BABBELING IDIOTS? MAKE US A NAME
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:1-4
Men set out to make a name for themselves. They wanted to stay together, and not wander off. They wanted to be exalted above everyone else with pride and fame. They were not content to wait for recognition from God. They wanted to get fame by works.
LOW TECH, HIGH POTENTIAL
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Genesis 11:5-6
We may laugh because we know how hard it is to reach the stars now. Our rockets are too small to do it. How could they do better with bricks? Yet God knew they would achieve any goal they imagined by working together. God decided to prevent this by confusing their languages. We are still unable to agree on the international space station. But these people had the ability to go past their brick efforts, and rocket science as well. God chose to limit their destructive abilities. He wants us to depend on him for our name, fortune, and fame.
TERAH BEGINS THE JOURNEY
We are not left without a way to reach the heavens though. We have been shown the way, and how to walk in it. God provided an example for us to follow. He began to identify and separate a people for his purpose.
And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. Genesis 11:31-32
God had a plan to be demonstrated by a single man. He chose a man to father a nation, set apart for his purpose. He called his family even in his fathers time. But Terah could not go past the memory of his son Haran, who died earlier. He stopped in the city of Haran’s memory. He could not go into the future because of memories of past losses. His son Abram would be chosen to complete the journey. We too must move on past the pain of past losses.
ABRAM, AGE 75, CALLED BY GOD: YOU TOO!
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. Genesis 12:1-4
Free of memories, Abram obeyed God’s invitation by faith. At an advanced age, he left his past behind for an unseen promise for the future. It was to be the future of all mankind. You too are invited on the journey of faith.
CANAN’S LAND PROMISED TO ABRAM
Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. Genesis 12:7
Abrams sons Isaac and Ishmael, are the fathers Jews and Arabs, who possess Canaan today.
SISTER SARAI (AGE 65) PLAGUES PHAROAH
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.” So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels. But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had. Genesis 12:10-20
You don’t believe that a 65 year old woman could be such a problem? You haven’t noticed the activity of older women in the fitness movement lately. In our generation there are women who hold their looks even into their eighties.
OK; Pharaoh was in serious trouble, but he knew what was wrong. This Pharaoh knew when God was warning him. He was a righteous man, and did the right thing. We see a warning against jealousy in this. It is wrong to imagine evil against others without evidence. We can be well meaning and still sin. We can be tempted to listen to the accuser of the brethren, and stumble into gossip ourselves. We have to trust our fellow man and God to have real faith. This makes us vulnerable, and yet God is our protection, not our fearful devices.
MULTIPLICATION AND DIVISION
Abram took his family to southern Canaan, where there were disputes between his herdsmen and his nephew Lot’s. They had multiplied enough to need more land, and divided the real estate between them. Lot chose the rich land near Sodom.
So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. Genesis 13:8-13
A KING AND A PRIEST
Later a war caused the defeat of Sodom and several other kingdoms, and Abram had to rescue his nephew from their enemies. The king of Salem gave thanks to God for their deliverance.
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “ Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. Genesis 14:18-20
Abram tithed to Melchizedek, who was a king and a priest. We know from the psalms that Messiah, Jesus, is represented by this King:
The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth. The LORD has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:1-4
Abraham was pointing to Messiah Yeshua as the true father of our faith. Jesus is the only one who was a priest, a king, and a prophet. He alone is complete, the trinity of the Godhead. Jesus is the savior who completed the story of Israel and Abraham.
GOD MAKES A NEW NAME FOR ABRAHAM
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. Genesis 17:1-5
And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? Genesis 17:15-17
The child is to be named Isaac, which means “He makes me laugh”. Now we have a new family with a new name, from God. By Nature, we still seek to make a name for ourselves. We can become the greatest athlete of our time, or the designer of the first successful space liner. We can run for President, or be the greatest general of military history. But apart from obedience to Christ, we are failures. He alone knows our true calling, and how to take us to the stars. He has a new name for you, as you follow him.