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We’re going to start this morning in Genesis chapter 11, and I’m going to bring us into Genesis chapter 12. I want to set the backdrop for Genesis chapter 12 through Genesis chapter 11. And the reason is, is because Genesis 1011 and 12 tie together very beautifully. And I think one of the unfortunate things, sometimes we have the tendency to do as human beings. We read the stories of the Bible and we sort of read these as one off stories, kind of like someone just sits back with a pen and sort of tells you some stories about God, and it’s just whatever comes to mind. And they kind of they kind of follow this in chronological order as stories come up, but they just share one story after another, and hopefully you get the the picture that God wants for you. But but I think sometimes we fail to recognize these stories are intertwined to a greater theme in which God desires for us to know. I think it’s especially important in the first 11 chapters of Genesis to see that. What leads us up to chapter 12? Because starting in chapter 12, the story of the Bible starts to slow down. In fact, I’ve told you in the most conservative of estimates, the first 11 chapters of the Bible has has as much time period taken place as the rest of the Bible. Right? So, so when you look at these first 11 chapters, these are some pillars, stories that are being told for us as it relates to who God is and your relationship with him.
And it’s highly important that you not only see the stories for what they are, but how these stories interconnect to tell a greater story. And what you’re going to find in today’s passage is not only is this a great story intertwining all of Scripture, but also how this story relates to you and me today. What does this mean for you? And if you remember in Genesis nine we ended with the Noahic flood and Genesis ten you get some genealogy. Why? Who cares, right? It tells the story of of of Noah’s descendants. After they get off the boat. It talks about Shem, Ham and Japheth and all these kids that they had. And and that’s really all chapter ten is it kind of leaves you scratching your head. Why is this here? And what does this have to do with me? And then when you get to chapter 11, it starts to tell about the, the story of the Tower of Babel. And then it does genealogy again of Shem, like it just told you genealogy about Shem in chapter ten. But it’s going to tell you genealogy again in chapter 11. It’s like, did they think that we forgot after one chapter about genealogy, what does that have to do with anything? And then you get into chapter 12 with with the life of Abraham.
And all of this intertwines very beautifully in what Scripture says. And through this story, as we intertwine this, if I do a good enough job to intertwine this for you, we’re also going to learn about how to make a great name, how to how to make a great name. But what we discover here in chapter 11 is that man once again starts to pursue a life apart from God. And the interesting thing is, is they do it masked under religion. And in pursuing this life apart from God, it leads to this place of confusion. And if you’ve been with us through this story of the book of Genesis by now, if you haven’t caught that theme, then there’s no helping, all right? Because it’s been over and over again through Genesis where where God, he comes in, in his grace, he brings deliverance to people who have forsook him. And man, just a few steps out of that, leaves God behind again and starts living for his glory. And here we are in Genesis chapter 11, and we find that story in the story of Babel, that mankind again is forsaking God. And the word Babel literally means confusion. And so any time we live life apart from God, that’s what it ultimately leads to. Is this place of confusion who we are, where we come from, where we’re going. We have no idea apart from God, because we weren’t made for us.
We were made for him. And unless we seek the Lord, we don’t discover that. Sure, you can live for something meaningful for just a while, but in the end, you find yourself ultimately bankrupt because the only thing that endures is what lasts in the Lord. Because he is eternal and you being created to live for eternity. The only way you find a life most meaningful and purposeful is to live for his glory in this world. Everything else ultimately will lead to chaos or confusion. And the Tower of Babel. That’s what you discover. In fact, the Tower of Babel becomes a picture not just for the people of Babel, but into the the people of Babylon, where the Tower of Babel is taking place is the region where Babylon comes to exist, and both Babel and Babylon find its root meaning in the idea of confusion. In fact, when you read throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, Babylon continues to be looked at as this place of ultimate confusion, a place of of people building things. But they’re building things apart from God. And what you discover at the end of revelation in chapter 18 and 19 is God brings judgment on Babylon, a place that’s existing apart from him. And without God we find ourselves in this confusion. So point number one in your notes, this is what we want to make this morning as we study, study this, this story is the problem.
We are lost in ourselves that God desires to make a great name in you through his great name being made known. But when we forsake God and we seek it in and of ourselves, we’re lost in ourselves. And so point number one in your notes, we are we are lost in ourselves. And Genesis chapter 11, verse four. This is where it starts. And they said, come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top will reach into the heavens. And let’s make a name for ourselves. Otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the earth. In Genesis chapter ten, Genesis chapter 11, something interesting happens here. Sometimes when we read the Bible, we just think we expect it to be this story written chronologically. And that’s not some some cases the Bible unfolds itself chronologically. In other cases it doesn’t. In fact, if you pick up the Book of Genesis and think you’re going to read through the Bible and see it chronologically, you’re at a mistake in reading God’s Word. The Bible is not broken up chronologically. It’s broken up according to literary genre. It’s clumped together in literary genres. In the beginning, you have some some some history books, you have some poetic books, you have some prophetic books. In the Old Testament, you get to the New Testament. The first half is the the Gospels.
Then you have one history book in acts, and then you have the epistles. And in the end you get crazy revelation, right? So that’s how that’s kind of how the Bible unfolds. It’s broken up in these literary genres. And in Genesis chapter ten and 11. Again, I would argue this is not necessarily in chronological order. Then in chapter ten, it’s laying out for us the genealogy of Noah. But chapter 11 happens within the context somewhere in chapter ten. And so in chapter 11, it’s telling you about the story of Babel. And the people decide to to build the city. And the problem with their lives in this moment isn’t the idea of building a city some people might have disdain for, for the thought of city, but God, God’s not has any hatred towards cities, right? The problem is not a city. In fact, the life of Abraham. It tells us in Hebrews chapter 11, we’re going to read about Abraham in a minute, but it says about the life of Abraham. Abraham was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Even in revelation 21 verse two, it tells us that God brings down the city of Jerusalem, this new city where things are perfected. So God is not anti city. God’s not really either pro country or pro city. God’s desire is that your heart would be given over to him and wherever you find yourself, you would be a blessing to people around you.
In fact, we could argue that God is is maybe even pro city because in the end, he builds this new Jerusalem, this place for God’s people. The city in itself isn’t a problem. In fact, you could point to a lot of advantages for for having a city. It becomes it could be a place of, of of protection. Because where there’s more people, there’s power. And you can be fortified. Certainly in the book of Genesis when they talk about the word city, it’s different than the way we often think about city. We think of a major metropolitan area with a large place of population. In Abraham’s day, a city was a fortified place of protection. It was a place that had walls. If you got attacked, you would run to the city for protection. There’s power in numbers. The city can can be a place of refuge and opportunity. In fact, I would say in most countries, if people emigrate from one country to another, they typically go to the city, not to rural areas, because within the city they can oftentimes find people of their own culture as they navigate a new culture. And so there’s this place of comfort while they walk in a new place. And so the city can provide that place of, of refuge to depend on one another as you navigate a new part of the world, or the city can be a place that challenges us to to get better as people and areas of technology and artistry.
Even in the book of Genesis, chapter four, if you remember the story of Cain and Abel Cain, when he was cursed, he went out. And it tells us in Genesis chapter four, he builds the first city and out of the city. In Genesis chapter four verse 21, there is technology that’s growing, and they’re even crafting new instruments for music. But but the problem is not so much the city. It’s what people do within it. If a city is not a place of justice or mercy, it can lead to destruction. In fact, we looked in Genesis chapter four at this figure named Lamech, and Lamech was a terrible man in the city. And after it tells us technology and and instruments are created, then Lamech uses the technology to harm other people. And he writes in the book of Genesis, the first song that we have written in a city, and the song that he writes is a war song. And so it’s not necessarily the city that’s the problem, but rather what people do within it. And here’s what you discover in in Genesis chapter 11, verse four, they’re coming together to build a city and a tower whose top will reach the heavens. And let’s make a name for ourselves. Their desire is not about God’s glory, but their own glory.
The problem becomes in what they’re pursuing, it’s not living their lives for God’s glory to the blessing of others, but rather living life for their glory. And any time we as people take our lives and live for our glory, it’s to the destruction of other people. Because our tendency is, is to treat other people like tools to serve us. Us because the most important thing to us in this world is ourselves. And we’ve seen this repeated over and over again in the book of Genesis, that that God has created us to know him and to walk with him. And in that relationship with the Lord, we. Find our identity and our security and who we are. We find our purpose and our meaning. And therefore, because we find our identity, identity satisfied in the Lord, we can live for his glory in this world. And it’s a blessing to the people around us. But any time we we abandon that identity in the Lord, we look for our identity anywhere else, anywhere else that can satisfy us, give us meaning, something that we will worship in order to attribute to us worth. And the result is, is we start using and abusing the things around us to make us feel more important. And this is what happens in Genesis chapter 11 verse four. They’re pursuing their own name apart from God, and ultimately it leads to this place of confusion that they can’t discover the worth of who they are because they’ve disconnected them to the one who’s created them in his image.
And so they come to this place of challenge. And the interesting thing about this passage is they’re doing it masked under religion. When they’re building this tower to make this great name the tower, historians will tell you, is ziggurats. And ziggurats is a place of worship. They’re doing all this performance to show everyone how great they are, including God, to unveil God’s love to them as if they can merit God’s love. And yet, what you discover in this, in this chapter, and I’m not going to pull it up on the screen, but in in Genesis chapter 11, verse seven, it’s God that enters in and he says, let us go down and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from the from the face of the earth. And they stopped building the city. And then in verse nine he says, therefore its name is called Babel, because the Lord confused the language of all the earth, and from the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the earth. So here’s what you find in the context of the story. The the people considered their greatest strength, their prideful unity independent of God. And so they were concerned. And in 11 verse four, let’s not spread out.
Let’s just stay here together and let’s show how amazing we are, which is the opposite of what God commanded them when they left the ark. In Genesis chapter nine, God said, go into this world and bless and flourish and multiply. But rather they they hunkered in one area and they concentrated on themselves, and they wanted to to make everyone look at them and how great they were. And so they, they, they took pride in their identity of unity independent of God. But what does God do? God brought him to their greatest fear. God led them to a place of scattering in order to obey what he said. And in so doing, they end up making a name for themselves. But ironically, it’s not the kind of name I don’t think that they wanted, because the name they made for themselves is Babel, which means confusion. So? So God steps in and he scatters them. And then in Genesis 11, starting in verse ten, it goes through genealogy again. And the question is why? Why is it talking about genealogy? And in this particular passage, it’s simply focusing just on the line of Shem. If you remember from Noah, there was Shem, Ham and Japheth. Well, in this particular passage, it’s just focusing on Shem. And the reason it’s focusing on Shem is because Shem was the one through which God’s blessing would come. And Genesis chapter nine, it said through Noah’s three sons that he would bring through Shem the promise.
The promise of a messiah would be a deliverer that was to be Shem. And so while the people found themselves in confusion and God dispersing them again, the question is, well, how is God’s hand going to show up? Or what can happen for us? Because we’re in this place of confusion, we’re lost in ourselves. And so it turns to the story of Shem expecting to see some sort of deliverance. But here’s what you discover in verse ten when it begins to talk about the genealogy. It lists the the lineage of Shem. But then in verse 26, it brings us to this place of a man named Terah, which is the father of Abraham. And it says, Terah lived 70 years and fathered Abram, which is Abraham, Nahor, and Haran. Now these are the records of the generations of Tara. Tara fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran, and Haran fathered lot. Haran died during the lifetime of his father Terah in the land of his birth in ur, the Chaldeans, which is modern day Iraq. Abram, Abram, and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abraham’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Noah’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milka and Iska, and Sarai was unable to conceive and she did not have a child. Now you’ll know if you. If you’re familiar with the story of Abram, his name later changes to Abraham and Sarah, later changes to Sarah, which means princess.
And we’ll deal with that down the road. But it’s interesting here in this passage, Abraham’s name, it means the Father and God changes his name to Abraham, which means more like Big Daddy. So it goes from like just daddy to Big Daddy. That’s kind of the change. But but the importance of his name change will highlight later. But. Here in this passage. It’s bringing this place of looking at the lineage of Shem, and it’s saying, okay, this is where God’s hand wanted to work, but all of a sudden it brings you to this bleak predicament because it’s following this lineage, and it’s showing you in the life of Abraham and Sarah where God is looking like he’s going to work. They can’t conceive. And if they’re bringing into this bleak passage is to say, well, where can we turn? Because if there’s not a lineage for the Messiah to come, what hope is there? And so you kind of get to this place where it’s this place of humility, of brokenness, of emptiness, pausing, wondering what’s going to happen. And not only not only do you get to this story, and it’s sort of this, this place of confusion, now they’re trying to figure out what step to take forward. But but it goes on just a few more verses and it says, now Terah took his son Abram, and Lot, the son of Haran, his grandson, and his daughter in law Sarai, his son Abraham’s wife.
And they departed together from ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. So they have this destination where God is to lead them. And they went as far as Haran and settled there. The days of terror were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran. So here’s what it’s saying is what not only do they not look, does not look like this family has a future, but even in what future they had, God called them to a certain place and they weren’t even willing to follow the Lord completely there. They stopped halfway. God led him to the land of Canaan, and who knows why they didn’t go the full distance? Maybe. Maybe, Tara thought, well, why do this? Because there’s not a lineage to pass on here. So? So he just stops short of of pursuing what God had called them to. And guys, I know it’s the same struggle in our lives. Sometimes we get to this place of confusion, and we’ve completely been trusting in ourselves for a period of time, and we’re sort of lost in our walk with God, and we’re looking for a place or a direction to go, and we start to maybe pursue the Lord, but we only go halfway in. We don’t really give him our full life. And so in so doing, we end up lost in the in this in-between land.
And I tell you, as a, as a believer or as someone who might claim to know Christian, that’s a claim to know Christ. That’s a terrible place to be. The Bible tells you sin is fun for a season, but it certainly tells you not to be a lukewarm Christian. Rather, go all in for Jesus. I mean, if you’re going to do something and make it to the full capacity like sin’s fun for a season and following Jesus with your life, that is the fulfillment to the max. But living in this in-between world, there is no satisfaction in the life of a Christian there. And you find in this story, Tara is in that in that place. And so it’s reminding us again and again in Genesis chapter 11, in this bleak story, that we are lost in and of ourselves and apart from God, we don’t really have hope. And so we need the Lord to intervene in, in our lives in order to direct us and to be willing to surrender to that and pursue after him. Which leads us to point number two in your notes. The hope. God gives grace. God gives grace. And in Genesis chapter 12, this is where we see finally God bringing his deliverance. In the midst of all the confusion of Babel. It says, and now the Lord said to Abraham. The Lord said to Abraham.
Unless God intervenes. Man has no hope. And here in this story we find God is speaking. God says to Abraham. God spoke. And for us we should be thankful for this, because when you read the book of Genesis, there are certain verses that just stand out above other passages. I told you when we looked in the first three chapters of Genesis, one of those pinnacle verses, Genesis 315, in the midst of Adam and Eve’s sin, you see, God pursues Adam and Eve, and in Genesis 315 he gives the promise of a messiah that one will come and deliver us. And here again we’re seeing the thread of God’s hand working through a particular people group. And in Genesis chapter 12, verses one and three, God shows up again and he’s giving us a promise. And so this is one of those passages that when we get done with the book of Genesis, if you just look back at a certain sections of verses, this is one of those sections that you want to know about as a Christian, because this is a section full of extreme hope for for God’s people. And so God speaks, and we’re to be thankful that God intervenes in this moment of chaos to deliver his grace. And can I just encourage you today that as God has spoken to Abraham in the past, God still desires to speak today. And if you want to hear God speak, can I tell you the best thing to do is read His Word? Because that’s where God speaks to you.
And if you want to hear God speak out loud, read His word out loud. That’s why God wrote His Word. And one of the powerful reasons God wrote His Word to you get this is because some people in this world represent God in a way that’s just flat crazy. Some people think and they might believe genuinely, but they can believe genuinely wrong and in who they think God is and what they think God says. And the way that, you know, whether or not someone’s speaking truth or a lie, or whether they’re just confused, is to look at what they say and match it according to what God’s Word has said. And if you want to hear what God has to say to you, it’s important to read His Word. That’s why it’s so important. God’s people gather under the teaching of His word to study it together. Because who knows? I might tell you something crazy one day, and we can look at it at God’s Word together, and you can be like, you know what? You’re you’re you’ve lost it. You know, that’s that’s the power of collectively gathering together under God’s word and reading through it together and challenging ourselves in Scripture. And so in this passage, God speaks and he delivers his grace to Abraham. And here’s what’s important about Abraham.
Nothing. Nothing apart from God’s grace. Nothing. Because the life of Abraham is a life of pagan idolatry. In fact, in Joshua chapter 22 or 24, verse two, it says about Abraham. He grew up in a pagan land with a pagan family worshiping a pagan god. And his name, Abram, is a pagan name. Abraham was pursuing idolatry with his family that pursued idolatry in a land of idolatry. And yet God in his grace shows up and brings deliverance. Well, God says to Abraham is not because Abraham is special. It’s because God is special. God speaks the life of Abraham. And look what he says in this passage. He says, go from your country and from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. This idea of go is like, get going. Abraham said this to your dad. He didn’t listen. You need to get going. I’ve called you to so much more in this world. What are you doing? Just sitting in this place that I didn’t lead you to? I’ve got something better for your life. You need to. You need to go. You need to get out. You got to get going. And then he says this the very interesting from from your country and from your relatives. And here’s what he’s saying. If we relate it to our own lives, it’s a place of familiarity and comfort. In Abraham’s day you were born, lived and died all within a 50 mile radius.
For someone to go beyond that is a little bit absurd. But this is what God wants to see within our lives is where does our faithfulness end with him? And all that you have in this world doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to the Lord. You just happen to be a steward over it. And what do you put before God? I mean, there’s a reason the Bible says it’s easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle or. Excuse me, that didn’t say it right. Camel to pass through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven. Right. There’s there’s sometimes we have these treasures in life that we put before the Lord, and we just grab a hold of it with this death grip that we won’t let go. Rather than say to God, God, I trust you. In this world of comfort and familiarity. What matters more than all of that is you. And so God is challenging Abraham in this place of familiarity, and he says this to the land that I will show you. From from familiarity to the unfamiliar. This is where God is calling Abraham. I mean for us in our walk with the Lord. It’s the same thing in your life that God enters into your life and and you realize you might be holding on to things that are contrary to him.
And you need to bring your life to a place where you completely surrender who you are before the Lord and say God wherever you want to go. I’m willing to go. And for Abraham, it became this paradigm shift from not where you’re going or what you find your identity in, but rather who you’re following. Abraham is discovering it’s not so much about the where or the what, but who. If you pursue the Lord, then you’ll find not only who God is, but you start to discover who you are, and the Lord takes care of the rest. And so God is bringing Abraham to this place of delivering his grace, as he’s calling Abraham to surrender his life. And then it goes on in the following verse, and I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing to to Abraham. Abraham becomes the first Hebrew, the first of the Jewish descent. We don’t really have Jews at this point because Jew comes from the line of Judah. But but he becomes the first Hebrew and Abraham in that you have a nation, a people group that comes forth, an ethnic group that comes forth, and this becomes a people group through which God is going to deliver his promise that through Abraham, not only is this, this nation, this people group formulated, but all nations are going to be blessed.
In fact, in in Galatians chapter three, verse 26, this is exactly what Paul says, that it’s not just specific to a people group, though we should be thankful that God worked through a people group to bring about his his greater name and his salvation and his rescue. But but it becomes not only just about the people group, but through that people group. All people groups get blessed. And in Galatians 326, for you are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who are baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek. There is neither slave nor free. There is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And verse 29, if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise. So God is telling Abraham, not only will I bless you and your people group, but also all people groups will be blessed through you. An act of God’s grace. Not because we’ve earned it, not because we’ve proven anything, but because of who he is. And God says, I will bless you. It doesn’t mean there’s not going to be hurdles in front of Abraham. In fact, we’ll look at a few in just a minute. But rather Abraham has the security of knowing who is walking with him as he journeys through this life.
And he says, and you will have a great name. Here’s the interesting thing in this verse. And when you start in Genesis chapter 11, you see the pursuit of the people in verse four. We’re going to make our name great by our power. It’s about what we do that demonstrates how great we are. But but God teaches us something different in Genesis chapter 12. It’s not about what you do. It’s about what he does in you. That’s what makes your name great. It’s about the identity that you have in him. Name in the Bible has to do with identity, and it’s different than a worldly identity. In Genesis chapter 11, they’re pursuing an identity based on what they accumulate in life, the size of their bank account, the titles they receive. He’s going to tell you when you get to heaven. God is not going to ask that question. How big, how much money did you have when you died? Right? How much education did you have? What kind of title? I got to figure out where to put you. You know that’s not that’s not God’s question. God’s question is where was your heart? And when people have a funeral for you at the end of your life, they’re not going to talk about the size of your bank account. They’ll fight over it, but they’re not going to talk about it. Right? They’re going to talk about your titles.
They’re more interested in the relationship they experienced with you and what you meant to them. And when the idea of name in this passage is all about this, this thought of identity and God is saying this, don’t focus on the where or the what. Focus on the who. Who you follow and in so doing, who God makes you to be because that will determine where you go and what you do. Now we get it backwards as people, because when we make life about ourselves, that’s the inevitable end. We only find our worth based on what we do. But. But in the Lord we find our worth based on who we are in him. And this is what God is saying to Abraham. Abraham, you don’t have to focus on your name. That that’s my job. I’m going to build that in you as you pursue me. And the same thing is true with with our lives and pursuing after the Lord. And and the result of of that is as we lean into God, trusting in him wherever he leads, not about where or what, but who God builds in you a name, a place, an identity. And in that identity you become a blessing to other people because you find who you are in Christ. And through that then others are blessed. And then he goes on in verse three he says, and I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. And God is saying to Abraham, look, if you pursue me, I’m going to take care of you. I’ll walk with you. I’ll be with you. I’ll navigate this for your people. Just pursue me. You don’t have to stress about tomorrow because you know who holds tomorrow. And guys for you as well. Sometimes one of the preventative reasons we we fail to follow the Lord is we start to get concerned about all the things in front of us, rather than the God who stands with us, who’s already gone before us, and the overwhelming feeling of some of the mountains we might have to climb in our lives. We fail to recognize the God who walks with us in those storms. And so he’s reminding Abraham that he handles this. That’s one of the most freeing things, I think, in all of Scripture and following after the Lord. You don’t have to wear the Superman cape. God already does, and God cares about you. He knows where you are. He knows what you need and you want to. He wants to walk with you in life. And so this is what he’s saying to Abraham, in fact, a like verse for us in Scripture as Romans chapter 12, verse nine, where God says, vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.
You don’t have to stress out about pouring out vengeance to other people who mistreat you. You certainly can use leverage law. That’s why we have laws in our land. You can call the police if something bad happens to you. I’m not telling you not to do that. I think that’s important for the protection of people. But what it is saying is it’s not yours to pour out the vengeance, but rather let God handle it. Because what God is going to do is far greater than what you’ll ever do in your own strength anyway. You get the opportunity to enjoy the journey with the Lord. So. So therefore, the next point the opportunity is to take a step of faith. Take a step of faith. This is exactly what Abraham does. Verse four. So Abraham went away as the Lord had spoken to him. And lot went with him. Now Abraham was 75 years old when he had departed from Haran. And Abraham took his wife Sarai, and his nephew lot, and they and all their possessions with which they had accumulated, and the people which they had acquired in Hebron, and they set out for the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. Abraham passed through the land as far as the site of Shekem to the oak of Mora. Now the Canaanites were in the land at that time. Let me just say this.
If you if you didn’t catch this in these three verses. Following after God isn’t always easy. But you’ll never regret it because it’s always worth it. And this is the lesson Abraham’s learning. Verse 4 to 6, this is exactly what he’s communicating. And here’s here’s how you see it. Abraham is 75 years old and he’s not moving with a moving truck. Abraham is 75 years old and he’s loading camels and he’s not going ten miles. He’s going hundreds of miles. And you talk about a big life change. This is a big life change at an age where it’s not easy to make life change. But but he wants to pursue a life in the Lord because he knows it’s far more meaningful than to live life in pagan ideology for his own purposes. And so no matter where he’s at in life, he’s he’s willing to surrender that, to follow the Lord. And can I tell you in your own journey with God, the best time to follow Jesus is right now. The best time to give your life to the Lord is right now. And it’s not counting the troubles before you, but rather recognizing the goodness of who God is and the power of God over anything that might rest before you in life. In fact, that goes a little further and identifies it in the land of Canaan. God is saying, look, I’m going to send you to a land, Abraham.
And when you get to the land, it’s going to look overwhelming because there’s lots of people here, but this is going to be your land. And so it is with the journey of the Lord. You start thinking, well, if I follow Jesus, what are the consequences? What are people going to say? Thinking of all the challenges and you fail to put your eyes on the God who conquers them. The challenges themselves become really the idolatry that we look towards rather than the God we’re called to worship. It’s not about where you’re going. But who you’re going with. Because if you focus on him, God takes care of the journey. In fact, I think he taught his disciples that. Do you remember the story? And and one of the stories that Jesus had in the Sea of Galilee, where he goes up to a mountain to pray by himself. He sends his disciples out into the sea. There’s a storm. They’re concerned. They start to look out and they see someone walking on the water to them. They panic. They think it’s a ghost. And then Peter realizes it’s Jesus. And Peter does what Peter does. He jumps out of the boat. Jesus calls him. He starts walking on water. Then he starts to freak out because he’s walking on water and he stops looking at Jesus and he starts to sink. And then Jesus rescues him. And it’s a picture, really, of really what all of us face in life.
God is not always interested in removing the storms from our lives, but rather becoming the God in the storm with us to help us understand what it means to to follow after him in adversity. To see the greatness of who God is. In fact, this is what Abraham did. And and Hebrews chapter 11, verse eight, listen to this by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance, and he went out not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Abraham didn’t know where he was going. He went into this land of Canaan, but he knew God was building something great within him. If he would just focus on on the one who desired to do it. So let me just ask, what what excuses do you make before following the Lord? What stops you. From giving your life completely over to him. Are you building a tower like Babel? Are you in a place of confusion? What do you hold back from God? As if he. He’s the. He’s the God of terror, where you just follow him half way.
Where are you reserved in your relationship with the Lord rather than understand man? God made you for him and him alone. Now the life of Abraham becomes that beautiful picture for all of us. In verse seven he goes on, and the Lord appeared to Abraham and said to your descendants, I will give this land. So he built an altar there to the Lord, who who had appeared to him. I love that she’s saying, Abraham. Look, Abraham, when you follow me with your life, not only is it a blessing to you, but it’s a blessing to generations. It doesn’t just make an impact in your life. It makes an impact in the lives around you. And God points it out to Abraham. This is not just about you. I’ve got more for you. And here’s what’s crazy. Abraham, remember, still can’t have children. And so God is, is, is bringing Abraham to a place that looks utterly hopeless to him. A picture that looks bleak. And he’s wondering, God, what can you do here? And if you’re talking about blessing nations, how can that even happen? And God is a beautiful God that takes us from our brokenness, that does more than we can ever dream. And then he goes on and verse, verse eight, and he says, then he proceeded from there into the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and AI on the east.
And there he built an altar to the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord. Then Abraham journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev. Here’s what I want you to realize. Abraham didn’t just trust God once and go on this journey. What you see is Abraham again and again surrenders his life to the Lord. As he’s going on this journey, he continues to stop and worship because how important it is for us. You can start the Christian journey and say, okay, I need, I need Jesus to save me, to rescue me. And you do that. You completely trust in the Lord, but you forget. The gospel renews you every day, and eventually you can come to this place where you just stop worshiping. And so important for the life of every believer to wake up every day and say, God, this day is yours. You made it. And so may I live it for your glory. Everything that I have is yours, and may I walk with you and let you write the story of your great name. And in so doing, make a great name for me. Through you, God, all great things happen, and so every day becomes a day of surrender to the Lord. In fact, first Corinthians 1531 Paul says, I die daily. I die daily, meaning the gospel happens over and over in our lives. And so here it is then the final point the promise.
God’s grace is available for everyone. And here’s how we tie really Abraham’s story to all of us. You know, we read that story of Abraham, and I’m relating it to you. And you may be asking the question, well, how do I really know this has to do with my life, right? It’s good for Abraham, but I’m not Abraham. How do I really know? My answer for you would be because of Genesis ten. Because of Genesis ten. In Genesis ten. You see, when Noah comes out of the boat with his kids Shem, Ham and Japheth, it lists for you the genealogy of Shem, Ham and Japheth, which for us just genealogy can sometimes get boring, right? But, but then at the very end of chapter ten, it gives an important point. This passage is called the Table of Nations. And in verse 32 it says, these are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their descendants, by their nations. And out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood. If you read about the people groups that come from Shem, Ham and Japheth, some people go back and count these and there’s over 70 names listed. So it carries the idea that there are over 70 nations that are birthed, or ethnic groups that are birthed right after the Noahic flood. And then they they during that time. Sometime during that time, they decided this group stays together and they build the Tower of Babel, which is this place of confusion.
But out of this place of confusion, God calls one people group as his representative to to pursue him through which the Messiah would come, and in that Messiah would become the blessing to all people. That through Abraham we all become children of Abraham. In Galatians chapter three, verse 26 to 29. And here’s how, how I know that here’s where we see the story painted. It’s a it’s an incredible picture in Luke chapter nine. Luke chapter nine and ten is also in Matthew chapter ten. But in Luke chapter nine, this is where Jesus calls the 12 disciples. Luke nine he tells the 12 disciples, go out and proclaim the gospel and look at this. He tells them to proclaim the gospel in Matthew ten five, only two Jewish towns. That’s what he says to them, only proclaim it two Jewish towns. And the reason Jesus picks 12 disciples is a picture. It’s a representative, and the representation is for the 12 tribes of Israel. It’s as if the Messiah is saying that he would bless the people group, Abraham’s people group, and he sends out the 12 disciples to minister to the 12 tribes. But then when you get to Luke chapter ten, Jesus does something interesting. He says, the harvest is plentiful, the laborers are few. Go forth. And when Jesus calls him to go forth in Luke chapter ten, rather than call the 12 again, he now calls 70.
Why does Jesus call 70? The reason Jesus calls 70 is because now he’s speaking to all nations and people groups, and rather than just tell them only go to Jewish towns, he tells them to go everywhere. And so what Jesus is doing, he’s tying the story in the gospel all the way back to the Noahic flood. And he’s reminding us of the promise of Abraham and sang faithfully that from the beginning, God’s hand has been with us, that God would come and minister to all people groups, that we could discover the same God in which Abraham followed. And so when you read the story of the the Tower of Babel into the life of Abraham, it’s painting this beautiful picture. It’s saying to us, we all try to build things for our glory, Babel. And it leads to this place of confusion. But, but God steps into our hopeless story like Abraham, and he gives us a place to to make a difference if we would by faith, trust in him, not knowing where we are going, but knowing who we are going with. Saying to us, don’t look at the challenges before you. Like Abraham at 75 years old, going to the land of Canaan. But rather look to the Lord above you. And in this all the nations would be blessed because of the Lord who goes with you.
God’s calling on Abraham is a calling that all of us have in the Lord and pursuit of our relationship with him, not focused on making our name great, but his name. And in so doing, God blesses us, and through that we we bless others. There was a missionary named David Livingston I often talk about. Was a missionary in Africa in the 1800s. He tracked all over Africa proclaiming the gospel when David Livingston died. I know I’ve told you this before, but when he died, his home country requested that his body be returned from Africa. But in Africa, before they returned his body, they actually cut out his heart and buried it under a tree. And they said when they shipped his body back to his home country, they said, you can have his body, but we’re burying his heart because his heart belongs to Africa. David Livingston was a man much like Abraham of incredible faith. He didn’t always know where he was going to end up, but he knew the God he followed and the God he wanted to proclaim. And David Livingston gave this prayer. And I think it’s a beautiful ending to this story. He said, God, send me anywhere. Only go with me. Lay any burden on me. Only sustain me and sever any tie in my heart. Except the tie that binds my heart to yours.