Knowing where you come from is important and can help you connect to your family in a new way. The sense of history you gain from learning about your family can help you see God’s hand at work in your own life. There are several places in Scripture where God has genealogies recorded for a purpose. Today you are going to read about the generations of Shem, one of Noah’s sons.
- What do you know of your heritage? Has it had any impact on your life or who you have become?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 11:10-26 (ESV)
10 These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11 And Shem lived after he fathered Arpachshad 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
12 When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he fathered Shelah. 13 And Arpachshad lived after he fathered Shelah 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he fathered Eber. 15 And Shelah lived after he fathered Eber 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he fathered Peleg. 17 And Eber lived after he fathered Peleg 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he fathered Reu. 19 And Peleg lived after he fathered Reu 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he fathered Serug. 21 And Reu lived after he fathered Serug 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he fathered Nahor. 23 And Serug lived after he fathered Nahor 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he fathered Terah. 25 And Nahor lived after he fathered Terah 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
26 When Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Looking at verses 10-11, how old was Shem when he fathered Arpachshad? How old was he when he died?
- In verse 24, how old was Nahor when he fathered Terah? How old was he when he died? Do you notice a change in the life span during these eight generations?
- This passage connects Noah to Abram and God’s promise and renewal in Noah to Abram. Who will be in your lineage (either familial or spiritual), and what can you do to be sure that your descendants know God?
RESPOND TO GOD
After the flood, life spans began to decline. Shem lived 600 years, Peleg lived 239 years, and Nahor lived for 148 years. The reign of man upon the earth is being shortened. More importantly in this passage, God shows us the family tree of Abram, who was chosen by God for a special purpose. God did not choose Abram randomly; he selected a person related to Noah, a man of righteousness and faith.
- Take time today to reflect on how God has used your parents, grandparents, or another family member to point you to faith. If that is not evident, thank him for how he has revealed his grace and mercy to you.
- Thank God for the people he has used to encourage you in faith and ask him to show you someone you can likewise encourage.