Genesis 11-15


November 17, 1996


The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings.

That's what the name "genesis" is all about.

It's the beginning of creation.

It's the beginning of man.

It's the beginning of civilization.

It's the beginning of sin.

It's the beginning of redemption.

It's the beginning of faith.

Genesis 11

:1 the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

We've seen all of mankind wiped out by a global flood, all except for one man and his family, Noah.

In Genesis 10, we have a table of descendants from Noah's three sons - Japheth, Ham, and Shem.

We're still in this period of time when all the people are speaking the same language.

:2 Shinar

This is another name for the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, also known as Babylon, in modern Iraq.

:2 they dwelt there.

Who is the "they"?

It would seem that it was a man named "Nimrod" and his descendants.

(Gen 10:8-10 KJV) And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. {9} He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. {10} And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

His name means "rebel", and history tells us that he went on to devise a new religion built around "the mother and child", which many have felt became a great influence on what would become the Roman Catholic church. (see The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop).

:3 slime

chemar - slime, pitch, asphalt, bitumen

:4 whose top may reach unto heaven;

This shows a little of the pride involved here.

:6 now nothing will be restrained from them,

These people were under the impression that they were going to build their way into heaven.

And God was determined for them to get to heaven another way, by atoning for their sins.

Rather than let them get any farther, thinking they were going to achieve something by themselves before God, God puts a stop to it all.

:7 let us go down,

The Godhead is at work.

:7 confound their language ...

And so we have the origin of different languages.

Suddenly, they couldn't understand each other.


Pride creates poor communication

:9 Babel

literally meaning "gate of God" - the people thought they were on their way to heaven.

It's also a play on words, the Hebrew word balal means "confusion", as God confused their languages.

Foreshadowing -

This seems to be the origin of the Babylonian world system, which has had it's hand in man's history.

It will eventually culminate in a world wide apostate religion, and a world wide government, both of which are destroyed in Revelation 17-18.

Some have suggested that the day of Pentecost was a kind of reversal of Babel.

At Pentecost, there was a spiritual unity among God's people.

The believers spoke with strange tongues, but instead they were heard and understood.

Their work and words glorified God, not man.

:10 These are the generations of Shem:

And so we get back to the genealogies, from Shem to Abraham.


If you add these to the genealogies you did back in Genesis 5, you'll notice that the ages of the people are now beginning to decrease.

Noah lived 950 years.

Shem lives 600 years.

His son, Arphaxad lives 438 years ... and so on down to Abram's father, Terah, who lives 205 years.

Skip on to ...

:27 Now these are the generations of Terah:

We now move into the time of Abraham, or Abram as he's called now.

Terah takes his sons Abram, Nahor, and nephew Lot, along with their wives, and moves from Ur of the Chaldees, northward to Haran.

Skip to ...

Genesis 12

:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram

You might think that God speaks to Abram in Haran, but actually the call came back in Ur of the Chaldees (according to Acts 7:2).

God's original call came to Abram to leave the country, and to leave his father's house, but instead of doing that, he stayed with his dad, and it was his dad that took him to Haran.

There's kind of a delay on Abram's part, a delay of obeying God.

:2 I will make of thee a great nation,

Kind of interesting, considering that Abram is childless, and kind of getting a little old, 75 years old.

:3 I will bless them that bless thee,

This is known as the Abrahamic covenant.

It's a promise between God and Abraham, and it's not based on any conditions that Abraham has to meet, like obedience.

It's totally based on God's promise - that's grace.

:3 in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

We see this as a promise concerning the Messiah.

The Messiah will come from the seed of Abraham, and because of the Messiah, all the people of the world, not just the descendants of Abraham, will be blessed.

That's a promise to us Gentiles!

:4 So Abram departed,

Keep in mind, Abram didn't know where he was going.

(Heb 11:8 KJV) By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

This was one of the verses that God used to get us moving in starting the church in Fullerton.

We didn't know what we were doing, or just where the church would be, but we had to go anyway.


Faith is obeying, even if you don't know how.

Abram didn't know where he was going, but he went anyways, in obedience to God.

:5 the souls that they had gotten in Haran;

The servants they had acquired while in Haran.

:6 the place of Sichem,

Or, Shechem.

:6 Canaanite

The descendants of Ham, who would also be in the land when Joshua had to come back to conquer the promised land.

:7 there builded he an altar unto the LORD,

When God speaks to him about the land, Abraham responds in worship, and building an altar.

An altar would be something that would last, something to remind him that God had spoken to him at that place.

It's kind of like writing a note in the margin of your Bible to remind you of a promise that God speaks to your heart.

:8 pitched his tent,

Abraham was just a wandering guy.

(Heb 11:9-10 KJV) By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: {10} For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

He was a stranger in a strange land.

This world is not our home.

Living in a tent is not a bad idea, it should remind us that we're only here for a little while, as we're on our way to our permanent residence, heaven.

:8 Bethel

meaning "house of God"

:8 there he builded an altar

There near Bethel, Abraham builds another altar.

I like the idea that Abraham is a continual worshipper of God.

Wherever he goes, he's building another altar to worship God.


Are you a life-time worshipper of God?

Or is this just another phase you're trying in life?

Are you building altars to worship God, no matter where you find yourself?

:10 Abram went down into Egypt

I don't mean to try and draw out things that aren't there, but I did not read that God told him to go to Egypt.

God HAD told him that the land of Canaan would be his (vs 7)

I think there's trouble up ahead.

:11 I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:

Roughly translated, "you're one foxy looking lady ..."

For sixty-five years old, she's in pretty good shape!

:13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister:

This wasn't all a lie.

Sarai was actually a half-sister to Abram.

:15 Pharaoh

Pharaoh is a title, not a name.

:16 he entreated Abram well for her sake:

In other words, he gave Abram all kinds of presents to win the favor of Abram's "sister".

I imagine that about this time, Abram might be thinking, "Well, this ain't such a bad plan after all ..."

:17 the LORD plagued Pharaoh

After all, God didn't want Pharaoh or his men messing with Sarai, she was Abram's, the mother of the promise!

:18 What is this that thou hast done unto me?

Somehow, Pharaoh found out the truth.


Don't let the unbelievers suffer because of your sin!

We are to be examples to the unbelievers of what it is to walk with God.

We are not to make them stumble.

Genesis 13

:3 even to Bethel,

After this disgrace in Egypt, Abraham goes back to where he was supposed to be, to "the house of God", where he had been before.

It's almost kind of like returning to your first love.

:6 the land was not able to bear them,

Abram and Lot were becoming so prosperous, that the land couldn't support both of them together any more.

It was time to split the family company up.

:10 Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan,

Abram gives Lot the first choice of where to go, and Lot's method of choosing betrays his heart.

Instead of asking God where to go, Lot makes his decision based on what his eyes see.

He looks to the most worldly place around, Sodom and Gomorrah, and makes that the basis for his decision.


Be careful about letting the world make your decisions.

The world is trying to tell you that happiness is based on more money, better cars, bigger houses, etc.

And yet, like Lot, decisions based on these things will only lead to the kinds of problems that Lot is going to get into.

:11 Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan;

In choosing Sodom, Lot is turning his back on Bethel, the "house of God".

:12 pitched his tent toward Sodom.

This is the beginning of big trouble for Lot.


Sin starts with the first step toward temptation.

He's starting the downhill slide.

He doesn't move immediately into Sodom, instead he's just going to get closer for a better look ...

:13 men of Sodom were wicked

In other words, the wickedness didn't start after Lot arrived.

Its already been a known fact.

:15 all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it,

Abram lets Lot have the first choice.

But Abram wins the grand prize.

God's way is to let others go first.

(Mat 6:33 KJV) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

:18 Hebron

This is what much of the problems in Israel are over today, the negotiations over Hebron.

Today it is populated mostly by Palestinians, but there is a little group of a few hundred die-hard Israeli settlers who won't abandon the city.

It is the place of the tombs of the Patriarchs, where Abram will be buried.

Genesis 14

Summarize vs. 1-10

There was a change in the global environment, when a group of four kings from the east unite and attack the cities of the Jordan valley, including the city of Sodom.

:11 they took all the goods of Sodom

Their prize was to take everything from the cities.

:12 they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom,

What is Lot doing in Sodom?

I thought he was just living near Sodom?

If you play with fire, you're going to get burned.

:16 he brought back all the goods,

Rescued by uncle Abram.

:18 Melchizedek king of Salem

Melchizedek = King of Righteousness

Salem = "peace"

It is believed that this is ancient Jerusalem.

This is the mystery man of the Old Testament.

We believe He is none other than an appearance of Jesus Christ (for extra credit, read Hebrews 7)

Note what he brings to Abram - bread and wine - interesting!

He is both a king, and a priest!

David says that the Messiah would be a priest like Melchizedek:

Ps 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (AV)

Jesus was our great High Priest, but not from the line of Aaron, because Jesus was of the tribe of Judah.

:19 he blessed him,

The writer of Hebrews says that the greater person always blesses the lesser person.

And hence, we see that Abram considered Melchizedek to be greater than he was.

:20 he gave him tithes of all.

Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the spoil.

The writer of Hebrews says that this shows the Melchizedek priesthood to be greater than the Levitical priesthood, since Levi was still unborn, in the genes of his ancestor, Abram, when the tithes were paid.

:23 lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

Abram didn't want anyone saying that the reason he was rich was because of the king of Sodom.

Abram didn't want anything to do with Sodom.

When you take money from someone, there is an indebtedness that occurs. Some of these congressmen who take large donations from interested corporations are fooling themselves if they think they can be impartial towards them.

HEB 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.

Pastor Chuck told how one day a man came into his office during the time when they had recently purchased their property, and offered to give Chuck a million dollars. Chuck turned him down, because he didn't want it said that this particular man built the church, he wanted Jesus to build the church.

Abram wanted his wealth and possession to come from God.

Genesis 15

:1 I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Abram says "no" to the riches of the world.

And God promises to be his great reward.

:6 he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

This becomes the foundation of our understand of being justified by faith.

This verse is VERY important, quoted at least three times:

ROM 4:3; GAL 3:6; JAM 2:23

:8 whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

:9-12 Summarize

Abraham wants to know how he can know whether or not God's will is for him to have a son.

God tells him to prepare a sacrifice.


Understanding God's will is tied to sacrifice.

ROM 12:1-2 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, {which is} your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

If you want to know God's will for your life, it starts by giving YOURSELF to Him as a living sacrifice.

:13 know for a surety

God then goes on to give Abram an amazing prophecy

1. They would serve in a foreign land for 400 years (a round number). (vs.13)

EXO 12:40 Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.

2. God will judge the nation, they shall come out with possessions. (vs.14)

That's what happened in Exodus...

3. Abram would die in peace at a good old age. (vs.15)

GEN 25:7-8 And these are all the years of Abraham's life that he lived, one hundred and seventy-five years. 8 And Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied {with life;} and he was gathered to his people.

4. They would return, iniquity of Amorite not yet complete...

Gives reason why Israel was to wipe out Amorites...they wouldn't repent and turn back to God...His patience ran out...

5. God gave land from Nile to Euphrates to Abraham.

Lesson: God Keeps His Promises!!!