Life is Short: Genesis 11:27-32

life is short live for ChristThis is the account of Terah’s family line.
Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.

Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.

Genesis 11:27-32

God’s Focus

In chapter 11 we see God bring His focus down from all of mankind to the family of Terah. You may recall that back in Genesis chapter 2 God moved us from an overview of creation to the account of man by rotating His telephoto lens from wide angle to zoom, so to speak. In chapter 1 of Genesis God’s word is at wide angle focused on all of creation — in Genesis chapter 2, verse 8 the Bible zooms in to record that part of God’s creation that is mankind. (bennett’s blog Genesis 2:4-7)

Now in Genesis chapter 11 we’ll see God narrow His focus even further until we will find ourselves reading the story of Abram and his descendants.

As God’s focus narrows we learn about Abram’s father Terah’s family, which provides important background to several of the stories we’ll read later in Genesis.

Nahor is Abram’s brother. From the descendants of Nahor and Milkah (Milkah was Nahor’s wife) will come the wives of Isaac and Jacob. (See Terah’s Family Tree at the bottom of this post)

Abram’s other brother, Haran, the father of Lot, dies unexpectedly. Lot was apparently under Abram’s care in the absence of Haran. Abram appears to be involved in his nephew Lot’s life right up until the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (verses 27-28)

Friends Leave Unexpectedly

Haran’s unexpected death reminds me of two friends of mine John and Gale. Both firefighters known for their physical strength. Both blessed with beautiful families. Both known for their sense of humor. Both talented firefighters, veterans who were savvy at surviving the dangers they faced at work fighting fire. Both loved by their firefighter friends.

One day, on a day off, they decided to take John’s two seat Polaris RZR ATV onto some nearby mountain trails. Finding a trail through a large but steep meadow they decided to attempt to make it to the top. They were both confident that they’d be OK. They were skilled at negotiating such terrain, and besides, the ATV had seatbelts to hold them in their seats.

Up they went, the tires of the ATV slipping at times but mostly biting into the dirt and rocks, carrying John and Gale up and up and up until they reached the end of the purely vertical part of the climb.

Then at the end of the vertical part of the trail they bore to the right which took them along the top of the meadow. Not as easy as it looked, side hill and uphill at the same time, but they were handling it, continuing up until they were almost 1,000 feet above their starting point.

At which time–their left front tire hit a rock. A rock about the size of a bowling ball half submerged in the ground. The left front of the ATV bounced and lifted up until the ATV rolled over. Not so bad at first, strapped in, rolling. But as they continued down the 1,000 foot vertical meadow they gained speed. They rolled and they bounced. More speed–they bounced higher and further. Even more speed–they flew through the air. The forces from the impacts exerted upon their bodies were more than any human being could withstand, even two human beings like John and Gale, known for their physical strength, and skilled at surviving the dangers of fighting fire.

They finally came to rest against a tree.

Like Haran, they died–unexpectedly. (To learn more about John and Gale, go to MedfordFirefighters.com)

Daughter Departs Without Warning

On a rainy day, on a curvy road, my friend’s young daughter who was also my family’s baby-sitter, died in a car accident right in front of me. That same friend lost his wife in a car accident a few years earlier.

A Simple Flu Bug

A few weeks ago another friend’s teen-age son died suddenly and unexpectedly–of the flu.

Living for What Counts

While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died… (v. 28)

The fact is none of us knows when we might die. If you think you’ll get around to focusing on your relationship with God later, well… think again. Not one of us knows the day of his death.

It could happen tomorrow.

So invest in that which will will have value when you’re living in eternity, because each of us will spend eternity living with the consequences of how we spend our time and energy here, now, in this life.

Just for today, just one day, just this day–live for Christ.

You’ll spend eternity glad that you did.

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”

-Jesus Christ, John 6:27

References:

[Hour glass image via: bhermans – Creative Commons]

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

MedfordFirefighters.com

Matthew Henry

Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Volume 1

Whiffs of the Bread of Life

Faith and Family Man Blog

The Tower of Babel: Let’s make a name for ourselves–Genesis 11:1-9

Tower of BabelNow the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward,they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Genesis 11:1-9

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. (v.1) The descendants of Noah are those who are populating the earth and at this point in history they’re all of one language.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks…” (v.3) Man builds with bricks. Bricks that flake, chip, and crumble. 1 Kings 6:7 and 1 Peter 2:5 both tell us that God builds with stones. 1 Kings 6:7 says that,  In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built. When God had Solomon build His temple all the stone blocks were hammered into shape at the quarry and then transported to the temple site so that the noise of the sculpting of the stones would not have to be heard.

It’s the same in life with you and with me. Here on earth God allows us to be hammered into shape by the people He surrounds us with. It’s part of His plan to have you and your in-law rub against each other — in order to knock off your rough edges. It’s part of His plan to allow that person at work to chip at me — in order to hammer me into the shape that God wants me to take. We can get so emotional over relational friction in life but it’s friction that causes furniture to be sanded smooth and made beautiful. So relax — it’s normal, it’s intentional, it’s part of God’s plan. As long as you’re this side of heaven God will continue to allow people in your life that rub off your rough edges. It’s your job, and it’s my job to pray through it and to show as much love and grace toward these hammers and chisels as we possibly can. Recognize that you and I, we’re in the quarry.

At the temple site, the stones of God’s temple were among the largest and most perfectly fitted in the history of architecture. In fact the stones of the temple fit together so perfectly that no mortar was used whatsoever — it was completely unnecessary. When God allows us to go through difficulties in our relationships He does so, so that when we’re in heaven we’ll fit together perfectly without any of the noise associated with our rubbing against each other so to speak. All the noise from the chipping and sculpting is happening now, down here, in the quarry that we call life on earth.

1 Peter 2:5 tells us directly that you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house.

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” (v.4) It appears that making a name for themselves was one of the purposes of building the great tower. This was a trap for them, and is for you and for me as well. Whenever we set out to make a name for ourselves we’re flirting with the sin of sharing glory with God which is the very same sin that brought Satan down. (Isaiah 14:12-14) We also see in this verse an apparent act of rebellion in that God directed them in Genesis 9:7 to replenish the earth but the idea here in chapter 11, verse 4 is to avoid being scattered over the face of the earth. It’s probably not coincidence that these two sins are found together in the same verse. Watch people in rebellion against God long enough and you’ll often see them attempt to make a name for themselves in some fashion. And watch someone who is trying to make a name for themselves long enough and you’ll often see them turn to rebellion against God. God lead us away from both of these.

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. (v.5-6) Verse 6 is true. Speaking the same language enables mankind to accomplish amazing things. In a way, today we’re living in an age when once again we all speak the same language, the language of binary code. Using combinations of 1’s and 0’s nearly every computer in the world has the capability of communicating with every other computer in the world. And because of that, what we’re accomplishing today is amazing. But along with that capability comes a cost. The evil imaginations of man are so very readily available to us that it’s causing people to fall into sin at an alarming rate. I have several friends who would never buy a pornographic magazine yet their lives have been damaged by pornography on the internet. Like me, you probably know of someone, or several someones, whose marriage has ended because of a relationship that started on the internet. And I’m not even counting just plain old wasting of time with first person shooter games or RPG’s. Imposed limitation usually carries with it a negative connotation but if you think it through, limitations are often positive. God in His mercy and grace won’t hesitate to limit you or me if He knows that without limitation, what’s to come will be destructive to us. He’s much more concerned with our eternal condition than He is with our short term comfort. I thank God for that. I thank God that He hasn’t given me everything I’ve prayed for over the years.

“Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” (v.7) Notice that the plural us is used here in verse 7. Who is God talking to? I believe this to be another reference to the Trinity. He’s communicating with His Son and His Holy Spirit.

So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth. (v.8-9) The good news is that we see this reversed in Acts chapter 2 when the mixed crowd that included Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Cappadocians, Asians, Phrygians, Egyptians, Libyans, and Romans were amazed because they each heard the disciples speak of Christ in their native tongue. This was made possible by the disciples seeking and receiving the Holy Spirit. Asking God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon you is the key to unity in Jesus Christ. Jesus commanded us to “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35) But without His Spirit we’re powerless to carry out Jesus’ command — at least I know I am. Without God’s Spirit we’re but dust.

In God’s Spirit is where…

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Ray Stedman

JonCourson.com

Matthew Henry

The Top-50 Megaliths:(The largest cut-stones of all time)


John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

The degree to which you know the scriptures is the degree to which you’ll know Jesus Christ.

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1

 

 

 

 

References:

Dave Mazzella