Genesis 11-12:3 “Man’s Plans vs. God’s Plans”
Genesis 11-12:3 “Man’s Plans vs. God’s Plans”
Sunday 01-07-2001 PM
I. Man Says/God Says
II. Satan’s Will/God’s Will
III. God’s Promises In Christ
Introduction: This morning we began our study of Abraham, the Friend of God, and covered a lot of territory- from the lineage of Shem to ancient Sumer and Ur of the Chaldees, to the call of God and Abram’s response of faith even though he was about 75 years old at the time. We saw the amazing sovereign grace of God who chose Abram from an idolatrous family and saved him. We saw that his obedience may not have been perfect with him taking his father and nephew along with him then he stopped in Haran. The challenge to us is to begin our journey of faith with God as we begin a new millenium, the 21st century. We cannot let our age, condition or apparent fruitlessness hold us back. We must press onward to do whatever God has called us to do.
Now we move deeper into this particular text which is one of the most important texts in the OT. Consequently, I think I will preach from this text again next Sunday AM, there is just so much here! But for tonight we shall do some comparisons between what God says and what man says, what God says and what the devil said. Then we shall conclude with some promises from Christ.
I. Man Says/God Says
Where else in the study of Genesis so far have we seen God speak to specific individuals? Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, and now Abram. When God speaks it is an important event! In this passage let us compare what God says with what men say in Gen.11.
James M. Boice writes, “The beginning of ch.11 is an open door into the mind of the secular city. It shows men and women functioning without God, setting about to make a name for themselves without God and his help. It is an account of what they have done and are planning to do. By contrast Gen 12 tells of God and God’s plans. It tells us what he will do.”
Gen 11:2 “they found a plain in Shinar and settled there” Man the sinner is restless and looking for a home, never satisfied wherever he lives. In 4:14 Cain says, “Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer upon the earth…” The story of man includes so much wandering; migrations that gradually change the ethnicity of whole regions. Entire nations have disappeared due to population changes.
We have a hymn that expresses man’s wanderings, #309 “Lord, I’m Coming Home” I’ve wandered far away from God, Now I’m coming home; The paths of sin too long I’ve trod, Lord, I’m coming home. Ref. Coming home, coming home, Never more to roam, open wide thine arms of love, Lord, I’m coming home.
St Augustine writes in the opening of his book Confessions, “Thou hast made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in Thee.”
But what does God tell Abram? “go to the land I will show you” God is in charge of this earth, God is sovereign. He appoints the kings and the nations; he determines the boundaries of the peoples. God has a plan for Abram and his descendents and it includes land. Man proposes but God disposes.
Our hymnal does not have Sweet Beulah Land but the words go like this:
I’m kind of homesick for a country To which I’ve never been before;
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken, for time won’t matter any more.
Beulah land, beulah land, I am longing for you,
And someday, someday, on thee I’ll stand;
Where my home shall be eternal-
Beulah land, sweet Beulah land.
The world offers us a land that will be polluted, that will dry up and blow away, which will be burned up and consumed or frozen and wasted. God promises a land that flows with milk and honey! Jesus says in John 14 “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”
Gen 11 says “Come, let’s make bricks…” Bricks are of baked clay and mud, just common earth baked hard. Man’s perspective is an earthly perspective that is all about what man can do. While it is true that some of man’s buildings have existed for thousands of years, the men who built them are long since dead and gone.
Bricks make for a fine house, but Jesus says, abide in me. Many of man’s temples still stand but the unmovable foundation of the church is built upon the solid rock of Christ.
#406 The Solid Rock-
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”
2Tim 2:19 “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription,: The Lord knows those who are his, and everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
Gen 11 says “Then they said, Come let us build ourselves a city..” Hebrews 13:14 says “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” Abram would meet Melchizedek from Salem, Jerusalem, and Jerusalem still stands. We are awaiting the new Jerusalem, the city of God. #517 Jerusalem, My happy Home. Rev.21.2 “I saw.. the new Jerusalem”
Augustine wrote The City of God a massive response to the question why did Rome fall to the barbarians. He is stating that our hope lies only in the city of God, the kingdom is not of this world. Our citizenship is in heaven not cities built by man.
Gen 11 continues with, ” a tower that reaches to the heavens” man is trying to reach God in his own proud way. The towers of Ur and of Babylon were efforts at man made religion, to get closer to the gods. All of man’s efforts to strive toward God are related to the original sin of trying to be like God. In Abram’s story however, it is God who reaches down to man, God reveals himself to Abram by his grace. Christmas is all about God becoming man in order to save man. Man is busy trying to save himself but God alone can save. Prov 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”
Gen 11 says “so that we may make a name for ourselves” Man in his hubris seeks to always exalt self, but man is weak flesh and a passing shadow. God says to Abram “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great.” But Abram failed in many ways- still God kept his promise to bless. The name that counts is not your name or mine, it is the name of Jesus.
Hymn #206 Blessed Be the Name.
Gen 11 says “and not be scattered over the face of the earth” God told Abram “To your offspring I will give this land.” Matt. 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” Man scatters but God gathers, Isa.40:11 “He gathers his lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.”
God promised to bless those who blessed Abram and to curse those who cursed him. The nations that have warred against the Jews have not fared so well!
II. Satan’s words in Isa14:12-15
12 “How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
13 You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
15 But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the far reaches of the pit.
Just as Satan tries to exalt himself against God, so too does sinful man, notably at the Tower of Babel. God promised Abram that He would make Abram’s name great, Satan and those who follow him seek to ignore and forget God and exalt self.
III. Christ’s Promises to us
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
14. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’