Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

The Coming of Abraham

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Please remain standing and let's hear God's Word From Genesis Chapter Eleven. Genesis eleven versus ten through thirty two. So that's verse ten through the end of this chapter. I this this section brings us to the end of chapter eleven and also the end of this section in genesis that's sometimes called the prehistory, all the things that happen really before Abraham. Starting with chapter twelve, things slow down a little bit and we get a lot more details about Abraham and other ways of God's dealing with his people, particularly through the Covenant of Grace. We're going to take a little bit of a pause in Genesis after this point. Not sure when we're going to come back to it, but this will end our the section. This genesis one through eleven, is prehistory that God has given us. So let's give our attention now to the reading of his word, beginning at verse ten. These are the generations of Sheem. When Shem was a hundred years old, he fathered a Parkishad two years after the flood, and SEM lived after he father to Park Ashad five hundred years and had other sons and daughters. When a Parkashad had lived thirty five years he'd fathered Shella and a Parkashad lived after he fathered Shella four hundred and three years and had other sons and daughters when Shella had lived thirty years. He fathered Eber and Shalla lived after he fathered eber four hundred and three years and had other sons and daughters when Eber had lived thirty four years. He fathered Paleg and Eber lived after he fathered pay leg four hundred and thirty years and had other sons and daughters when Paleg had lived thirty years. He fathered Rayyu and Peleg lived after he fathered Rayu two hundred and nine years and had other sons and daughters when it when Rayu had lived thirty two years. He fathered Sir Rugg and rayu lived after he fathered Sir Ug two hundred and seven years and had other sons and daughters when Sir Rog had lived thirty years. He fathered Nahor and Sir Roug lived after he fathered Nahor two hundred years and had other sons and daughters when Nahor had lived twenty nine years. He fathered Tara and Nahor lived after he fathered Tara. to H or one hundred and nineteen years and had other sons and daughters. When Tara had lived seventy years, he fathered Abram, Nahor and Harn. Now the is are the generations of Tara. Tara fathered Abram, Nahor and Harun, and Haroun fathered lat. Harun died in the presence of his father, Tara, in the land of his kindred, in the ear of the colds, and Abram, in Nahor, took wives. The name of Abram's wife, Abram's wife was Sarah. The name of Nahor's wife Milka, the daughter of Harun, the father of Milka and Esoch. Now Sarah I was barren. She had no child. Tara took Abram, his son in lot, the son of Harun, his grandson, and Sarah his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from her of the Calde's to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Harun, they settled there. The days of Tara were two hundred and five years and Tara died in Harn. This is God's word, may bless it to us. Please be seated. If you've...

...ever had a chance to visit a war memorial where you've seen a long list of names of people who have died, soldiers perhaps, who gave their lives up in service of their country. I'm you know that this isn't just a list of names. You haven't just bumped into something that is just a bear record of the facts, as though it was just a piece of paper in a filing cabinet somewhere. And you know that because of the context in which those names are set, etched carefully into concrete or granite or something like that. I'm the shape of the memorial'll the space around it, the air above it, the the various plaques and information that teaches you how you ought to approach and respect the the the memorial and the people that are represented by those names. A similar thing happens in these genealogies, and I hope you've begun to see that, because we've had a lot of genealogies in genesis one through eleven. There are some more throughout the Bible and Genesis as well, but a high concentration of them here in the beginning, and I hope what you've begun to see, and we'll see again here in genesis eleven, is that when God gives us these genealogies, he's not just giving us a record of names, just something in a five heling cabinet that you might look at and say, Oh, well, okay, I guess that's interesting, a little bit of information. But no, God has put them in a particular context, like the war memorials. He surrounds them with information space that we are to read it in light of he says. Particularly, he puts the names in a particular way to tell us that this isn't just a record of history, but it's to shape US somehow. It is a to get make a particular point about who we are and who God is. So that means we have to pay attention. It means we have to come with a posture of learning and humility. It means we have to come with a posture of respect as we see what God it is, what it is God has put in front of us and what it is he wants to say to us, even today in this genealogy. Well, this one, like the others, is no different when we see how this genealogy is placed here, particularly in the context of the sin and pride of the people of Babel, the disorder and the confusion that results from that. Will See how God extends His grace and humbles us so that we might receive it, in as he gives us these names. So let's first a consider its context, to the a surround it, around the genealogy on either side. You remember from last week we have the the the story, the account of the Tower of Babel in genesis eleven one through nine. Here on the whole Earth is unified in this really great way. A mankind is expressing his humanity in a united way and organized way. He's ambitious, he's moving toward a high goal. When I say he, I of course don't mean just one person, but all people. We read in genesis eleven that as they migrated on toward the East, they made...

...this decision to begin to build for themselves. Come, let us make bricks and burn them. And then in verse four, they they take that work project even further. Let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. So here we see humanity working towards a particular goal, but not a goal that God has given them. God has called them to live in the world, a particularly under this covenant that he made with Noah, in a way that respects the moral order that God is set in place. They are to live under his sovereign authority. They are to live according to justice, they are to live according to ways which would cause humanity to flourish and grow. Yes, but in a way that's always I'm recognizing God as a lawgiver, has sovereign instead, however, these people, which is to say all people, decide to construct for themselves a tower that reaches to the Heights of Heaven. I'm not to protect themselves against one another, but to protect themselves against God. They want to make a name for themselves. They want to make a name for themselves instead of receiving a name from God. They climb up into the heavens. I'm to take hold of them, I'm to express their authority and sovereignty apart from God. Well, God does not look kindly on this or overlook it, but he sees it for what it is, this great expression of Man's pride, and he comes down and he sees this tiny tower that they've built and he says to them behold. They are one people and they have one language, and this is the only the beginning of what they will do. And then God restrains their evil by dividing their speech, dispersing them over the face of the earth, creating confusion in their language. He makes them unable to speak to one another, work together unite in the way that they had been able to before. And in many ways this confusion and disorder, I'm represents the kind of confusion and disorder that is in their own hearts. Despite their very organized way and ambitious, goal focused way that they work together to create the Tower of Babel, it's really inside their hearts things were all mixed up, their priorities were wrong and they sought to rule over God of rather than under God. Well, God confuses their language, he spreads them over the face of the earth, and in this we remember that there is a sub mercy in that he doesn't flood the earth again, as he promised to do, and he's certainly would have been right to do in this situation. But despite God's judgment, despite His mercy and allowing them to live and and continuing to allow them to flourish, man doesn't learn, as he is still true today. I'm God judges us, he disciplines us, he he strikes us down, he shows us the ways of our sin the misery that comes from it. And yet we continue to fight against him, we continue to not give him the glory that's do his name. We continue to be shortsighted and establish a name for ourselves man, the story of Man, you might say, as a story about a a failure to learn over and over and over again. And we see that even a little bit here in this genealogy and we'll see it more in as you read on, in the coming chapters. In Genesis there's idolatry, there's short sightedness. Instead of pursuing a life...

...according to God's laws, as are embedded in nature, they go after other gods. They pursue their own ways. In the book of Joshua, some of the background about this is filled out a little. In Joshua Twenty four two, Joshua says to the people of Israel, long ago, your father's lived beyond the Euphrates. If Euphrates Tara, the father of Abraham and Nahor, and they served other gods. Joshua says this to them. To say this is the family that you came from. You came from an idolatrous family. You came from a family that was serving other gods. You do not be like this. Let me. If you'd like, you can turn with me to Joshua Twenty four and I'll read you one more verse, verse fourteen. So the verse I just read was Joshua Twenty four two. In verse fourteen, he takes this background information and and puts before them, the people of Israel, this very clear command in twenty four fourteen. Now, therefore, fear Jehovah and Serve Him in sincerity and faithfulness. Put away the Gods that your fathers served beyond the river and in Egypt, and serve Jehovah. There's this command that he gives to them. He says, don't do like you used to do, don't act like the family from which you came from. We even have hints that this is what's going on already in the genealogy itself, in Tara's genealogy. In Verse Twenty Seven of Genesis, Chapter Eleven, I'm Bruce Walkin mentions that they go to a place, they settle in areas that are particularly important for this moon God cult. This Moon, God's is somewhat ironically and aptly named sin S I N and they go. They settle in these places, in Er, in Harun and places that are particularly important for this for this cult. We also know that not only do they settle in these areas, but Sarai and Milka are most likely named after sins, consort and daughter respectively. Tara's name even might be related to Yara, which means moon. These likely things point to further evidence of what Joshua says is obvious. These people served other gods. They were naming their children after them, they were moving to important cities that served these gods. As you see this, what you realize very quickly, as this point I was making a moment ago, that man fails to learn. Can you imagine? God has just flooded the earth, man built up this great tower for his name and he struck them with confusion. Every day now they're facing these obstacles of trying to talk with people they used to be able to talk with. Divide it up, and yet still still, mankind continues, continues to go after sin, both these particular God and sin itself, serving other gods, living in a way that is not according to God's law. Well, it's in this context, in this disorder, in this confusion and all of this sin, that we have genesis eleven, ten through thirty two, that we have...

...this genealogy. And what do we see in this genealogy? A genealogy that, on the one hand, hints, as I mentioned, in these names and in these places, of the sin that's going on, but a geneology that in many ways is breathing life, the life of God. How do we see that? You see it in number ways. First of all, you see it in the order, the lack of confusion. Man is spread out all over the face of the earth, there's all kinds of confusion in his language, he's no longer united. And yet here's this genealogy. Mankind continuing to prosper, one son after another. I'm being born again and again. There's another way that God reminds us and is foreshadowing in the genealogy the promise, his promises. You remember back in a very similar genealogy, back in chapter five, there was a long list and some ways parallel with some of these things. I'm in chapter five and we read this, listen to how this genealogy goes. When Seth had lived a hundred and five years, he fathered enosh. Seth lived after he fathered Enosh eight hundred and seven years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve and he died. When Enosh had lived ninety years, he fathered Keenan. Enosh lived after he fathered Keenan eight hundred and fifteen years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years and he died. Now, when you compare that, and it continues to go on like that with chapter eleven, you notice that something's missing. Do you know what it is? And he died. That strong, powerful refrain that happened over and over again right after the fall, reminding us of how sin came into the world and he died and he died and he died and he died. Genesis eleven is a little bit different. We don't read and he died, but each of these blocks of the genealogy and with something different, and he had other sons and daughters and he had other sons and daughters and he had other sons and daughters. So instead of each point in the genealogy coming to a full stop again and again and again with this death of these people. Instead it's spreading out and he had other sons and daughters, and he had other sons and daughters and he had other sons and daughters. This kind of life, as mankind, is spreading across the face of the earth. This living is attributed to only one thing, to God, to God keeping his promise not to flood the earth but to hold man are, to hold his judgment at bay until Jesus returns, but also his promise from the very beginning that through the children of man, through eves children, would come one who would be a savior, and that this genealogy takes us up to one of the most important people in that promise, to Abram. We read of Abram being born to this man Tara, along with his we hear of his wife and other relatives of his, and then when we come to chapter twelve, God settles the story down and will for many chapters on this one person, Abram. If you have your bibles open, you can read with me at the beginning of Chapter Twelve, and this provides the other part of the context around Genesis Eleven, as the word, the...

...spirit of God settles down on Abram to give us information and about him. We read this now. Jehovah said to Abram, go from your country, your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. In light of what we've heard about Tara already, we see what God is doing. Man Has, in many ways been separating himself from God since Genesis Chapter Three, but now God is going to separate Abram and his family from man, in a sense, from the cities and places that he's established, and particularly from these, particularly from Er. He says golf, from your own country, leave the cities that you've built, the family that you have, and go to the land that I show you. God tells Abram to depend on him, to put his faith in him, and then he makes promises to Abram. First, two and I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be bred, blessed. Various other things happen and various other promises, and God makes an official covenant with Abram and in Genesis fifteen, giving the sign of it later in genesis seventeen. But, as we see in this these few verses will be expanded out as these promises are given to Abram, these great promises, one in a context of sin and two in a context of barrenness. This is what is said of Sarah, isn't it in the genealogies and Chapter Eleven, that Sarah I was barren, Abram's wife? So God is making promises that in many ways seem impossible. God is going to make Abram a father of of many nations, that the fan all, that all the families of the earth will be blessed in him. God, what we see, what we see here, is what God is doing, is he is beginning to expand on that promise, in that work of that promise. Now, going back to genesis eleven, what this all teaches us us is that out of the sin, out of the misery, out of the confusion, out of the disorder, God is taking and will take man from there to here, and he does, and he does in a very specific way. And this is what I want you to focus on for the for the rest of our consideration of this passage. God's salvation, whenever he brings it, is always very specific. It's always very particular. A lot of times we fall into the error of thinking of God's salvation and a very kind of abstract way. It's sort of like a bumper sticker that sort of means something but isn't really filled out with many details. What the Bible does, though, what God does when he tells us his word, is he fills out those particulars and he tells us that his salvation is not abstract or just sort of floating out there. are somewhere, something we kind of leave in. That is good, but it's this very, very particular thing, so particular that you might say it like this. When a parkashot had lived thirty five years, he fathered Shella, and a park ashod lived after he fathered shell a four hundred and three years and had other sons and daughters.

It's that particular. God's salvation is so particular that it comes down to the these very specific names of specific people living at an exact time in an exact place, with an exact number of years, not only of their lives, but of events in their lives. And of course we know from the rest of scripture, from our own personal experiences, these specific periods of time just don't only relate to birth and death and the birth of sons and daughters, but everything, every moment of it. Our lives is providentially ordered by the will of God, every single moment. Our Salvation, in other words, is not abstract, vague, difficult thing to really express, less in the words it's given. In many words, it's shown to us again and again and again. And what we have here in genesis eleven is the particulars of God's Providence, one after another after another, leading up to this man Abram, who then will lead up to a man named Jesus, this particular man in a particular place, born in a very particular way to a particular woman by a particular God, are Triune God, who she conceives by the Holy Spirit coming over her Mary. It gives forth and bears forth this son, who is called Jesus, who is God, God, comes into a the world in a particular way and he dies on a particular cross between two particular people. God's Providence, in other words, the way that God works in the world and has worked in the world is not sort of Willie Nilly or just reacting to events or kind of making it up as he goes along. It's very exact, it's very particular. This includes, of course, the son of God dying on the Cross, when the people of Israel, these people that called themselves sons and daughters of Abraham, rose up against the son of God and put him to death, being joined with gentile rulers. It wasn't an accident. They were deliver Jesus was delivered up unto death by these people, to be sure, but he did so, but he did so according to the will of God. God's sovereignty and plan was over this particular action as well, and it was so that we would be saved. And this, beloved, brings us a lot of hope, a lot of confidence in God, if you would have eyes to see it, because just as all the saving work was done according to the perfect will of God in these particular ways, from the time of Shem to the time of Abraham and from the time of Abram to the time of Jesus, so true for the time of Jesus to today. Your names, your particular names are also written down in the book of life. When we put our faith in Jesus, we don't put our faith and some kind of abstract good plan that has something to do with positive thinking and joy of some sort. It has to do with Jesus. And when we believe in Jesus, God promises to us that we belong to him in a particular way. He know ows US, he saves us, he's chosen us. You, your name, you as you are before the foundation of the world, that he might save you through Christ's work on the Cross, and as your salvation was chosen by God and worked out...

...according to his promises and his providences. This is true not just of your beginning in his plan from all eternity, and not just in the particular dates of your life, your birth, your death, maybe major events, but in all of the events of your life. You might think about how it is you came to salvation in Jesus Christ. Maybe it was Sunday school teachers or preaching or your parents raising you according to God's word, teaching of you these promises, of these gospels. Maybe it was a friend, maybe it was a particular time, a particular place. These were not accidents. These are God's works and they are great, aren't they? They're marvelous and excellent, and it means that we can depend on God not only for our salvation in a general sense, but in a specific sense in the particular moments of our lives where we have to face decisions and we decide, will I choose one thing or choose another? Well, I trust in God's saving grace, or will I not? When we face these particular challenges, trust in your particular God. Trust that he is sovereign even in you, these moments of trial, these ways in which he is testing you. And this is what we read of in First Peter, isn't it? Earlier? We read that God brings about various trials in our life to test our faith. Don't see those as apart from God, but see those as him working in you, saving you and bringing you to the end. All of these things, I should bring us great hope, when we read a genealogy like this, when we consider our own names written in God's book, that all the genealogy that we have is one that is also connected to this genealogy, that we are sons and daughters of Abraham through faith in Jesus Christ. Let us give praise to God right. Let us humble our hearts and be thankful to him for bringing us out of chaos and disorder and sin and idolatry to belong to the family of God, all because of his sovereign and particular grace. Let us pray.

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