The Significance of Genesis: Family Line of Abram, the Family Line of Christians (Genesis 11:10-32)

The Significance of Genesis: Family Line of Abram, the Family Line of Christians (Genesis 11:10-32)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends in Poland, OH on July Sunday, July 31, 2022

Over the last several years we have experienced a lot of moral shifts as a culture. No one can argue that. It is just clear. We look at things and think, wow! Never thought I would see that in my lifetime. Yet, we can trust that God is in control.

Piper writes:

I [Piper] created this story based very loosely on a tale from T. H. White’s The Once and Future King.

Once upon a time there was a very wise old man named Job. In his old age, God gave to him a daughter whom he named Jemima, which means “little dove.” He loved his little girl, and she loved her daddy. One day, Job decided to go on a journey and asked Jemima if she would like to go along. “Oh, yes,” Jemima said. “I would love to go along.” And so they started off on their journey and walked all day. At sundown they saw a little cottage and knocked on the door. A very poor man and his wife and baby lived there. Job asked if he and Jemima could spend the night there before they continued on their journey in the morning. The poor man and his wife were very happy to let them stay. They gave Job and Jemima their own room and made them a simple supper. The special treat was fresh milk from their only cow. This was how the poor couple made a living. Their cow gave good milk, which they sold for enough to live on.

In the morning, when Job and Jemima got up, they heard crying. The cow had died during the night. The poor man’s wife was weeping. “What will we do? What will we do?” she sobbed. The poor man was about to cut the cow into pieces and sell the meat before it spoiled. But Job said, “I think you should not cut the cow in pieces but bury him by your back wall under the olive tree. The meat may not be good to sell. Trust God, and he will take care of you.” So the poor man did as Job suggested.

Then Job and Jemima went on their way. They walked all day again and were very tired when they came to the next town and noticed a fine home. They knocked on the door. A very wealthy man lived in this house, and they hoped that they would not be an inconvenience to one so wealthy.

But the man was very gruff with them and said they could stay in the barn. He gave them water and bread for supper and let them eat it by themselves in the barn. Job was very thankful, and said to the wealthy man, “Thank you very much for the bread and water and for letting us stay in your barn.”

In the morning, Job noticed that one of the walls of the house was crumbling. So he went and bought bricks and mortar and repaired the hole in the wall for the wealthy man. Then Job and Jemima went on their way and came to their destination.

As they sat by the fire that night, Jemima said, “Daddy, I don’t understand the ways of God. It doesn’t seem right that the poor man’s cow should die when he was so good to us, and that you should fix the rich man’s wall when he was so bad to us.”

“Well, Jemima,” Job said, “many things are not the way they seem. Perhaps this once I will tell you why. But after this you will have to trust God, who does not usually explain what he is doing.”

“The poor man’s cow was very sick, but he didn’t know it. I could taste it in the milk that he gave us for supper. Soon he would have sold bad milk, and the people would have gotten sick and died, and they would have stoned him. So I told him not to sell the meat, but to bury the cow under the olive tree by his back wall because the Lord showed me that, if he dug the grave there, he would find a silver cup buried from long ago and sell it for enough money to buy two good cows. And in the end things would be better for him and his wife and child.

“When we spent the night at the rich man’s house, I saw the hole in the wall, and I saw more than that. I saw that hidden in the wall, from generations ago, was a chest full of gold. If the rich man had repaired the wall himself, he would have found it and continued in his pride and cruelty. So I bought brick and mortar, and closed the wall so that the man would never find this treasure.

“Do you see, Jemima?”

“Yes, Daddy. I see.”[1]

Like that father, God works certain things out in ways that we are unaware of. In today’s passage we see the family line of Abram, but I see much more than that. I see God being in control of all of human history. As God orchestrates history from Shem (Noah’s son) to Abram, God is also orchestrating history towards our salvation. Through Abram’s descendants Christ will come.

My theme today is:

The family line of Abram, the family history of Christians.

Notice God’s sovereignty over time.  

  1. The Settlement (11:10–32): A history is given of Shem’s descendants. Shem is the ancestor of Abraham.[2]
    1. We will not read the whole passage, but I will share specific verses.
    2. Genesis 11:10-11: These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11 And Shem lived after he fathered Arpachshad 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
    3. Jewish people came from one common ancestor
    4. Dr Michael Rydelnik shares now through DNA studies we can tell that the Jewish people in the Israel area came from one common ancestor.
    5. Now, we are back to a genealogical record.
    6. ESV Study Bible: While the periods mentioned are still unusually long, they gradually become somewhat shorter. The length of time during which these men live is much shorter than is recorded for men living before the flood (cf. 5:1–32). This is similar to the pattern found in a clay tablet from the Mesopotamian city of Uruk, called the Sumerian King List. It was inscribed by a scribe during the reign of King Utukhegal, about 2100 b.c. It tells of kings who reigned for extremely long times. A flood then came, and subsequent kings ruled for vastly shorter times.[3]
    7. Shem, son of Noah.
    8. Moody shares: Much like the genealogies in chaps. 4; 5, and 10, so the genealogy here follows immediately after a brief narrative describing the commission of grave sin (4:1–15 [the murder of Cain]; 4:23–26 [unjust capital punishment]; 9:20–29 [sexual perversion]; and 11:1–9 [collective rejection of God]). Thus this “moderates” the negative tone of the previous episode by demonstrating that God’s fundamental blessing of humanity in 1:28 remains intact, and if intact in its physical aspect, then also, potentially, in its spiritual aspect. The present genealogy, moreover, being that of Shem, also serves as an adept literary-theological transition to the next thematic “half” of Genesis. The expectation is thus laid that the present genealogy of Shem will likewise be followed by a narrative episode involving the making of a shem (“name”) for a man. And indeed it is, for in 12:2 God declared to Abraham, “I will … make your name [shem] great.[4]
    9. They are tracing Shem because Shem was the ancestor of Abraham and the Jewish people.
  2. Abram is introduced in Genesis 11:26:
    1. Genesis 11:26: When Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
    2. Verse 26: Terah lived 70 years and became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
      1. Now we see three listed
      2. Abram
      3. Nahor
      4. Haran
      5. Joshua 24:2: And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.
      6. Abram was a pagan. God did not choose him because he was special and followed God. God took the initiative.
    3. Genesis 11:27: Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot.
    4. We now see Lot and Abram…CSB: Nahor’s wife … Milcah eventually produced eight sons (22:20–23); her most famous son, Bethuel, became the father-in-law of Abraham’s son Isaac (25:20).In contrast to Milcah, Sarai (later called Sarah) was unable to conceive. This painful fact is emphasized by the biblical writer restating the fact: she did not have a child. God’s provision of an heir for Abraham in spite of Sarah’s barrenness is a major theme in the narratives that follow (15:2–4; 17:15–21;21:10).[5]
    5. Genesis 11:28-30: Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans. And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.
    6. Verse 28: Haran died in the presence of his father of Teran…
      1. Now we see the land of Ur mentioned.
      2. Ur of the Chaldeans…
      3. NET: The phrase of the Chaldeans is a later editorial clarification for the readers, designating the location of Ur. From all evidence there would have been no Chaldeans in existence at this early date; they are known in the time of the neo-Babylonian empire in the first millennium b.c.[6]
    7. Verse 29: Abram and Nahor take wives…
      1. Sarai: the NET shares: The name Sarai (a variant spelling of “Sarah”) means “princess” (or “lady”). Sharratu was the name of the wife of the moon god Sin. The original name may reflect the culture out of which the patriarch was called, for the family did worship other gods in Mesopotamia.[7]
      2. Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah.
      3. Milcah will come up later: Gen 22:20, 23; 24:15: NET: The name Milcah means “Queen.” But more to the point here is the fact that Malkatu was a title for Ishtar, the daughter of the moon god. If the women were named after such titles (and there is no evidence that this was the motivation for naming the girls “Princess” or “Queen”), that would not necessarily imply anything about the faith of the two women themselves.[8]
    8. Genesis 11:31-32: Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.
    9. Verse 30: Sarai was barren, repeated, she had no child.
    10. This shows that it was initially Terah who left Ur.
    11. Terah, Abram, Lot (grandson), Sarai.
    12. They go as far as Haran and settle there.
    13. Moody: Terah, not Abram, is presented as the one taking the lead to set out toward Canaan. This is clear from v. 31a, which portrays Terah as the one who took Abram, Lot, and Sarai. This passive portrayal of Abram is extremely significant, for it disallows the conclusion that the promise was given to Abraham as a result of anything especially meritorious that he did.[9]
    14. ESV Study Bible: By way of completing this short introduction to Terah’s family, the narrative records his death at the age of 205. If Abram was born when Terah was 70 years old (see v. 26), and if Abram was 75 years old when he departed for Canaan (see 12:4), then Terah died 60 years after Abram’s departure (70 + 75 + 60 = 205). In Acts 7:4, however, Stephen says that Abram left Haran after the death of Terah. A simple way to resolve the chronological difficulty is to suppose that Stephen was following an alternative text (represented today in the Samaritan Pentateuch), which says that Terah died at the age of 145.[10]
  3. Applications:
    1. Abram’s father, Terah, was called out of Ur. This happened prior to Abram’s call. This shows that the call of Abram (Genesis 12) was all about God’s grace. Salvation is always from the Lord. We must never boast of our salvation (Jonah 2:9).
    2. God is working in history, we must trust Him. He is in charge of history.
    3. We must trust Him with the present, we must trust Him with the future. God was working His providential plan in the line of Shem knowing His future plan.
    4. We may get fearful of things going on, but this reminds me that God is at work.
    5. Terah left Ur but may not have even realized God’s plan, yet God was at work. Sometimes God is working through us and we do not even know it, praise God!
    6. We must NEVER underestimate God’s providential plan.
    7. This section sets up the rest of Genesis to be about Abram’s family.
    8. This section sets up the rest of the Old Testament to be about Israel.
    9. This section sets up the rest of the Bible to be about Israel.
    10. Through Abram will come Israel, through Israel will come Jesus.
    11. Praise God for His detailed work in history.  
    12. Psalm 22:28: For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

Do NOT fear, God is in control.

Again from Piper:

Providence is the purposeful sovereignty that carries those plans into action, guides all things toward God’s ultimate goal, and leads to the final consummation. Job’s prayer is true: “You can do all things, and . . . no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). Or as God himself states it positively, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isa. 46:10).

God’s eternal plan includes everything from the most insignificant bird fall (Matt. 10:29), to the movement of stars (Isa. 40:26), to the murder of his Son (Acts 4:27–28). It includes the moral acts of every soul—its preferences, choices, and deeds. Neither Satan at his hellish worst nor human beings at their redeemed best ever act in a way that causes a revision in God’s all-wise plan. Whether God planned to permit something or planned to be more directly involved, nothing comes to pass but what God planned as part of the process of pursuing his ultimate goal. Therefore, the extent of his providence is total. Nothing is independent of it. Nothing happens but by “the counsel of his will”—the infinite wisdom of his plan.[11]


[1] Piper, John. Providence (pp. 659-661). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

[2] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Ge 11:1–32.

[3] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 70.

chaps. chapters

[4] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 67.

[5] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 26.

[6] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 11:16–28.

[7] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 11:29.

[8] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 11:29.

v. verse

[9] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 68.

[10] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 70–71.

[11] Piper, John. Providence (pp. 650-651). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

The Significance of Genesis: The Tower of Babylon, How does Babel Connect with the Rest of the Bible? (Genesis 11:1-9)

The Significance of Genesis: The Tower of Babylon, How does Babel Connect with the Rest of the Bible? (Genesis 11:1-9)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, July 24, 2022

Over the course of several months, Peter Skillman conducted a study pitting the skill of elite university students against that of the average kindergartner. Groups of four built structures using 20 pieces of spaghetti, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string, and 1 marshmallow. The only rule, the marshmallow had to end up on top.

Business students began by diagnosing the task, formulating a solution, and assigning roles. The kindergarteners, by contrast, got right to work, trying, failing, and trying again. Author Daniel Coyle explains the outcome, “We presume skilled individuals will combine to produce skilled performance.” But this assumption is wrong. In dozens of trials, the kindergartners built structures that averaged 26 inches tall, while the business school students built structures that averaged less than 10 inches.

We see smart, experienced business school students, and we find it difficult to imagine that they would combine to produce a poor performance. We see unsophisticated, inexperienced kindergartners, and we find it difficult to imagine that they would combine to produce a successful performance . . . individual skills are not what matters. What matters is the interaction.

The kindergartners succeed not because they are smarter but because they work together in a smarter way. They are tapping into a simple and powerful method in which a group of ordinary people can create a performance far beyond the sum of their parts.[1]

Human beings are amazing. Our abilities to build and communicate are amazing. Today, we will look at the tower of babel incident. What is with this story? Why does it matter? Well, let’s find out.

My theme today is:

The tower of Babel, God intervenes to help humanity and prevent sin.

  1. The Sin (11:1–4): All human beings attempt to unify themselves for their own glory.

Read with me Genesis 11:1-4: Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, 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.

  • This section seems to not be after Genesis 10, but sometime during Genesis 10.
    • The whole earth used the same language, or more literally, one set of words. This does not mean simple language. Instead, it means one language.
    • CSB: The tower of Babylon incident occurred earlier than at least some of the events of chap. 10 since the whole earth still had the same language and vocabulary (10:5, 20, 31).[2]
    • I like what MacArthur shares: God, who made man as the one creature with whom He could speak (1:28), was to take the gift of language and use it to divide the race, for the apostate worship at Babel indicated that man had turned against God in pride (11:8, 9).[3]
    • Verse 2: they journey east…

Dr Constable: Some of the Hamites migrated “east” (specifically southeast) to the plain of Shinar (cf. 10:10). This was in the Mesopotamian basin (modern Iraq).

“In light of such intentional uses of the notion of ‘eastward’ within the Genesis narratives, we can see that here too the author intentionally draws the story of the founding of Babylon into the larger scheme at work throughout the book. It is a scheme that contrasts God’s way of blessing (e.g., Eden and the Promised Land) with man’s own attempt to find the ‘good.’ In the Genesis narratives, when man goes ‘east,’ he leaves the land of blessing (Eden and the Promised Land) and goes to a land where the greatest of his hopes will turn to ruin (Babylon and Sodom).365[4]

  • The land of Shinar corresponds to ancient Babylonia and includes the region of the cities of Babylon, Erech, Accad, and Calneh (10:10). Migrated from the east can be translated “migrated eastward.”[5]
    • They find a plain… God had commanded them to fill the earth (Genesis 1, 2, and 9), but they were all together in one place, so God in His mercy is going to help them spread out.
    • Verse 3 continues now with what is going to happen.
    • Notice they say, “Let us…” this is echoing God’s language from Genesis 1. They want to be like God. See Gen 1:24.
    • Verse 4: they are gathered all together and they are united in a common purpose, but it is the wrong purpose.
    • The people’s pride and ambition is expressed in three different ways: (1) the fivefold use of the first-person pronouns—us (three times), ourselves (twice), and we; (2) their desire to build … a tower into the sky, thus giving them access to “the heavens,” the domain of God; and (3) their attempt at self-glorification—let us make a name for ourselves. Because they did it to avoid being scattered throughout the earth, all their efforts amounted to a rebellion against God and his command to fill the earth (9:1).[6]
    • Think of Stonehenge.
    • Do you hear the ignorance and insurrection? Lest we be dispersed (ESV)…
    • Or, be scattered in NASB…
    • “Let us” again…
    • Build a city
    • A tower that will reach to the heavens…
    • Make for ourselves a name…
    • Notice repetition of “us,” “ourselves,” and “we.”
    • This is human pride.
    • This is human depravity.
    • God is not as much judging them, but rather in His grace He is saving them from their own sin by scattering them.
  • The Sentence (11:5–9): God scatters them by confusing their language at the tower of Babel.

Read with me Genesis 11:5-9: And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

  • The Lord comes down… That phrase is anthropomorphic in nature. It is ascribing to God human attributes. We see it other places: Gen 18:21; Ex 3:8; 19:11, 18, 20.[8]
    • In Genesis 18:21 it seems to be a Theophany or more likely a Christophany where God is present in human form.
    • The Lord knows what is going on as He is omniscient and omnipresent.
    • Notice verse 5 says “children of man” had built. This seems to be emphasizing the descendants of humanity multiplying.
    • Verse 6: The Lord speaks.
    • Who is the Lord talking to?
    • It seems to be just like in Genesis 1:3, 24 and throughout that passage. God is speaking to either the angels, or the Godhead. This could also be anthropomorphic language, that is ascribing to God human attributes. This could be sharing with us God’s thinking.   
    • God has great concern. In their depravity with the same language and the same location this could lead to very bad things.
    • Verse 7: God intervenes, He does what they were trying to prevent in verse 4. This is an act of grace.
    • God confuses their language.
    • God says, “Let Us go down…” Again, anthropomorphic language as God is omnipresent.
    • CSB: Perhaps the most dramatic Hebrew wordplay in the tower of Babylon episode involves the deliberate reversal of sounds between vv. 3 and 7. Humans created brick—a word that contains the sound sequence l-b-n in Hebrew—to rebel against God. In response God created confusion—a Hebrew word containing n-b-l—to reverse the evil human plot.[9]
    • Some scholars believe that this judgment also involved the implantation of ethnic and racial distinctions in humankind. The Table of Nations in chapter 10 may imply this.371[10]
    • Verse 8 gets interesting. The Lord had already confused their language. Now it says, the Lord “Scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth…”
    • It seems that God is confusing their language and scattering them.
    • God scattered them and they stopped building the city.
    • The name of that city was called “Babel”which means to confuse.
    • The Lord confused the language of the “whole” earth and “scattered them…”
    • NET: Babel. Here is the climax of the account, a parody on the pride of Babylon. In the Babylonian literature the name bab-ili meant “the gate of God,” but in Hebrew it sounds like the word for “confusion,” and so retained that connotation. The name “Babel” (בָּבֶל, bavel) and the verb translated “confused” (בָּלַל, balal) form a paronomasia (sound play). For the many wordplays and other rhetorical devices in Genesis, see J. P. Fokkelman, Narrative Art in Genesis (SSN).[11]
    • Moody: Just as He graciously prevented humanity from expressing their collective rejection of Him by “confusing” their language and causing them to scatter, so He will graciously enable them to one day express their collective worship of Him by “restoring” to them a clarified speech to serve Him in one accord (Zph 3:9). A foretaste of this was given at Pentecost, on the day the church was born, when the language of the people was clarified and the gospel was heard by all (Ac 2:5–6).[12]
  • Applications and review:
    1. They wanted to make themselves a name (Gen. 11:4). We must always be about God’s Name. We must not be prideful.
    2. God had told them to multiply and fill the earth (Gen. 9:1), yet they all came to one place (Gen. 11:1-2). We must obey the Lord’s instructions.
    3. The Lord intervened and praise God that He did. The Lord prevented further sin (Gen. 11:7-8).
    4. Rather than thinking like a child, and thinking that God deprived them of their opportunities, we must understand God acted for the betterment of humanity.
    5. We must worship the Lord for His goodness.
    6. We must objectively consider how God acted in history and try to notice His goodness.
    7. Someday God, through the Holy Spirit, will bring unity to the people for a good thing. Jesus prayed that the church will be one (John 17:21). To this day, there is more sin in a city. Many times, people come together for bad and not for good.


[1] Daniel Coyle, The Culture Code (Bantam, 2018), pp. xv-xvii.

chap. chapter

[2] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 25.

[3] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ge 11:1.

365 365. Idem, “Genesis,” p. 104.

[4] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 11:1.

[5] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 25.

[6] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 25.

v. verse

i.e. that is

[7] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 66–67.

[8] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

vv. verses

[9] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 25.

371 371. See Merrill, “The Peoples . . .,” p. 22.

[10] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 11:7.

SSN Studia semitica neerlandica

[11] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 11:9.

[12] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 67.

The Significance of Genesis: Noah’s Family Multiplies (Genesis 10:1-32)

The Significance of Genesis: Noah’s Family Multiplies (Genesis 10:1-32)

Prepared and preached for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, July 17, 2022 by Pastor Steve Rhodes

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Livin’ life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

About this song Dr. Michael Rydelnic writes:

John Lennon released his greatest hit song, Imagine. It was the best-selling single of his solo career, one that Rolling Stone described as his “greatest musical gift to the world.” They called it “22 lines of graceful, plain-spoken faith in the power of a world, united in purpose, to repair and change itself.” The song was designed to imagine a completely unified world, one without borders between nations, or religion to divide us. It was a utopian vision of peace and love without God or Jesus. Imagine everyone in the world just holding hands and singing “Kumbaya!”…it could have been written by Vladmir Ilyich Lenin.

And John Lennon understood exactly what he was writing: In Geoffrey Giuliano’s 2000 biography Lennon In America, Lennon is quoted as describing the song as “Anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic, but because it is sugarcoated it is accepted.

In another interview, Lennon said that Imagine “is virtually the Communist Manifesto” in song. Let’s think about some of the lyrics.

“Imagine there’s no heaven,” so no promise of peace or comfort for Jesus followers who have endured so much pain in this world.

“No hell below us,” so there’s no assurance of judgment for the wicked. Hitler, Mao, and Stalin will never stand before God’s Judgment seat to receive justice for their crimes.

“Imagine all the people, living for today,” so no living in light of eternity, looking for the return of Jesus. Since no one would have hope, no one would seek to live pure lives.

“Imagine there’s no countries,” ignoring that God Himself established the 70 nations (Gen 10; 46:7; Deut 32:8; Exod 19:6) and chose one nation, Israel, to be “a kingdom of priests” to mediate the knowledge of God to all the nations.

“Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too,” ignoring that this has been tried. This same kind of communist and atheist vision led to Stalin’s murder of 40 million people and Mao’s cultural revolution killing 60 million.[1]

Dr. Rydelnic continues and we will come back to his article.

Why do I begin this message this way? I begin this message this way because in Genesis 10 we see people, many of them. We see God establish 70 nations. We see Noah’s descendants multiply.

My theme:

In God’s faithfulness, Noah’s family multiplies.

Read with me Genesis 10:1:

These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons were born to them after the flood.

Now, read Genesis 10:32:

These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.

  1. Why this genealogy?
    1. Gn 10:1–32 lists a total of seventy descendants in the family lines of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.[2]
    2. Why do we need to see all of these names?
    3. In this genealogy, we see that Noah’s family was faithful obeying the Genesis 9:1 command to be fruitful and multiply.
    4. We also see that God was faithful in providing children to them.
    5. The flood has happened and almost all of the world’s population has been killed and yet God is giving a fresh start.
    6. The CSB shares: Seventy, a multiple of two numbers that suggest completeness (seven, the number of days of creation week; ten, the number of fingers), would have suggested to ancient Israelites a satisfying completeness to the quantity of persons and nations that came into being after the flood. This is labeled a list of clans, languages, nations, and lands (vv. 5, 20, 31; cp. Rv 14:6). Thus some of the names refer to the regions where that person’s descendants settled; some refer to people groups.[3]
    7. God is providing a way for them to re-populate the earth.
    8. In this genealogy we also see how the curse on Canaan will be carried out. The CSB shares: This passagesdistinguish[es] the “unchosen” lines of Noah’s descendants (the Japhethites and Hamites) from the line that would be both the recipient and the agent of God’s special blessing to the rest of humanity (the Shemites).[4]
    9. The Moody Bible Commentary shares: the genealogies indicate the fulfillment of Noah’s declarative statement in 9:25–27 that the Shemites would subjugate the Canaanites as related in 14:1–12. This in turn reinforces both the divine imperative as well as the historical precedent for the Israelites—likewise descendants of Shem—to do the same.[5]
    10. The descendants of Shem lead to Abraham and Israel (Genesis 11:10-26).
    11. So, we see the people multiply and we see the curse on Canaan carried out.
    12. We also see how the various people groups develop.
  2. Why genealogies in general?
    1. In genealogies we see God’s faithfulness. We see how God provides. Everytime we read a genealogy in the Bible we see how God has carried out His plan in that people group.
    2. We see that in 1 Chronicles chapters 1-10 as we read about the history of the Israelite people.
    3. We see that in Nehemiah chapters 11-12 as we read about God being faithful to His people after the captivity.
    4. In genealogies, we see important people that many times show up in other places in the Bible.
    5. In genealogies we see that this is real history, it is not fiction.
    6. In genealogies, we see the detail-oriented nature of God and His interest in individuals.
    7. In genealogies, we see prophesy confirmed.
  3. Applications and review
    1. Praise God’s faithfulness.
    2. Once again, we see God populating the earth.
    3. We see nations spread out.
    4. We see His plans come to pass.
    5. This passage correlates with Acts 17:26 and this means we can trust the Bible. In Acts 17:26 Paul shared: And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place
    6. In this genealogy, we are seeing things setup for the people of Israel at the end of Genesis 11.
    7. Through the people of Israel, we will have salvation through Jesus.
    8. Notice how this genealogy leads to Abraham which leads to Israel, which leads to the Savior.
    9. Genesis 10 is connecting Noah to Abraham.
    10. Abraham connects to the rest of the Scriptures.

Certainly, much more could be shared about this chapter and you can find my notes about this whole chapter under the Sunday School section of our website. I taught this chapter in Sunday School. However, those are the things that I wanted to focus on today.

I encourage you, when you read the genealogies notice God’s faithfulness.

I began this message with Dr. Rydelnic’s comments on the song “Imagine.” This is how he concludes his article:

So the next time you’re in the grocery store and the ever present Muzak comes on, playing Imagine, instead of humming along with it, maybe we should all start singing, I Can Only Imagine instead:

I Can Only Imagine,

What it will be like

When I walk by Your side

I can only imagine

What my eyes would see

When Your face is before me

I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory

What will my heart feel?[6]

There are a lot of people and God multiplied the people and eventually sent a Savior to save us from our sins.



[2] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

vv. verses

cp. compare

[3] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23–24.

[4] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

[5] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 64.


Prayers for Our Leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-7)

Prayers for Our Leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-7)

July 3, 2022

I think prayer has always been talked about a lot; even in the public spotlight. No matter how much we don’t want to give Jesus Lordship, no matter how much it is illegal to mix our faith into certain public areas; people still respect prayer. They may not respect the content of your prayer, but they still want prayer. People desire prayer; we are all in desperate need of prayer, aren’t we? We even have prayer at the President’s inauguration.

We have prayers led at sporting events. For example: CBS news reports this:

Pastor Joe Nelms came through with a car-racing invocation that won’t soon be forgotten. His prayer before the Nationwide Federated Auto Parts 300 managed to fuse unusual automotive praise with a memorable spousal shout-out.

Nelms began the prayer straightforward enough, thanking God for all his blessings. But then his list of gratitude grew increasingly creative.

First, he thanked the Man Upstairs for “all the Dodges and Toyotas and the Fords.” He then gave thanks for “GM performance technology,” “Sunoco racing fuel” and “Goodyear tires that bring performance and power to the track.”

Then Nelms got personal: “Lord, I want to thank you for my smokin’ hot wife tonight, Lisa, and my two children, Eli and Emma, or as we like to call the ‘The Little E’s.”[1]

Today, I want to look at 1 Timothy 2:1-7. This passage is about praying for our leaders. How are Christians to live today? I think we live like people in a country that increasingly does not share our values. That was also true in the first century. Like the people in Ephesus, who Paul wrote to, we must pray.  

Let’s turn in our Bibles to 1 Timothy 2:1-7 and we will see that the Bible challenges us to pray; also, this passage tells us what to pray for, the goal of our prayer, and the confidence we can have in who we pray to. 

Let’s read 1 Timothy 2:1-7

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

  1. In verses: 1-2 the apostle Paul writes about the objects and contents of prayer.
    1. Notice as we look at verse 1 that Paul urges the people; he writes, “I urge…” The verb this is translated from just carries the idea of encouraging or exhorting. Paul is exhorting us, challenging us, to take this instruction on prayer so seriously. Now, what does he say?
    2. He says that we pray with “supplications.” This has the idea of our prayer life being a humble list to God. This carries the idea of pleading to God.
    3. Then Paul simply says, “prayers.” The noun used for “pray” is the most general word we can use to pray. In fact, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of praise, prayers of intercession, and all other types of prayers fit under this noun’s definition.
    4. Then Paul urges us to intercession: this is praying on behalf of other people’s needs.
    5. Then we are urged to pray in thanksgiving. Never forget what God has given you.
    6. It is so easy to simply come to God with our needs while forgetting what we have been given. Things like giving thanks prior to eating a meal are not that common anymore.
    7. We pray in supplication, intercession, and thanksgiving: One source tells me: “These three terms indicate that the initial prayer term distinguishes the element of insufficiency by the requester, the second highlights devotion by the seeker, and the third underscores the childlike confidence of the petitioner.”[2]
    8. These prayer terms are all very important. Prayers of supplication show that we are merely human coming before God. We are insufficient and we ask for God’s help in humility. We pray in intercession simply coming to God with the needs of others. We come giving thanks recognizing what God has provided.
    9. Now, Paul writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that these prayers are to be offered for all people. No one is left out. Now, this doesn’t mean that we are to list everyone by name. We might, but this just means that we can pray for anyone. Don’t leave people out because you don’t like them, or because they are a different social class, or because they vote differently, or because you didn’t vote for him or her. The word translated “all” literally means “everyone.”
    10. In 1 Timothy Paul had been writing against false teachers. These false teachers that Paul had been writing about might have limited prayers for a specific group. 
    11. But verse 2 specifies a few groups to pray for. We must pray for kings and all who are in high positions. This is not the only time Paul mentions praying for our leaders. Our leaders have a great task on them; pray for them.

Listen to one of Washington’s prayers for our country.

 Some years ago there was placed upon the altar of the Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge an exquisitely illuminated copy of Washington’s prayer for the nation.

 “Almighty God: We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the heads of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brother-affection and love for one another and for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large.

 “And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion and with a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can ever hope to be a happy nation.

 “Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”[3]

Washington modeled prayer and in this case prayer for our nation.

  • Now Paul writes that when we pray that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
  • Now, in verses 3-4: we see the goal of prayer.
    • First, this is good and pleasing to God.
    • I think that is amazing in and of itself. Isn’t it nice to think that we can be good and pleasing to God? Here He is the God of the universe, the creator of all and we can please Him; we can be good in His sight. Also, God is our Savior. This means our redeemer.
    • Now, the Bible says, God wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth.
    • This is a major principle: God loves all. It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, black or white, American, French, German, Egyptian, etc, etc and etc. God loves all. God wants all to be saved.
    • The false teachers likely taught that salvation was only for Jewish people, but that is not true. God loves all.
    • So, a goal of our prayer is salvation. As we pray for people, pray for their salvation. Pray for their spiritual state. Ask God to make you think like an evangelist.
  • In verses 5-7 Paul writes about the confidence of the goal of prayer: (Jesus paid a ransom for our sins).
    • We have confidence that there is one God. Isn’t it nice that we don’t have to think about pleasing all these gods? There is one God.
    • There is also one mediator between God and mankind.
    • These false teachers might have taught that angels were mediators. There was a problem with the worship of angels in the first century.
    • But no, our mediator is the man Christ Jesus. Jesus came as one of us and He mediates for us.
    • Verse 6 tells us how Jesus can mediate. This is because He paid our ransom to God.
    • We have this confidence when we pray. We have confidence in God.
    • So, Paul says that God made him a herald of the Gospel. A herald was one who announced major news. He was a herald to the gentiles.
    • This means that Paul saw himself as one who was to go around and announce the good news of Jesus to the gentiles.
    • So, I ask: How’s your prayer life?
    • Do you pray with petition, intercession, and thanksgiving?
    • Do you have an evangelical mindset?


One of the great shaping personalities of Protestantism was Martin Luther. We sometimes have the impression that all this brilliant monk did was nail a list of protests on the church door in Wittenberg. Nothing could be further from the truth. He worked as an inspired man, preaching, lecturing, and writing daily. The complete edition of his papers runs into thousands of pages. He worked inconceivably hard, and yet in spite of all this, Luther managed to pray for an hour or two every day. He said he prayed because he had so much to accomplish. We are recipients of this hope, and in a world that is so corrupt and needy, we also need to pray.[4]

C.S. Lewis

“The Christian is not to ask whether this or that event happened because of a prayer. He is rather to believe that all events without exception are answers to prayer in the sense that whether they are grantings or refusals the prayers of all concerned and their needs have all been taken into account.” [5]



[2] New American Commentary

[3] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

[4] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (174). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[5] (Jeeves Malcolm A. and Myers David G. Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith. 1987. Harper Publishing San Francisco. Christian College Coalition. Page 92. C.S. Lewis’ book Miracles New York Macmillian, 1947 page 215.)