Daily Thought for: 11th January

THE SONS OF NOAH AND THEIR DESCENDANTS

Genesis 9, 11. 1-9

Through the misuse of wine, Noah fell into a shameful drunken stupor, and laid naked in his tent. His eldest son Ham’s moral indifference in dealing with the situation resulted in blessings being taken away from his descendants. On the other hand, his brothers’ conduct kept their blessings, with an enlarging benefit to Japheth, but with Shem getting the special blessing of the firstborn. 

Noah’s descendants moved out towards the west, determined to keep together, and using newly discovered building techniques for making permanent structures with bricks they resolved to ‘build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth’, 11. 4. They were not prepared to move out in faith to replenish the earth, but tried to stay together and build their city, with a tower as a religious symbol of their unity. However, God frustrated their plans by confusing their language, and before long His purpose was being fulfilled in spite of men’s plans, and they were scattered over ‘the face of all the earth’, 11. 8. 

It was probably at this time that idolatry began, specially as there is no reference to it in Scripture before the flood. This is chronicled in the first chapter of Romans, which is especially applicable to the times immediately after the flood, when it was certainly true that ‘they knew God’, 1. 21, but then they ‘glorified him not as God’, and ‘changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image’, and they also ‘changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator’, vv. 21-25. However, it is interesting to compare the ‘imaginations’ described in Genesis 11. 6, with those of Romans 1. 21. 

The proposed city of Babel (i.e. Babylon) was left unfinished, but it laid the foundation for a religious system that is to persist right to end times, Rev. 17. 5. The world was eventually filled with idolatry as it had been previously with violence, Gen. 6. 11, 13, and God would again take out of it a man for His purpose. 

 

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