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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
August 5, 2007
Man’s Continued Rebellion
Last week saw that it only took about 1500 years from the time that Adam & Eve were created and fell into sin for their descendants to become so bad that Genesis 6:5 described man’s wickedness as “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” It was because of that great wickedness that the Lord was grieved and determined to “blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them” (vs. 7). God would send a flood to destroy man. However, Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (vs. 8). Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time and walked with God (vs. 9). God told Noah what He was about to do and instructed Noah to build an ark in which he and his family and a pair of all the air breathing land animals could survive the flood to replenish the earth afterward. (see God’s Grace & Judgement, Genesis 6-8)
Noah was faithful and did according to all that God had commanded him (Genesis 6:22; 7:5). It may have taken him 120 years to build the ark (cf. Genesis 6:3) and the entire time of its construction was a warning of the coming condemnation of the world (Hebrews 11:7). Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5) and we can only speculate what ridicule and persecution Noah endured from the wicked people around him who refused to believe his message. God had amply warned mankind about the coming judgement, but when it came time to go into the ark, only Noah and his family along with the required animals got in. God then shut the door sealing them safely inside and sealing out the rest of mankind to face their doom (Genesis 7:16).
The description of the flood is one of a world-wide catastrophe. “All the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened” (Genesis 7:9) flooding the earth “so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered” (Genesis 7:19). The water reached a height of 15 cubits (about 22 ft) above the highest mountain peak (Genesis 7:20). It also prevailed for 150 days (Genesis 7:24). Water does not stack, so this could not have been just a local or regional disaster. In addition verses 21-23 makes three universal statements about the destruction of life on earth. In verse 21, “And all flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind.” Verse 22 further describes this as “all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died.” Verse 23 reiterates, “Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth.” Then to back these three statements up, verse 23 concludes, “and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark.” A local flood could not have done this.
God finally brought the flood to an end and the water started to abate. Three months later the tops of the mountains could be see (Genesis 8:5). It would be another four months before they could leave the ark. Noah and his family and the animals were in the ark for a total of 1 year and 17 days (cf. Genesis 8:13-14). The world as they had previously known it had perished (2 Peter 3:6). Starting in Genesis 9 we find that God gives Noah not only some new instructions for living in this radically changed world, but also some new promises we will look at in a minute.
You would think that after going through such a traumatic experience that Noah’s descendants would be very careful to obey the Lord’s commands, but it does not take long for a new generation to arise that ignores the lessons learned in previous generation. We will see that happen in chapters 10 & 11. Yet God always has His remnant and chapter 11 will conclude with hope for the future.
Living in a Different World (9:1-19)
Chapter 8 concluded with Noah offering sacrifices to the Lord out of gratitude for his survival. Chapter 9 begins with God giving Noah instructions for living in this radically changed world.
Food Sources (vs. 1-3) 1 “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 “And the fear of you and the terror of you shall be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as [I gave] the green plant.”
There is a repetition of the command of Genesis 1:28 to have children and fill the earth, but there is a change in relationship between man and the animals. Man would still rule over the animals, but the animals would now be afraid of man. Apparently the animals had not been afraid of man prior to this and would have behaved much like tame animals do now. Part of the reason for this change is that animals would now be included in man’s diet along with the plants.
This is a very important passage in dealing with vegetarianism. God does not say here that a person must eat animals, only that all animals were now a source of food in the same way as the plants. Each individual can decide whether or not to take advantage of all that would now be available to them. I can think of a few animals I would not want to take advantage of in this manner unless I was quite desperate or paid some great amount. However, those who advocate vegetarianism as being either morally superior or more healthy than a diet that includes animals are in direct conflict with what God says here. Vegetarianism is neither morally superior nor is it generally healthier.
The reality is that the flood not only directly changed the soil structure, but rain, which first fell on the earth at the start of the flood, leaches nutrients out of them so that they become less fertile. We know by millennia of farming practice that soils must be fertilized in order to keep up plant production, and even with that the plants may not be as nutritious as they would have been prior to the flood. Animals concentrate nutrition, especially proteins, for human consumption and health. While particular individuals may have allergic reactions or be unable to properly digest particular foods, in general, a strictly vegetarian diet is not as healthy as one including animal proteins.
If someone advocates abstaining from foods they are in serious trouble with 1 Timothy 4:1-4 which directly states that such a thing is from “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” Animals are included in that which “God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth, for everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude, for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”
There is, however, one form of animal protein that God did command man to abstain eating. “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, [that is,] its blood” (Genesis 9:4). The reason for this will not be fully explained until the Mosaic law (Leviticus 16), but God does not owe us an explanation of His reasons for His commands for us to obey them. He is God, we are not, and that is all we need to know when it comes to obeying Him.
Capital Punishment (vs. 5-6). God also establishes the punishment for those that murder a human. 5 “And surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from [every] man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:5,6). While societies continue to debate capital punishment the Bible is quite clear on the subject. While there are secondary factors such as justice and deterrence that favor it the simple reason is that it is required because man is made in the image of God. When someone murders a human they are also striking at God’s glory. When we get to the Mosaic law we will find clarification of this general command for it explains the differences between killing such as in war or execution and the various types of murder such as accidental and pre-meditated and the specific punishments for each. Those who continue to object to capital punishment for murderers find themselves in opposition to God’s clear command, and that is a dangerous place to be.
Reproduction (vs. 7) In verse 7 God again repeats His command to them to “be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.” This command is very important in understanding chapter 11.
The Noahic Covenant (vs. 8-19). Verses 8- 17 are an expansion of what God said in 7:21-22 in response to Noah’s sacrifice. God establishes a covenant with Noah and all the animals that had survived in the ark and all their successive generations. God would never again allow water to become a flood to destroy all flesh. He then established the rainbow in the clouds as the sign of this everlasting covenant.
There was a physical change in the structure of the earth’s atmosphere following the emptying of water through the “windows of heaven” during the flood. While we can only speculate as to the exact nature of those changes, one of them is that there now is rain. A rainbow is formed when direct sunlight passes through the water droplets of falling rain and refracts into the spectrum of visible light. Prior to the flood there was not any rain so this phenomena could not have occurred. The rainbow is now the sign of God’s covenant with man and all the animals that he would not destroy them again with a flood, but the very fact that it exists is a reminder that there was a flood. (Both new agers and homosexuals have tried to adopt the rainbow as a sign for themselves. When you get the opportunity, ask them if they know what the rainbow really means).
Verses 18-19 point out and stress that it was from the three sons of Noah; Shem, Ham and Japheth, that the whole earth was populated. The full genetical potential that we see expressed in people today was present in them. Verse 18 also points out that Ham was the father of Canaan who figures in the next section.
The Curse on Canaan (9:20-27)
20 “Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. 21 And he drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness.”
There would have been many changes in the environment following the flood. One of them would have been a reduction in air pressure. There have been many suggestions about what form the waters above the atmosphere were in prior to the flood including ice, water vapor and clouds, but regardless of which particular form, the presence of the water above the atmosphere would have increased the air pressure on the surface of the earth. That higher air pressure would have restricted the amount of fermentation that could take place in fruit juices. When that air pressure is reduced, like taking the top off a soda bottle, there is room for the production of more gas and hence greater fermentation. In other words, Noah would have been surprised that the grape juice he produced from his vineyard would have fermented to such a degree that it made him drunk.
Noah was in his tent and took off his clothes. This may have been because the effect of the alcohol had made him hot or he may have done it thoughtlessly because of being drunk. For some reason Ham went into the tent and saw that his father was naked and he told his brothers. Shem and Jepheth then acted honorably to protect their father’s dignity and they covered him without looking.
There is nothing in the immediate text to suggest that Ham did anything worse than see his father’s nakedness, but the difference in his response to that of his brothers shows that Ham was not as righteous. However, verse 24 and the curse that follows suggest that Ham’s youngest son, Canaan, did do something.
“When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him.” Ham is always listed between Shem and Jepheth strongly suggesting he was the middle son, not the youngest. The phrase “youngest son” could also refer to Noah’s youngest grandson at the time which would have been Canaan who is further implicated by the curse Noah places on him in verse 25 while blessing Shem and Japheth in verses 26 & 27. “So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. 27 “May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.”
The fulfillment of this would be recorded in the conquering of Canaanites by Israel and other nations. The territory inhabited by Japheth’s descendants would be large, but his greatest blessing would come through Shem, for it would be through the line of Shem that the promised redeemer would come.
Noah’s Death (9:28-29)
Noah lived for another 350 years after the flood for a total of 950 years. He would be the last person to live such a long life for the length of life of his descendants would quickly shorten.
The Tower of Babel (11:1-9)
Chapter 10 records the generations of Noah’s sons following the particular lines that would become important later in Israel’s history. I am going to jump ahead to chapter 11 which recounts the event that finally scattered these descendants throughout the earth. I will then come back and show where these various descendants went.
11:1 “Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. 2 And it came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn [them] thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top [will reach] into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Now it is very important to note here that this effort was in direct defiance of God’s command for them to “fill the earth.” They were supposed to scatter abroad around the earth but they are now refusing to do so. Noah and his family would have come down from the mountains of Ararat where the ark had landed. Noah then resumed his agricultural activity. Here we find that a large portion of the population had continued east into what is now Iraq, but instead of continuing to spread out they decided to stay together and build a city with a tower that would reach into heaven. They had become proud and were turning against God.
The tower itself would mostly likely have been a Ziggurat which is a pyramid shaped structure. Ruins of them are found in the areas of the middle east in the lands now controlled by Iraq and Iran. This is a large one called Birs Nimroud 8-10 miles southwest of the ruins of Babylon that has existed since before Nebuchadnezzar. Ziggurats and pyramids have been associated with astrology and the worship of the sun, moon and stars from ancient times and the reference to this tower whose “top will reach into heaven” is an indicator that it also had such a purpose. False religion reappeared fairly quickly following the flood.
The leader of this group was Nimrod whom we are told about in Genesis 10:8-12. He was Ham’s grandson through Cush, and he “became a mighty one on the Earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord” (vs.8,9). Apparently his hunting abilities added to his reputation and he became a leader who established a kingdom beginning with the construction of Babel and then surrounding cities on the plains of Shinar. Later he would build cities in other places including Nineveh. His name means “rebellion” and the Jerusalem Targum says of Nimrod, “He was a powerful in hunting and in wickedness before the Lord, for he as a hunter of the sons of men, and he said to them, “Depart from the judgement of the Lord, and adhere to the judgement of Nimrod!”
The Lord’s response is in verses 5-9. “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. 7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad.”
This rebellion by Nimrod and his followers occurred fairly quickly for it is only 100-300 years after the flood, especially if the phrase in Genesis 10:25 about the earth being divided in the days of Peleg is referring to this scattering. Noah and his sons would have even still been alive, yet their children have rejected what they learned and pursued their own way. A common occurrence that still happens today.
God intervened directly into the plans of man to prevent him from building the tower and forcing him to scatter abroad. The ability to communicate allows people to build and improve on each other’s ideas to accomplish much more than they could working on their own. That is still true today and one of the reasons it is important to have a unified language within a nation. The ability of man to come up with ideas and develop technology to carry those ideas out is something we understand because we have seen such great leaps forward in technology in our own time. Man is limited only by the physical laws God has set over the universe and by His intervention to prevent man from going beyond what He will allow. God does not do this out of any kind of fear that man will somehow usurp Him, but out of love for mankind to keep him from doing what would be too harmful.
By confusing the language God not only disrupted their ability to communicate and therefore to work in harmony together, He also forced them to separate from one another because of the conflicts that would immediately arise because of the inability to talk with each other. This was the origin of the many languages that exist today and it was a miracle of both speech and mind because the various languages also reflect various ways of thinking.
Let me add here that though modern linguists may speak of language evolving, they in fact do not evolve for that would require them to be improving. It is the opposite that we find happening. Languages tend to “dumb down,” become less complex and lose clarity of meaning. Words change meaning with usage and so also lose precision in meaning. For example, “thee” and “ye” were clear in speaking about the second person singular and plural respectively while “you” could mean either one. It becomes confusing whether “you” is referring to one individual or a group of people. The various dialects of a language are corrupted forms of the original languages God created here at Babel.
Where did these people scatter? We go back to chapter 10 to find the general areas.
Noah’s Descendants (10:1-32)
The Descendants of Japheth (2-5)
The seven sons of Japheth are listed in verse 2 with the sons of Gomer listed in verse 3 and the sons of Javan listed in verse 4. The areas in which they are known or thought to have scattered to settle are as follows:
(Russia – Georgia)
(Mysia & Phyrgia)
The Descendants of Ham (6-20)
Ham has four sons which are listed in verse 6 with the sons of Cush listed in verses 7-12, the sons of Mizraim in verses 12 & 13, and the sons of Canaan in verses 15-20. Remember that it is only Canaan and his descendants that are cursed, not all the descendants of Ham. The name “Cush” means “black” and several of his descendants settle in Africa. The areas in which the descendants of Ham scattered to settle are as follows:
Nimrod (His cities)
Babel , Erech
Accad , Calneh
The Descendants of Shem (21-31)
Shem has five sons listed in verse 22. The most of important of which is Arpachshad who became the father of Eber through whom the line of Abraham is traced. The areas in which the descendants of Shem scattered to settle are as follows:
From Shem to Abram (11:10-32)
The end of chapter 11 then traces the generations from Shem to Abram through whom God will bring the redeemer. Note how the length of life quickly diminishes following the flood. ( – chart of Genealogy) Note as well that Noah would still have been alive after Abram was born. (Dates are years from Creation)
Name Year Born Year Died Length of life
Noah 1056 2006 950
THE FLOOD 1656
Shem 1551 2156 600
Arpachshad 1658 2096 438
Shelah 1693 2126 433
Eber 1723 2187 464
Peleg 1757 1996 239
Reu 1787 2026 239
Serug 1819 2049 230
Nahor 1849 1997 148
Terah 1878 2083 205
Abraham 1940 2115 175
Decline in longevity – Noah to Jacob
It was a different world following the flood. There were not only environmental changes, but changes in the relationship between man and animals and a new punishment for murder. Man was supposed to multiply and fill the earth, but he quickly fell back into sin and rebellion and refused to do so. God intervened and forced the issue resulting in the various nations and languages that exist today. God also preserved the line through whom the redeemer will come.
We will pick up the story of Abram next week.
Sermon Notes – August 5, 2007
Man’s Continued Rebellion – Genesis 9-11
God sent a flood to destroy mankind because man was _____________
The water for the flood came from the ____________ of the deep & the floodgates of the sky
The flood was a _________________ event (Mountains were covered _________)
Noah spent a total of ___________________ in the ark before being able to depart
Living in a Different World (9:1-19)
After the flood, animals were __________ of man, and they were also now __________ for man
Vegetarianism is neither morally___________ nor a more ________________
1 Timothy 4:1-4 says that advocating abstaining from foods is a doctrine of ______________
Man was restricted from eating __________
God commands capital punishment for murder because man is made in _______________
It is not Ham that is cursed, but _______________, Noah’s youngest grandson at that time.
(“Black” people are descendants of Cush, not Canaan. Those who have tried to use this Biblical curse to justify slavery of black people are absolutely wrong)
Noah lived ___________ after the flood for a total of ___________ years.
The Tower of Babel (11:1-9)
Settling together and building a city was an act of ________ and turning against ________.
A Ziggurat is a pyramid shaped structure associated with __________ and ________ worship
______________ was the leader of these people (Genesis 10:8-12)
Languages do not ___________, they _____________
Noah’s Descendants (10:1-32)
The Descendants of Japheth (1-5)
Gomer’s descendants settled in ___________________
Magog’s descendants settled in ___________________
Madai’s descendants settled in ___________________
Javan’s descendants settled in ___________________
Tubal’s descendants settled in ___________________
Meshech’s descendants settled in ___________________
Tiras’ descendants settled in ___________________
The Descendants of Ham (6-20)
Cush (6-12) means ____________. His descendants settled in _____________
The curse was on Canaan, not Cush.
Mizraim (13-14) – His descendants settled in _______________
Canaan (15-20) was cursed. His descendants settled in _________________
The Descendants of Shem (21-31)
Shem’s descendants settled in _____________________________________
From Shem to Abram (11:10-32)
The genealogy of Shem to Abram is the line of hope & promise.
The life spans in this genealogy drop rapidly. Shem lives 2/3 as long as Noah. The next three generations only ½ as long. The next three generations only 1/4 as long
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help.
Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) Count how many times each of the following people are mentioned: “Noah,” “Shem,” “Ham” and “Japheth.”
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Why did God send a flood? What was the source of the water for the flood? What are some of the reasons we know that the flood was a world-wide event and not a local or regional phenomena? How long was Noah in the ark? What was one of the first things Noah did after he left the ark? How did the relationship between man and animals change after the flood? Do humans have to eat animals? Explain. Why is vegetarianism NOT morally superior or generally a more healthy diet? Explain. Were plants healthier in the pre or post-flood world? Explain. What effect does this have on man’s diet? What is the Biblical reason for capital punishment for murder? What are the specific promises in the Noahic covenant? What is the meaning of the rainbow? What changes in the post-flood world would have contributed to Noah becoming drunk? What was the difference between Ham’s reaction and that of Shem & Japheth to Noah being drunk & naked? Canaan is cursed, not Ham – Why? How has this curse been carried out in history? Black people are NOT under this curse – explain. Why did the people build a city and tower? How did this compare with God’s commands? Who was Nimrod and what was he like? What was the purpose of the tower? About how long after the flood does this occur? Why does God confused their language? Do languages evolve? Explain. Give examples of language degradation that you have experienced / are aware of? Try to figure out and map the areas that each of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Noah moved to and settled? Cush means “black.” Where did the descendants of Cush settle? Graph the length of life of each of those listed in Genesis 11:10-32. What are some reasons that the length of life became so dramatically shorter after the flood.
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