Out of Order?

Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:1-9 (day five) 

If Genesis 11 is read apart from Genesis 9 and 10, some theologians argue that the reader misses valuable context. God tells Noah in Genesis 9, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”. Genesis 10 appears at first read, to communicate that man was following God’s command. (Genesis 10: 5, 20, 31) So, why the sudden rebellion?  Were they following God’s purpose in chapter 10? Perhaps the sequence is out of order.

Genesis 11: 1-9 might become clearer to process with the possibility that this passage explains why and how the people groups were scattered (by region and language). Just like Genesis 2 gives clarification and explanation to Genesis 1, Genesis 11 might help us understand Genesis 10 better. Perhaps, only the results of God’s punishment are being described in chapter 10, and chapter 11 explains both man’s rebellion and God’s punishment in detail.

The Good News: God continues His sovereign plan in spite of the rebellion and punishment of the human race. See Matthew 28 (Make disciples of all nations).


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Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:1-9 (day four)

Verse 6 – “And this is what they began to do…”

Verse 6 infers that this decision or direction was wrong and that there was another…correct… direction to go.  There was a better choice.  Have you ever done that?  Have you ever made a choice that was the wrong choice?  The people at Babel were seeking to establish their legacy and memory as a great people.  They sought to have a kingdom to be worshipped.

Often, our decisions seek to supplant God.  We want to make our own choice and to be the one who is in charge.  We may outwardly say we are just offering another alternative or maybe we have better information to make the decision with, but we really just want it our way!  Do we really think we know better than God?  Submission to authority is very difficult for us humans.  We see it as a sign of weakness.  In reality though, to submit to God’s authority is the very foundation of a character of strength…it is always the right choice!

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Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:1-9 (day three)

“Nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”

Is the Lord threatened by the race of men growing too powerful?   Well, the Bible tells us the Lord laughs and scoffs at the wicked, so…no.  Rather—once again—his mercy speaks, and his grace acts.  If men act independently from God in a grasp at godhood, all plans of their hearts will be evil, and all evil will be possible, yielding destruction and death.  The Lord checked this runaway volition.  The human race will survive despite our best attempts to decree, “Our will be done.”  Why?  Because God will not be thwarted.  In his mercy, God preserves his creation.  In his grace, God says to us, “Live!”

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Building Permit

Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:1-9 (day two)

They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” vs 4

Isn’t this story familiar? Maybe not the building of a tower to reach into heaven, but the idea of making a name for themselves was not a new one. God had commanded Noah to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth. Humanity post-Noah was on a different trajectory. Stick together, we can figure it out for ourselves. We don’t need God or stories of a Garden and a Flood. The idea of confusing and scattering was to force man, once again, to look up. To surrender to a God that was greater than anything built on earth. We build our own towers, don’t we? We strike out on our own determined to figure it out, to make a name for ourselves. Take care to start building your own tower without getting a permit from God first.

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Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:1-9 (day one) 

It is a strange story.  Often misunderstood.  We call it “the tower of Babel”, but it is really about oneness.  “Behold, they are ONE people and they all have ONE language. . .nothing will be impossible for them.”–v 6.

In John 17:20-21, Jesus talks about a different (and better) oneness.   “I do not ask for these alone, but for those who believe in me through their word; that they may all be ONE; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I am in Thee, that they may also be IN US; that the world may believe that Thou didst send me.”

True oneness is with God, Himself.  It comes when the human race ceases its rebellion and is reconciled to God and His purpose.  Jesus, as a perfect example of humanity, was ONE with the Father.  We are to be like Him!

Without this surrender, the gathered unity of mankind is dangerous and counterproductive.

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Focus on the family

Re:Verse reading–Genesis 10 (day seven)

“These are the generations of the sons of Noah” v 1.

History.  HIS story.  When God tells the story of the human race, He doesn’t emphasize the things we learned in school.  A few kings (not many).  A few wars. No acts of Congress.  No four-year election cycles.  His focus is on a particular family.

Adam, Noah, Shem, Eber (note Hebrews) Abraham, Jacob, Judah (note Jews), David, Jesus.  This is the short list.  Like links in a single strong chain, these men, their sons and daughters, carried forward the legacy and knowledge of God.

With only one exception, they were not perfect people.  But God chose this family and used them to bring the Law and then the Savior into the world.  Those who come to Christ become members of this family.  Children of Abraham.  Sons of God.  Brothers with Christ.

When God tells the story of history, His focus is on this FAMILY.

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Invitation into Bigness

Re:Verse reading–Genesis 10 (day six)

God is engaged in both the big and small of history. Genesis 10 is a keen reminder of that truth. He is always advancing the bigness of His Kingdom, while “walking” with the small, i.e. Enoch. But it is the bigness that God wants us to see here; that He is a God of nations not only the individual. This is an important reminder for us. In a culture that epitomizes the individual (even Church culture), God reminds us not to lose sight of what he is doing in the world by being enamored by the self. Even more he invites us, indeed commands us, out of our enamored-self into the bigness of his Kingdom work. It’s a blessing! It is there where we realize the Old Testament words that Jesus quoted, “Love your neighbor as your self.”

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Re:Verse reading–Genesis 10 (day five)

Often times we get caught up and concerned about “where” and “how” God is working in our lives. We get discouraged because we don’t feel it or see it. It’s as if we are writing our own theological narrative and have to have all the journalistic questions (Who?, What?, When?, Where?, and Why?) answered before we continue forward in our faith.

Genesis Chapter 10 does answer one of the questions- When? Each person and generation listed in this passage is proof that the Living God is constantly present and aware of the individual lives of His created beings. The answer to “When?” is measured individually and daily.

Jon Bloom wites, “Today is a day that the Lord has specially made (Psalm 118:24). He has planned it for you. It has a purpose. No matter what it holds, give thanks for it (1 Thessalonians 5:18). For God does not waste a day, and he will not waste you. And if you love and trust him, you will one day discover that today… will do you remarkable good (Romans 8:28)”.

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Re:Verse reading–Genesis 10 (day four)

On first reading, chapter 10 is just a list of the descendants of Noah.  God’s initial command to man, in the Garden of Eden, was to be fruitful and multiply.  Now…following the flood…He gives the same command…fill the earth.  When we read this list, we are watching God’s history with the world unfold.  The nations of the earth are being established.  The value of this chapter exceeds just a redundant list of people.  We see fulfilled prophecy as the nations are scattered and we can confirm the truth of Scripture as God lays the groundwork for the nations.

From the days of beginnings, God has made provision for the salvation of man…the ultimate salvation from the curse of sin.  Jesus, in Matthew 28, commands us to take this message of salvation to the nations.  We are truly one people across the nations of the world.  To share the good news to the utter parts of the earth is to share it with our relatives.  Take a moment to thank God for His great love and wisdom toward us.

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Re:Verse reading–Genesis 10 (day three)

“From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.”  Why is there something rather than nothing?  This question has intrigued and vexed men for centuries.  It has intrigued because of the mystery surrounding the origins of the universe.  It has vexed because a materialistic worldview cannot allow a why question.  The Bible deals with both the intrigue and the vexed-ness.  It reveals the mystery of origins: “In the beginning God created.”  And it anticipates the dead end of materialism: “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”  God’s word was there as the nations populated the earth.  It still speaks as the nations rage.  Explanations come and go, but revelation remains.  Bring your questions to the Bible.

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