January 4

Read Genesis 10 -- 12

In Today's Reading:

Descendants of Noah; Babel; origin of languages; God's call and covenant with Abram; his journey to Canaan and Egypt.

Nimrod is the first king mentioned in the Bible: His kingdom started with Babylon (Genesis 10:10). Nimrod means "rebel." He was a powerful hunter in the sight of the LORD (10:9). Later we read: Nimrod . . . was the first to become a great warrior on the earth (I Chronicles 1:10).

With Nimrod as their leader, the people united to build a city and a tower with its top in the sky (Genesis 11:4). They said: Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth. The words make a name for ourselves revealed their desire for power. The human heart seeks a name for itself and has no desire to glorify God.

The powerful Nimrod established the first world empire and ruled it. His ambition to build a tower with its top in the sky did not mean he expected to reach the throne of the Almighty God — his desire was to make himself and his followers powerful enough to rule the world. Nimrod was a hunter — probably meaning a hunter of men who would support his ambitions. In the sight of the LORD means that this rebel pursued his own ambitious plans in defiance of God, who commanded Adam: Multiply, fill the earth (1:28); and to Noah: Multiply and fill the earth (9:1).

Just as in the days of Nimrod, today there is a worldwide movement to unite and control all people and all religions into a one-world government and one church. The only assurance of not being deceived in this age of lawlessness is knowing the word of God. It alone exposes the actions of leaders in world affairs.

In striking contrast to Abram, who symbolizes submission to God, Nimrod is a symbol of self-seeking independence. The call of God came to Abram: Go from your country . . . to the land that I will show you. . . . all the people on earth will be blessed through you. So Abram went (12:1-4).

The call of God demands that we make a choice. Even the closest ties of human loyalty or affection must be cut when they conflict with our submission to Christ and what is written in His word. Whoever doesn't take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me (Matthew 10:38).

Christ Revealed:

As the Promised Seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; Matt. 1:1; Acts 3:25-26; Gal. 3:16). Abraham was a type of Christ who leads the way to a far better Promised Land (John 14:2-4,6; Heb. 11:8-10).

Prayer Needs:

Country: Kuwait (2 million) in the northeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula · Major languages: Arabic and English · Increased religious freedom following the Gulf War · 95% Muslim; 4% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for understanding of His will as you read the Word of God (Psalms 25:5).

Optional Reading: Matthew 4

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 1:23