Author’s Note: I am preaching through Genesis on Wednesday nights. Here I will present edited notes in blog form. You can listen to the sermon below and download it here. May God be glorified and His people edified. Comments below if you like.
In this study we return to Genesis 11, where previously we saw in the first nine verses the people gathered together in rebellion against God at Babel, consciously choosing to disobey His command to be fruitful and multiply and populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it. And God — the Godhead, the Trinity — responded by scattering the peoples, the families of the earth, confusing their languages, and setting the stage for the rest of history.
So the scattering having happened, then, with not everyone in one general area anymore, from this point on there will be a shift in the way God works amongst those He created in His image. After Babel there are almost two centuries of silence, so to speak, as God allows the families of the earth to develop into nations, so that out of them He could choose one suitable man and, through him, establish a special nation (singular) which would speak His word to the nations (plural).
God had worked directly with and through mankind as a whole before, sometimes speaking to a particular representative of all humanity, like Adam or Noah. But now that the people are scattered — and in accordance with His sovereign, eternal plan — God, and by necessity His word, the Scriptures, will begin to focus on a singular people to get that suitable man. And that’s what Genesis 11:10-32 is about.
And if you look at it you can see that, yes, it is another genealogy. But here’s what the student of Scripture must ask: Why did God make sure this was part of His inspired, inerrant, authoritative, and sufficient word? That’s the question we need to keep asking, and that’s the question which leads us to see how profitable this text is in setting up everything after it.
It’s genealogy, yes, but the point of it is to show how the promise of God is preserved.
And what promise am I talking about? The one we saw — way back, now — in Genesis 3:15… the promise the Seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. The first gospel. Our passage tonight shows the continuing outworking of that promise within the history of creation, as we see the focus narrow from the expansion of all mankind — which is what we see in chapter ten — to the focus now being on a specific people, the descendants of Shem, to get us to that suitable man, the start of a nation, through whom all the peoples, all the nations, of the earth would be blessed. We’re going from Shem to Abraham, so let’s begin with verses 10 and 11… Continue reading The Promise of God Preserved (Gen 11:10-32)