PATHS In Bible Chapters

Genesis 11
Theme: Lord Over All
Key Text: Verse 9


            The one message of this chapter is God’s absolute authority! He is the universal Monarch! He reigns in heaven! He reigns in earth! He reigns in hell! His sovereign administration rules and over-rules in every sphere! He is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). As “Lord over all” (Rom. 10:12), He takes the selfish strategies of men and utilizes them for His own good pleasure. With the Psalmist, let us say unto Him, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee” (Psa. 76:10).


1. A Severe Punishment
            Building a giant tower was a defiant move to substitute man’s society for God’s order. These people, united in tongue, race, and purpose, even achieved a measure of success (see 11:1-3). However, this was the work of man’s own hands, aimed at making himself “a name” (11:4)–a procedure that was doomed from its conception! The “Lord over all” brought judgment (11:5) by confounding their language (11:6,7) and scattering the people (11:8). And, the tower, called “Babel” (11:9), or confusion, became an unfinished memorial to human folly.


2. A Special Posterity
            Using time to His own advantage in accomplishing His purposes, God worked through several generations to bring “the generations of Shem” (11:10-26) to the forefront of human history. Although the knowledge of the true God was preserved, and the revelation of the Holy Scriptures was given through them, this chosen race is singled out as the privileged channel through which the Promised Seed (see Gen. 3:15), the “Son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1), would come. Thus, this recurring genealogy (see 10:21-31) only prepares the way for God’s dealings with Abraham.


3. A Sovereign Plan
            Without question, a chosen race was at the heart of God’s earthly operations. Furthermore, a particular family in that race had a role in His plan. Here, we are introduced to Abraham’s immediate family: his father, “Terah” (11:25), his brothers, “Nahor, and Haran” (11:26, 27), his nephew, “Lot” (11:27), and his wife, “Sarai” (11:29,  30). We are also confronted with the course God selected for the patriarch. He and his family “went forth . . . from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan” (11:31).


            When I was a boy, my mother would use a sieve-like device in the kitchen to sift the flour. When the flour-mixture was shaken on top, the rougher particles were separated, and the finer ones passed on through the perforations. In a similar fashion, the Lord, using time as a gigantic sieve to accomplish His purposes, sifts through generation after generation, in judgment and in mercy, calling out a people for His name.