Gen 11: Progressing from the general to the chosen

Sunrise over the fields in Southern Israel, near the city of Beer Sheva. (Photo: Edi Israel/Flash90)

Gen 10:32 – 11:32

10:32 – 11:1 After The Flood, the nations, established by the 70 sons of Noah’s sons and their families, were separated on The Earth.  But before that separation took place, they all had one language and the same words. They all understood each other perfectly. Today, even in English, the words are not ‘the same’; for example, to stand in a line vs to stand in a queue. And there are many more examples of this confusion even within language groups.  Their separation become more pronounced after the Earth/Dry Land was divided in the days of Peleg, after the judgment for the rebellion of the Tower of Babel.

The sinful nature which all the people inherited from Adam and Eve again manifested itself in disobedience and rebellion against YHVH God. (Rom 5:12-196:12-14) He again intervened in human history to judge them, but had to do so under the terms of His own covenant which He established with Noah and his descendants, and with the animals: God would never again cut off all flesh by a flood (mabool), nor would He destroy the Earth again by a flood. (Gen 9:8-11)

The judgment for the Tower of Babel separated and divided humanity linguistically, geographically, culturally, racially, ethnically, and religiously/theologically – even though all are equal as human beings, and all knew that YHVH is Creator and Judge. YHVH’s dealings with the children of Adam and Eve had been universal, general, till then. But, as we will begin to see, God began to choose sovereignly and selectively a particular family line with whom and by whom He would relate personally to people and nations. Remember: God’s plan of redemption was established before the Creation, and it is centered in His Son, and in His chosen people, descended from among the 70 “fathers” listed in Ch 10. (Rom 9:1-5)  The number of nations corresponds to the number of the Children of Israel. (Ex 1:5Dt 32:7-9)

This pattern of moving from the general to the particular is also seen in the Creation itself: in the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth; in the fourth day He made our particular solar system for the Earth, the unique focus of His attention in the Universe that He had created and made. At the revelational level, God is moving from general revelation that He Is, to a personal relationship with Him as our Father through a personal faith in Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ His Son.

2-9 After the Flood, a whole new world was what Noah and his family came to outside the ark: different environmentally — in exposure to radiation, in climate, weather, topography, and geography; a dramatic decrease in lifespans; different in human behavior and relationships between one another and with the animals — in diet, in warning against shedding the blood of humans, whom God created in His image.

The people began to grow in number as God had spoken to them in blessing, and to journey from the East, also as YHVH had instructed them to fill the Earth. But . . .they all decided and agreed to stop their journey in the land of Shinar (Babylon; modern Iraq), and to settle there. This was not God’s will and plan, but theirs. They wanted to build a city for themselves, a tower (probably a ziggurat) to the heavens (a “skyscraper”), and to make a name for themselves – lest they be scattered over the face of the Earth. This was against the wisdom and command of YHVH God. It was an effort at “self-determination” and to be “like God”; to make their own kingdom, and not to submit to the Kingdom of God. They all knew that YHVH brought the Flood as a judgment against the wickedness of humanity, just as the Israelis later knew that YHVH was the God who brought them out of Egypt with great signs and wonders. Yet both quickly made for themselves other gods, who are not God.

God’s will was for all humanity to live in all parts of the habitable Earth. What we see very early and quickly in the history of man is that people have been disobedient and rebellious because we want to exalt ourselves, and not God. This is the question we can all ask ourselves: what is our attitude and motive in making important decisions, and in choosing what is good and acceptable to God our Father?

Notice here that people in early history had great skills and big ideas. Cain had also built a city, naming it for his son, after YHVH drove him out from His presence because of Cain murdering his righteous brother, Abel. (1Jn 3:11-12) There is nothing new under the sun, even till our own day and time: rather than repent and return to God — and obey Him, thankful for His grace and mercy, recognizing His holiness and righteousness — we tend to continue to want to prove ourselves “acceptable” in our own worldview of reality, and make a name for ourselves.

YHVH came down from Heaven to see for Himself what the people were doing. He knew already from Heaven, but the triune God (“let US go down …”) is a personal God, and He is not content with ruling from a great distance. And by personally coming down (as also to Sodom in the days of Lot; and, of course, Yeshua Himself visiting His people and the world that He made; and His coming again personally in judgment), the people have no excuse. (Jn 15:22)

The people all spoke one language (not like us here!), and that enabled them to do whatever they wanted to do. But their unity was againstYHVH, not with Him. So God confused their language so that they could not understand one another’s speech. (This confusion of communication manifests itself in a multitude of ways.) They stopped building the city, which is called Babel, because there YHVH confused the language of all the Earth. And YHVH God scattered them all over the face of the Earth, including by dividing the one land mass into the continents which we have today. It was a powerful demonstration of God’s power, and of His determination to put His fear into the people, as He also guarded His holy Seed of the Woman for the land that would become His birthplace, for the city that would become His Throne, and for the inheritance of His chosen people, who were not yet.

God is faithful to man, whom He created in His image, even in judgment: despite the confusion of languages, God still communicates to all men everywhere in a way that each and all can discern truth, and to glorify the Maker of Heaven and Earth, rather than serve idols. (Ps 19Rom 1:16-32Acts 2:1-11) He moves from a general revelation to a personal knowledge of Him.

When we walk in obedience because we love the Lord, God will bless us. When we walk in disobedience, God as a Father is faithful to chasten us, even to punish us. (2Tim 2:11-13Heb 12:1-13) He will frustrate us in our efforts, and even if we seem to be successful, there will be no real satisfaction or peace, until and unless we return to Him and to His way.

10-26 With the genealogy of Shem, Moses records the timeline of the family which YHVH chose, through which the Righteous One would come. Until now, all had died (except for Enoch) because of the inherited sinful nature, and for their own sins. The genealogy of Shem ends with Abram (later named Abraham). The genealogy of Yeshua/Jesus in Mt 1 works back from Jesus Christ, and ends with Abraham.  Jesus/Yeshua is the last Adam and the second Man. (1Cor 15:42-49)

There will not be another “Adam/Man” after Yeshua/Jesus: He is the last “Father” of humans. Adam was a living soul; Jesus a life-giving spirit. In Adam all die….twice – both physically and spiritually, forever separated from the Source of [Everlasting] Life. In Christ all live….even if we should die physically. Death has lost its power over those whose faith and hope is in Him who rose from the grave, having accomplished salvation for all born-again believers! Hallelu-Yah!

29-30 For the first time in the genealogies, the names of women are mentioned! Sarai and Milcah are named, and we know from the history afterward, both were significant in the future of the family of Abraham, especially being that Abram married Sarai (later named Sarah); and she was barren. Only God can fulfill His plan and purpose; and only He is to be worshipped. We cannot ourselves accomplish God’s purposes for His glory. No flesh shall glory before YHVH. You may have a dream, or an ambition in your life. If it is from the LORD, HE will fulfill it in your life in HIS time and in HIS way. (Think of Joseph, and of Israel.) If it is not from the Lord, you may fulfill it, but be empty of real satisfaction and joy.

Noah and his sons and wives all knew who the true God was, and of His judgment for sin. Noah was the best in his generation, who found favor in God’s eyes as being righteous. (Gen 6:87:1Ezek 14:12-20Heb 11:7) But since sin entered the world through Adam, no one is good enough for YHVH God.

With Jesus/Yeshua, a descendant in the flesh from Shem, God begins a new human “race” — children of God, who overcome death and inherit eternal life with the Lord: in Adam, all die; in Christ/Messiah, all are made alive. (1Cor 15:20-2242-58) We must repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in order to be saved from God’s righteous wrath and judgment against sin and sinners. God has chosen us to know us, and that we should know Him, to command and teach our children and households to know the true God and His way, so that He can do for us all that He has promised for our good, and for His glory, and ours. (Gen 18:17-19Gal 4:8-9)

This is real history with eternal consequences. We do not believe in fables or mythologies, but in the true living Word of God.

This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, July 5, 2019, and reposted with permission.