The Tower of Babel :: What’s your Shinar?

Genesis 11:2 states “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.” Now, while this may seem like it was just the natural thing to do for the people of God, it was indeed extremely contrary to the command that God had given his people. God had commanded his people to be fruitful and multiply, and to replenish the earth (not settle down in one place), and subdue it (Genesis 1:28), but with the fall of Adam, the earth became exceedingly evil and every imagination of man’s mind was wicked (Genesis 6:5), thereby bringing about the judgment of God in the form of a flood, destroying all mankind, except Noah and his family. Now what is interesting to note is that, after the flood, the same command that was given to Adam and Eve, is now given to the Noah and his sons, which is to be fruitful and to multiply and to replenish the earth (Genesis 9:1), again not settle down in one place. So we see that settling down in one place (in the land of Shinar) was a direct contradiction to the command of God.

Points to ponder:
What is it that keeps you from following the command of God? Let us not settle down in our sinful states but let us be fruitful, producing the fruit of the Spirit and let us multiply – replenishing God’s kingdom on earth.  What’s your Shinar? Settle not there!

Lord, help me to follow your commandments and not seek to settle down in places of my life, where I think it is level ground (a plain). Let my Shinar be in you, Lord, I pray. 

Genesis 11:2 (KJV)
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.

Genesis 9:1  (KJV)
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

The Tower of Babel :: One language; One speech

Genesis 11:1-9 gives the account what is familiarly referred to as “the Tower of Babel”. It is an account of the “origin of languages” (Genesis 11:9) and answers the question – “Where did all the languages of the world come from?”. But before the world was multi-lingual, the world was unilingual (had one language) with one speech (Genesis 11:1).

Why is it important for us to notice the universal unilingual situation of the world? Searching the scripture gives us some clues to unearth the hidden treasures in God’s design to have the world be uni-lingual with one speech.
First, the whole earth that was repopulated now by the sons of Noah and their children born after the flood (Genesis 10), was of one language, which implied that man could communicate without chaos and confusion with one another. This actually is a testament of  God’s nature, i.e., Our God is a God of order and not of confusion, which Apostle Paul reminds the the church of Corinth(1 Corinthians 14:33).
Second, the universality and unilingual state of the earth, unified all the nations (sons of Noah and their children – Genesis 10:32).
Third, the pattern of God for man is to have a pure language – so that man may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one consent (Zephaniah 3:9). This is why God says to his people, that he will turn to the people, a pure language (Zephaniah 3:9). Notice, that while the singularity of a language mentioned here suggests that the people would have one pure language restored, for God is omnipotent and omniscient, it is not implausible for every one to understand each other, which is akin to having one language and one speech, despite the varied languages (tongues of men) that exists, as was evident on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:5-12), which is again a testament to the Sovereign omnipotency of God.

Points to ponder:
What is the language you and I are speaking? Is it a pure language – one that unifies all nations, by which, we call on the name of the Lord and serve him only (or) are we babbling about?

Lord, you are in me, your holy temple, and so let my words be few, as I stand in awe of your glory. Let me call on your name, for your word assures that all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved, and as saved Lord, let me serve you, as a good and faithful servant, bringing glory solely to your name, and not seeking my own as the people in Babel did. Restore in me Lord, your pure language, I earnestly pray.

Genesis 11:1-9 (KJV)
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.
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.
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Zephaniah 3:9 (KJV)
For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of theLord, to serve him with one consent.

Life after death; Kingdoms of men and God; Set apart

Genesis 10 gives an account of how the earth was repopulated by the sons of Noah, after the flood. Verses 1-5 gives an account of the first son of Noah, Japheth and his children and settlement by the isles of the Gentiles (meaning islands by the sea – Isaiah 11:11; Jeremiah 25:22). Verses 6-14 gives an account of the last son of Noah, Ham and his descendant with special mention given to Nimrod (Verses 8-12), who is one of the descendants of Ham, a mighty hunter and the first king (Genesis 10:10). Verses 15-2o continues the account of the descendants of Ham through his son Canaan, and verses 21-31 lists the families of godly Shem, to whom was born Eber, the forefather of Abram, from whom the Hebrews came. This account is generally referred to as the Table of Nations or the genealogies of the sons of Noah and while one can get lost in the names of the sons, what is of note, is to recognize a few key facts.
First, the earth was repopulated by the sons of Noah, who were born after the flood … meaning that the blessing of God for man to multiply and inherit the earth (Genesis 1:28), to sustain life, despite the destruction in and through the flood, still stood strong.
Second, though Nimrod, is mentioned specifically with reference to his conquests and as the first king, after the flood, seldom do we hear of Nimrod or any of his exploits today, which reassures us, that kings and kingdoms of the earth are short-lived and soon forgotten. The only kingdom that is indestructible and which stands for ever is the kingdom of God, with Christ Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords (Daniel 2:44, Revelation 19:16).
Third, after the flood, Noah’s children and descendants enjoyed the pleasure of a land that was undivided, which geologists refer to as the Pangaea, but the birth of Peleg to Eber, the descendant of Shem was a reminder indicating the hand of God in the matters of the earth. Peleg was so named, because in his days, the Divine divided the land, setting boundaries for the nations (Deuteronomy 32:8), determining their pre-appointed times (Acts 17:26). The continents as we know is, was designed (and divided) by God himself, not mere geological and natural phenomena. Peleg is also known as Phalec (Luke 3:35).

Points to ponder:
Despite the sting of physical death, life goes on, for it is a blessing of God.  However, for life to be eternal, and for one to tide over spiritual death, one must know God and his son, Jesus Christ (John 17:3), believing in him (John 3:16), who is the blessing of God for abundant and eternal Life, for all mankind, to all who believe in him.
Even though it may at times seem like the rulers of our lands (some rebellious like Nimrod) are kings over us, only the kingdom of God stands for ever and is indestructible. Whose kingdom are you part of – man’s or God’s? Is the kingdom of God within you (Luke 17:21)?
The Divine Most High God divides his people from the rest so that they are a people that are sanctified (set apart) to praise him and bring glory to his name (1 Peter 2:9). He has, and is, and will always be in control, despite what may seem as divided footholds to us. You can be sure that he will be your boundary (Psalm 3:3) as he has so planned in advance for your life, at its appointed time (Jeremiah 29:11). Are you set apart for God?

Genesis 10:1-32 (KJV)
Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.
And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.
And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.
And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.
10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
13 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim,
14 And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.
15 And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth,
16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,
17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,
18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.
20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.
21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.
22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.
23 And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.
24 And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.
25 And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.
26 And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,
27 And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,
28 And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,
29 And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan.
30 And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east.
31 These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.
32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

Enslavement, Enrichment and Enlargement (All in the Family)

Genesis 9:24-29 gives the account of the outcome of the sinful and saintly acts of Noah’s sons. Noah’s youngest son, Ham was disgraceful in dealing with his father’s shame, when Noah was inebriated, while the second born Shem and the oldest son Japheth dealt decently in covering their father’s shame, as Noah lay intoxicated and naked, in his tent.

When Noah woke up and he found out what had transpired, Noah cursed Ham’s son, Canaan, with the curse of enslavement. Ham’s descendants would perpetually be the not mere servants, but servant of servants (akin to slaves) to his brothers, Shem and Japheth. On the other hand, Japheth, the oldest, is blessed by Noah with the blessing of enlargement, and Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem. Shem, on the other hand, is not directly blessed. Instead Noah, blesses the Lord God of Shem and in due course of time, we see that Shem becomes the father of Abram, later renamed Abraham  (Genesis 11:10-32) who was given the blessing – in blessing I will bless you and in multiplying I will multiply you (Genesis 22:17). Eventually through the line of Abraham, Jesus Christ, the promised seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16) would be born, bringing about the blessing of God’s salvation to all mankind. In other words, the Lord God would enrich (bless) the generations of Shem through Abraham and eventually Jesus Christ.

Points to ponder:
Sin leads to the curse of enslavement while our act of not even looking at sin or its shame, as did Shem and Japheth, leads to enlargement and enrichment in and through Christ Jesus. Just as Japheth promise of enlargement is met with the condition of him dwelling in the tents of godly Shem, so also our enlargement is in Christ Jesus, not outside of him. Let our lives, bring about a blessing to the Lord God’s name, as Noah did of Shem. Can it be said of you, “Blessed be the Lord God of “?

Take a look at your life today and ask yourself the question … “If God was to look at me today, would I be given the verdict of being enslaved or enriched and enlarged (in Christ Jesus)?” Now answer it.

Genesis 9:24-29 (KJV)
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.

Disgrace or Decency

Genesis 9:22-23 is an account of disgrace and decency in the first family that populated the earth after the flood during the time of Noah. Noah had lost self-control and was drunk with wine from his vineyard and as he lay in his tent, he was naked (uncovered). Ham the youngest of Noah’s son sees the nakedness of his father, and instead of covering the shame, acts disgracefully and goes and tell his other two brothers, Shem and Japheth. Shem and Japheth do the right and decent thing of taking a garment, laying it upon their shoulders, walking backward with their faces turned so that they would not see the shame of their fathers nakedness, and cover him.

From this account, we can learn a few important truths.
First, even after the flood, even from a family that was saved from being destroyed in the flood, we see the evidence of the effects of the sin of Adam. The evil one (devil) who was cast onto the earth was seizing every opportunity to make God’s people sin and like he influenced Cain (Genesis 4:7), he now influenced Ham, the son of Noah.
Second, sin leads to a life of disgrace and makes those who fall in it, treat it as a thing of little inconsequence – something that is to be gloated over and  gossiped about.
Finally, those who are godly will cover the shame that stems from sin and and turn their backs and faces to not even look at the shame of sin.

Points to ponder:
How do you treat sin and the shame that stems from it … disgracefully or decently?

Genesis 9:22-23 (KJV)
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.

The sin and shame of Noah

Noah, was known to be a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5), one who was found just and perfect in the eyes of God (Genesis 6:8-9) before the flood. But after the flood there was an incident that took place that shamed Noah. This is recorded in Genesis 9:20-21 which reads that Noah being a farmer (husbandman), planted a vineyard and drank of the wine, so much so, that he got drunk and uncovered (lay naked) in his tent.

While it may seem on the surface that the sin of Noah that shamed him was that he got drunk, the real sin of Noah was that he did not have self-control (fruit of the Spirit). He got intoxicated by the very produce of his land that he worked on.

Point to ponder:
When the fruit of our labor is consumed by us without self control, we give grounds for us to be uncovered and shamed. The lack of self-control is indicative that we are yielding to the flesh instead of the Holy Spirit of God, so much so, that we get drunk and exposed, even if it is in the privacy of our tents (homes).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I pray that I will yield to the Holy Spirit of God and not to my flesh. Let me never lose self-control and be intoxicated with the pleasures of this world or the fruit of my labor, bringing shame not only to myself but to you as well. Lord, be in control of my life!

Genesis 9:20-21 (KJV)
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV [NLT])
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance [self-control]: against such there is no law.

I am Second

“I am Second” is a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others; because God (Jesus Christ) is first.

Genesis 9:18-19 enlists the three sons of Noah that went forth of the ark, through whom, the whole earth was repopulated. It also gives the name of one grandson of Noah, who was Canaan, the son of Ham. What is interesting to note, is that the order in which the three sons are listed is Shem, Ham and Japheth, while Shem was actually the second son (Genesis 10:21); Japheth was the oldest and Ham the youngest.

Why would the second son be listed before the first? Apostle Paul in Romans 9 theologically debates this issue and demonstrates that God is not an unfair and unjust God, for having chosen Isaac over Ishmael, or Jacob over Esau, but is Sovereign in all of his doings. The last (second) Adam (Jesus) would be greater than the first Adam for the glory of the present house (Jesus’ time) would be greater than the former house (before Jesus’ time) according to the word of God through prophet Haggai (Haggai 2:9).

Points to ponder:
God is Sovereign and the glory of Christ Jesus supersedes all. We are second to none, except Christ Jesus. I am second!

Genesis 9:18-19 (KJV)
18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.

Why was Christ Jesus raised from the dead?

We celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on what is commonly referred to as Easter in most parts of the world, but why Easter? Why was Christ Jesus raised from the dead? The Bible holds the answer to this question and it is recorded in Romans 4:25. Christ was raised from the dead for our justification. In other words, Christ Jesus was resurrected from the dead for making us right with God which some translations of the Bible render as, making as ‘acceptable’ to God.

Those who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection are imputed the righteousness of Jesus Christ and are justified … These are the ‘just’ who shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4) – a faith that should not be futile but fruitful (1 Corinthians 15: 17; Romans 7:4).

Points to ponder:
Since Christ is risen, we who believe in him are made ‘just’ and accepted by God in his beloved, and we as the just must live by faith. Is our faith futile (vain and dead) or is it fruitful (bring forth fruit) unto God?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, let me live by faith, a faith that bears forth the fruit of the Spirit and not be one in vain, as if you never rose from the dead.

Romans 4:25 (KJV)
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Habakkuk 2:4 (KJV)
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

1 Corinthians 15:17 (KJV)
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Romans 7:4 (KJV)
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

Cross Verbs – Calling to Action :: 7th saying from the Cross

This is the 7th post of the series, Cross Verbs >> Calling to Action, which is a look at the 7 sayings of Jesus Christ from the Cross, with an “action” perspective, for faith without action is dead (James 2:17). What is of note is that each saying has a verb in it, implying an action of Jesus Christ, the Lord, and what’s more, is that his action calls for our action.

Saying Seven: “Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit.
The Cross verb today is “commend”.

To “commend” is to entrust or to give in charge of and here we see that Jesus commended his spirit to God willingly, trusting God to be in charge of his spirit, after the life he had lived on earth in human form, would ebb away, so that God would resurrect him from his death.

Points to ponder:
The Cross verb “commend” calls us to action – to entrust God with the spirit, the Holy Spirit that God has given to all who believe, so that the Spirit is always victorious over the flesh. We need to commit the spiritual things to God first so that the physical things can be taken care of, for we are commanded to seek God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). We are called to “commend” as Jesus commended, trusting God to keep us alive, even if life on earth as we know it now, ebbs away. Are you and I a commender?

Prayer: God, let me always remember and recognize that the spiritual things matter more than the physical and I commend my spirit that you have earnestly deposited in me, for I have believed in your Son, Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, I give you charge over all aspects of my life, both spiritual and physical … you take and be in control. Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit.  

Luke 23:46 (KJV)
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Cross Verbs – Calling to Action :: 6th saying from the Cross

This is the 6th post of the series, Cross Verbs >> Calling to Action, which is a look at the 7 sayings of Jesus Christ from the Cross, with an “action” perspective, for faith without action is dead (James 2:17). What is of note is that each saying has a verb in it, implying an action of Jesus Christ, the Lord, and what’s more, is that his action calls for our action.

Saying Six: “It is finished.
The Cross verb today is “finish”.

Jesus’ word, “Tetelastai” which is to mean, “It is finished”, affirmed that the work that God has sent him to do, which was to reconcile mankind with God, was complete. There was nothing else left to be done. He finished the work so that we do not have to.

Points to ponder:
The Cross verb “finish” calls us to action – to first fix our eyes if Jesus and to stay on the course of our faith, keeping it and finishing the race, setting aside any weight that encumbers and pull us down and any sin that besets us.  Jesus finished the act of reconciling God with man and is the author and finisher of our faith. We can finish the work that God has given us to do which is to share the gospel of Christ, who saves all who believe in him, by grace, through faith in him, because Christ Jesus is a finisher. We are called to “finish” for it is only the finisher (and not the quitter) that receives the praise and the victor’s crown. Are you and I a finisher?

Prayer: Lord, let me not be a quitter, but let me be like you – being able to finally proclaim, “I have fought a good fight (as you did bearing our Cross), I have finished the course (as you boldly proclaimed – It is finished) and I have kept the faith (as you have demonstrated, how great your faithfulness is, in accepting us, an adulterous people).”  Lord Jesus, I thank you, that you who began the good work in me, would complete it, and I pray that you be with me (as you have promised) and help me be a finisher. 

John 19:30 (KJV)
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.