if when we think of missions, if each person would make their own table of nations, what countries and people groups each person would come up with if they had to list every people group they had some sort of personal contact with. For instance, I have taken Arabic classes and so on my list would be Arabic speaking countries like Egypt and Lebanon. I know several people from Mexico because of the missionaries from our church who are serving there. I wonder how the various lists would compare when people in an average church compared their personal table of nations.

Here is my own personal table of nations:

Saudi Arabia
South Korea
South Africa
The Netherlands

I defined my list by people I have personally met from the country.

But then I started thinking about the various people I know through blogging my table of nations from blogging is pretty international too.

If others want to post their own table of nations I would be interested to read other people's postings too.
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