December 07, 2019

A Divided World

Genesis 10:25; 11:1-9

“I pray also for those who will believe in me . . . that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”

—  John 17:20-21

Peleg, a great-great-grandson of Noah, was given an unusual name, which means “divided.” Our reading today explains that he was “named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided.” And what does that mean?

The story about the tower of Babel in Genesis 11 may be the answer to that question. The people in that day wanted to build a city with a tower reaching into the sky in order to make a name for themselves. What a far cry from Noah, who “walked faithfully” with God! God intervened at Babel by confusing the language of the people so that they scattered throughout the world.

Wherever we look in the world today, we still live with the bitter results of division as we experience nationalism, tribalism, racism, prejudice, and warfare. Just as we begin making headway in one place, division rears its ugly head in another place. Is there any hope? Yes!

At Jesus’ birth, the angel announced, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. . . . A Savior has been born to you” (Luke 2:10-11). And in John 17 we see that before Jesus was arrested and crucified for our sins, he prayed that we would be one. Because of Jesus’ finished work, we can walk not only with the Lord but also together, and we can love one another. Let’s begin today.

Lord Jesus, we pray that unity in you may replace our divisions so that people everywhere might see your glory. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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