Genesis 11* One language in the world, The building of Babel. (1-4) Theconfusion of tongues, The builders of Babel dispersed. (5-9) Thedescendants of Shem. (10-26) Terah, father of Abram, grandfatherof Lot, they remove to Haran. (27-32)1-4 How soon men forget the most tremendous judgments, and goback to their former crimes! Though the desolations of thedeluge were before their eyes, though they sprang from the stockof righteous Noah, yet even during his life-time, wickednessincreases exceedingly. Nothing but the sanctifying grace of theHoly Spirit can remove the sinful lusts of the human will, andthe depravity of the human heart. God's purpose was, thatmankind should form many nations, and people all lands. Incontempt of the Divine will, and against the counsel of Noah,the bulk of mankind united to build a city and a tower toprevent their separating. Idolatry was begun, and Babel becameone of its chief seats. They made one another more daring andresolute. Let us learn to provoke one another to love and togood works, as sinners stir up and encourage one another towicked works. 5-9 Here is an expression after the manner of men; The Lordcame down to see the city. God is just and fair in all he doesagainst sin and sinners, and condemns none unheard. Pious Eberis not found among this ungodly crew; for he and his are calledthe children of God; their souls joined not themselves to theassembly of these children of men. God suffered them to go onsome way, that the works of their hands, from which theypromised themselves lasting honour, might turn to their lastingreproach. God has wise and holy ends, in allowing the enemies ofhis glory to carry on their wicked projects a great way, and toprosper long. Observe the wisdom and mercy of God, in themethods taken for defeating this undertaking. And the mercy ofGod in not making the penalty equal to the offence; for he dealsnot with us according to our sins. The wisdom of God, in fixingupon a sure way to stop these proceedings. If they could notunderstand one another, they could not help one another; thiswould take them off from their building. God has various means,and effectual ones, to baffle and defeat the projects of proudmen that set themselves against him, and particularly he dividesthem among themselves. Notwithstanding their union and obstinacyGod was above them; for who ever hardened his heart against him,and prospered? Their language was confounded. We all suffer byit to this day: in all the pains and trouble used to learn thelanguages we have occasion for, we suffer for the rebellion ofour ancestors at Babel. Nay, and those unhappy disputes, whichare strifes of words, and arise from misunderstanding oneanother's words, for aught we know, are owing to this confusionof tongues. They left off to build the city. The confusion oftheir tongues not only unfitted them for helping one another,but they saw the hand of the Lord gone out against them. It iswisdom to leave off that which we see God fights against. God isable to blast and bring to nought all the devices and designs ofBabel-builders: there is no wisdom nor counsel against the Lord.The builders departed according to their families, and thetongue they spake, to the countries and places allotted to them.The children of men never did, nor ever will, come all togetheragain, till the great day, when the Son of man shall sit uponthe throne of his glory, and all nations shall be gatheredbefore him. 10-26 Here is a genealogy, or list of names, ending in Abram,the friend of God, and thus leading towards Christ, the promisedSeed, who was the son of Abram. Nothing is left upon record buttheir names and ages; the Holy Ghost seeming to hasten throughthem to the history of Abram. How little do we know of thosethat are gone before us in this world, even of those that livedin the same places where we live, as we likewise know little ofthose who now live in distant places! We have enough to do tomind our own work. When the earth began to be peopled, men'slives began to shorten; this was the wise disposal ofProvidence. 27-32 Here begins the story of Abram, whose name is famous inboth Testaments. Even the children of Eber had becomeworshippers of false gods. Those who are through grace, heirs ofthe land of promise, ought to remember what was the land oftheir birth; what was their corrupt and sinful state by nature.Abram's brethren were, Nahor, out of whose family both Isaac andJacob had their wives; and Haran, the father of Lot, who diedbefore his father. Children cannot be sure that they shalloutlive their parents. Haran died in Ur, before the happyremoval of the family out of that idolatrous country. Itconcerns us to hasten out of our natural state, lest deathsurprise us in it. We here read of Abram's departure out of Urof the Chaldees, with his father Terah, his nephew Lot, and therest of his family, in obedience to the call of God. Thischapter leaves them about mid-way between Ur and Canaan, wherethey dwelt till Terah's death. Many reach to Charran, and yetfall short of Canaan; they are not far from the kingdom of God,and yet never come thither.
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