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Genesis 11:1-26; 1 Chronicles 1:24-27; Genesis 11:27-31; Genesis 12:1-14:24
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Today in Genesis chapter 11 we read about the tower of Babel! You can view the location of the tower at a high level below:
I probably should not confess this, but I will - verse 4 made me smile and laugh at myself a bit, which really shouldn't be funny. This verse reminded me of myself at times: "Let's build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies--a monument to our greatness!" This verse is obviously not one that made God happy, as we see in subsequent verses. And I guess I have to ask myself - are there times my life or areas of my life where I am attempting to build something that will be a "monument to my greatness"? And I'm afraid that the answer is too often yes. Or it surely has been in the past. I pray that I'm turning over the desire to "be great" over to God more and more these days. I pray that I am not seeking glory for myself - but seeking glory for God. But, I am afraid that sometimes I revert back to wanting to build a "monument to my greatness" in my work or volunteer activities or maybe even personal relationships. And this is pride. It was this pride that brought about the building of the tower of Babel - and it was because of pride that God stopped the building of the tower by giving the human race different languages. In your life today - are you seeking to build monuments of greatness for yourself? Or are you instead seeking to only glorify God? Below is an oil on panel painting of the "Tower of Babel" by Pieter Bruegel, circa 1563:
Today is a big day in our readings! We are introduced to Abram & Sarai! Genesis chapter 12 is significant in that it transitions our Old Testament readings from being about the world at large to being primarily about a specific man, Abram, his family, and his descendants. Verses 2 and 3 are an amazing promise from God to Abraham: "I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you." This is a powerful promise that we will see played out throughout the rest of our Old Testament readings - and into the New Testament this promise continues and is fulfilled in Jesus - and continues in us as spiritual descendants of Abram today. I heard somewhere once that one way to paraphrase this promise is "I will bless you, so that you will be a blessing to others." And I think about that today for our own lives. If we have been blessed by God, is it possible that we have been blessed in part so that we will be a blessing to others? Do you believe that you been blessed by God? Are you passing along that blessing to others in your life?
The brief story of Abram and Sarai in Egypt is a foreshadowing of what we will see later in Genesis and into Exodus - the descendents of Abram going into Egypt to escape a severe famine - and then ultimately leaving Egypt to the north "with all their household and belongings" (verse 20). I also am intrigued that in the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus as a child went into Egypt, when Mary & Joseph fled Herod's decree to kill all boys 2 & under around Bethlehem. Egypt plays quite a supporting role in the Bible! Below is a map of Abram's journey that we read about today:
These are some great readings today about Abram and his faith! Chapter 13 verse 9 stood out to me today as Abram was trying to settle the arguments between his and Lot's herdsmen over pastureland: "I'll tell you what we'll do. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want that area over there, then I'll stay here. If you want to stay in this area, then I'll move on to another place." I guess what I really like about this is Abram is giving Lot the first choice of the land. It seems like Abram is confident that he will personally be okay with whatever 2nd choice is left-over to him because he is in a relationship with God. I like this. And I hope that we each do this in my life from time to time. Think about this random example - parking spaces in a crowded mall can be hot commodities and arguments can ensue. What would it be like if we let others get the first choice and we continued on in confidence that we will be okay with whatever 2nd choice is left-over to us? Who knows - maybe we'd end up with the parking space in the boonies - and get an extra quarter mile of a walk for exercise... maybe not such a bad 2nd choice? Is it possible for us to get in the habit of letting others get the 1st choice of things whenever there is an argument about to ensue - and us being confident that 2nd choice will still be great for us - maybe in ways we don't foresee? And confident that because we are in a relationship with God? Below is an image of Abram and Lot in Genesis 13 about to part ways:
Chapter 14 verse 14 also stood out in regards to Abram's character: "When Abram learned that Lot had been captured, he called together the men born into his household, 318 of them in all. He chased after Kedorlaomer's army until he caught up with them in Dan." I don't know about you... but I'll be honest. If my nephew got captured by a band of marauding kings and their army, I'm thinking I might just let my nephew go and chalk it up to very bad luck on his part... But not Abram! When he heard the news that Lot had been captured, it looks like he did not even blink! He called together his household immediately and they were off and running after Kedorlaomer's army. Yes, they were chasing after an army... again, I'm not so sure I would do this... though, hopefully, maybe I now would if I can keep in mind Abram's character here.... What about you? Would you chase after an army? Is there maybe someone in your life who has been "captured" by something - an addiction, a sadness, some bad luck - and will you go chasing after that person and help to free them from the "army" that has ensnared them?
In verses 17 through 20 in chapter 14 we read about Melchizedek. And I definitely would like to get others opinions on this - Who was Melchizedek? The reason I ask this question is due to Hebrews Chapter 7 - click on this link to read this chapter of Hebrews. (Hebrews 7 is well worth the read at this point in our Genesis journey.) My thinking currently is that Melchizedek was a very great priest - but I don't believe he was Jesus Christ preincarnate. But, again, I'm willing to listen to others on your thoughts on this. My thoughts on this is that Hebrews 7 seems to be saying that Jesus is "like" or "in the order" of Melchizedek - but not quite saying Jesus is Melchizedek. I read there are 4 basic theories on who Melchizedek is - 1. simply a king of Salem and Abram was showing him respect, 2. Melchizedek was a standard title for the kings of Salem. 3. He was a "type of Christ" and he illustrates a lesson about Christ. or 4. He was Jesus preincarnate in a temporary body form. So - whaddya think? Below is an oil painting by Peter Paul Reubens, circa 1625, of Abram and Melchizedek meeting:
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Genesis titled "The Unity of Unbelief" is at this link, "The Call of Abram" is at this link, "When Faith Fails" is at this link, and "Lot Looks Out for Number One" is at this link, "The Rescue of Lot" is at this link.
Worship God: The call of Abram in Genesis reminded me of Christy Nockel's song "Waiting here for You:"
Are you waiting on God? Click here and wait no more!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12:2-3 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray in thanksgiving for God's covenant with Abram. Pray in thanksgiving that we have been blessed through Abraham. Pray in thanksgiving that Abram's descendant, Jesus, offers salvation to all peoples on the earth. Pray that all people would accept this blessing and not perish.
Comments from You and Question of the Day: Thinking about Abram in chapter 12, if we too have been blessed by God, is it possible that we have been blessed in part so that we will be a blessing to others? Do you believe that you been blessed by God? Are you passing along that blessing to others in your life? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this Chronological Bible Blog ministry today. Thanks!