This is the second installment of a five part series on our Summer 2011 curriculum. In the first lesson we saw the introduction of sin into the world. Today we see the continued fruit of that sin in play and also God’s continuing work in His World to bring about our salvation.
“Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth” God said. But they said to one another, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 9:1 and 11:4).
You see Adam will not listen. Those in his family always disobey. So they are banished from the Garden. They are destroyed in the flood. In His mercy God spares Noah and his family from their sinful neighbors; yet even righteous Noah harbors sin in his heart (It is illustrated in the end of chapter 9). Moreover his descendents chose to disobey the word of the Lord to “fill the earth” in favor of “building a city.” They know from their history the consequences of sin – yet they do it. They are stuck in sin. Like a young pup straining at the leash they are “bound” to run away as soon as the leash is loosened.
Yet God does not give up. He “came down to see the city.” He confused their language so that they would have to go their different ways. He made it impossible for them to unite together against Him. He scattered them over the face of the earth. He chose one of them through which He would bring His promised Savior, the seed of the woman, into our world.
God’s promise to Abram is of incredible importance. In the promise God lets it be known that He will bless all the nations of the world through a descendant of Abram. The seed of the woman will also be a descendant of Abraham.
The manner in which Abram was selected is also of great consequence. Abram (who was later renamed Abraham) was not chosen because of his great faith. He was not chosen because of his obedience or because of his relationship with the Lord. He was chosen out of an idol worshipping culture to know the living God. He was chosen to receive God’s great promise – and he did. He believed God and God reckoned it to him as righteousness. Again God did not give His great promises because Abram believed, Abram believed because God promised.
Abram’s (Abraham’s) faith should not be discounted. He received God’s promise in faith. He believed God’s promise of an heir despite his advanced age and the advanced age of his wife. He believed God could raise the dead and was willing to offer up his only son Isaac at God’s command. His confidence in these matters was not related to his ability to reproduce – no, it lay only in God’s ability to provide. (That said his weaknesses and sins are also recorded for us in Holy Scripture so that Jesus and not Abraham may be the person we worship and admire.)
God’s selection of Abraham and his promise to bless all the nations through his offspring is for all who receive it in faith. It is not earned. It is not given because of our goodness. No, He (Jesus – the blessing) is given because of our need. He is given so that we might be saved – so that we might be reborn into the family of God. He is… the seed of the woman, the offspring of Abraham!
At the close of the lesson we have written:
At the tower of Babel, our ancestors defied the Word of God. They united together in rebellion against Him. Like Adam and Eve before them they did not trust and obey the Lord but rather sought to do things their own way. When we do things our own way and disobey the Lord or our parents we demonstrate that we are just like them – sinful and rebellious.
The good news is that God has not chosen to leave us in our sin. Instead God scattered our ancestors throughout the world, and chose one of them, Abram, through which He would bring Jesus into our world. Because of Jesus your sins are forgiven.
Just as we were scattered because of our sin and pride, we are now brought together in righteousness in Jesus.