Summary: This is the 22nd sermon in our series on the Book of Genesis. In this sermon we Abram being called out of Ur.
Don’t Stop at Half-Way (Genesis part 22)
Text: Genesis 11:10-32
By: Ken McKinley
Up to this point, we’ve been shown a picture of what God was doing amongst the nations, and His concern for the nations. But now we are coming to the point where the Bible is going to focus on a specific line. It’s the line of Shem down to the line of Abraham, and then Isaac, and then Jacob, and their descendants.
Now we need to understand something right up front before we go much farther; and that’s this: This line was chosen by God. They were chosen by God not because of anything they did, or because they were more holy or righteous than the descendants of Japheth, or even Ham… if you read through the Bible, you’ll see that the descendants of Shem are just as prone to sin, and just as likely to fall short as the descendants of the others, and people will say, “Pastor Ken; how can you say that the descendants of Shem weren’t more righteous than the descendants of Japheth and Ham? It’s obvious that they were?” And my answer to that is: If they were more righteous, then it’s because God chose them, not why God chose them. They lived more righteous lives because God chose them, and then God revealed His will to them, and then God revealed His Word and His Law to them. Had God chosen the line of Japheth and then revealed His will to that line of people, and His Word and His law to that line, then they would’ve no doubt lived more holy lives. This is why we see the line of Shem serving God, because of God’s sovereign choice. And that’s exactly what happened; God sovereignly chose the line of Shem, down to Abraham, and down to Jacob and his descendants, and its because of this, and because God revealed His will to them, and gave them His Word and His Law, that we see them live more upright lives than the others. In-fact; it’s not even all of Shem’s descendants who are going to receive these things from God… It goes from Shem to Terah, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And so we see that not all of Shem’s descendants are going to end up living the way that the Hebrew people did. Many of Shem’s descendants are going to remain in a polytheistic religion.
Something else you might notice when we read that, was that the life spans of man were decreasing. I mean; you still get some pretty long life spans, but they are getting shorter as we go along. Abraham is going to live for 175 years, his grandson Joseph is going to live for 110 years. When we read about Moses, we’ll see that Moses lives to be 120, but Moses also says that the average life-span in his day is 70 or 80 years. Some folks say that’s because man was becoming more and more sinful, because after all, the wages of sin is death… but I don’t know that man was any more sinful than they were before the flood. Because we know man was pretty bad then… bad enough that God destroyed the entire earth. I personally think we see shorter lifespans because the world had changed and because one of God’s creation mandates was being filled. When I say the world had changed I mean that the flood had drastic effects on our world. I believe that it changed the world, the atmosphere, the environment, habitats, and who knows what else, and those changes meant that man would be incapable of living for such long times. When I say that God’s creation mandate was being filled, I mean that man was finally going into all the earth. God had told both Adam and Noah to fill the earth, and that was finally happening so it was no longer necessary for man to live so long and have 50 kids, and 500 grandkids and 5,000 great grandkids. Again, that’s just speculation on my part so take that as you will.
The point is; lifespans decreased after the flood, so we know that something was going on.
Ok… let me try to stay on track here. In our text we’re introduced to this guy Abram. And when we meet him, we don’t meet him as Abraham the patriarch of the Jewish line… we meet him as Abram, a pagan, living in the land of Ur of the Chaldeans. In-other-words, Abram wasn’t living in Israel. He was living in what is today modern day Iraq… just south of where the Tower of Babel was being built. And he wasn’t living the life of a believer, he was living the life of a pagan.