Genesis in 3D: Downfall  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:46
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God dispersed the people for their own good, then later He united the peoples out of His mercy.

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Even good people can make poor choices and “go off the rails”. One of the proofs that supports the historical validity of the Bible is that its heroes (other than Jesus) are shown with their warts, shortcomings, and failures. If it were a manmade piece of literature, it would tend to only reflect the favorable stories.
The software I use for Bible Study has a forum where users can help each other with questions. One user wanted input from the variety of denominations about what a person needs to be saved. Some denominations says it is up to “the church” to dispense salvation, some claimed water baptism is necessary, other claimed various combinations of belief, confession, repentance and calling on the Lord. One contributor this week claimed that the first question was faulty because “nobody needs to be saved”. Because man is basically good and only an evil god would hold man accountable for the way he was made. This anonymous user is 180 degrees WRONG! The reason I chose to do this series in Genesis is to help us be able to point to the Bible’s examples to prove that while God DESIGNED a perfect world, man chose a DETOUR that has been an historic DOWNFALL. Man is NOT basically good. He is basically selfish.
We need this message from the Bible, because it is not one we hear in popular media or society as a whole.
Noah is just one example. After spending 100 years in obedience to God building an Ark, experiencing the protection of God for a year inside the Ark, worshipping God with sacrifices as he exits the Ark, a few years later (it takes time to plant a vineyard, grow it until it produces grapes, allow the wine of the grapes to ferment.), Noah is discretely described as drunk and committing some sexual escapade. Somewhere along the line Noah exchanged the joy of fellowship with God for temporary happiness of worldly desires.
Transition: Today’s 3 chapters reveal how even righteous Noah got swept up into the downfall of humanity. The record of Noah’s descendants connects us to Abraham whom God chooses to be distinct from the world. Next week, Lord willing, we will look at the call of Abraham which concludes our study of ancient humanity. In today’s text we find…

A “Party” lifestyle yields Consequences (9:21-27)

The pleasure of Noah’s worship and God’s provision (8:20-21) becomes earthly and Noah turns to intoxication and sexuality as a source of pleasure.
Noah had 3 sons: 1 chose to mock his father’s debauchery. When a people glories in that which is raunchy it leads to their demise. When we make little of sexual sin, it grows. When it grows it enslaves. (I’m convinced this is why the curse on Canaan instead of Ham—the generations will cause this lite attitude toward sexual sin to grow and spread so that the Canaanites by the time of the conquest will be examples of all sorts of pagan behaviors.
If this event happened today, Ham is the one who would have seen the event and pulled out his cell phone so he could capture and post the video to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Tik ToK for all to see. Japheth and Shem are the ones who would be moved by compassion and privately try to help Noah without drawing attention to him or themselves.
Note: there was an older thought that the curse was somehow connected to the dark skin of Africans and that there was biblical support for their enslavement. But the curse is NOT on Ham, it is on the Canaanites. And this enslavement is a forecast of the days following the Exodus when the descendants of Abraham would take possession of the Promised Land that was occupied by the Canaanites. This is about Canaanite sexual ethic, not African skin color!
King David (hundreds of years later) will observe the collapse of Saul’s kingdom and exclaim, “O how the mighty have fallen”
On the contrary Solomon (the son born to Bathsheba after the son conceived out of wedlock died) writes in
Proverbs 14:34 ESV:2016
34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

Blessing and Curses is a theme throughout the Pentateuch

Adam/Eve (ch 3)
Cain/Able (ch 4)
Cain’s descendants (ch 4) / Seth’s descendants (ch 5)
Those in the Ark / those outside the Ark (ch 6-8)
Noah as a worshipper (8:20) / Noah as drunkard (9:20)
Notice that Ham saw and told, but Ham’s son is the one who is cursed. Commentators and Jewish traditions read many different ideas into the word saw, but I see a danger in the choice to tell. Some things are better left unspoken. You don’t need to say everything you know in order to be honest. I think Ham had an appetite for the dark, and that darkness got multiplied in his sons.

Your decisions have consequences. (1 Cor 2:14; 3:1)

1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV:2016
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Natural man - never heard or responded to the invitation to trust Christ.
Placing your trust in the Gospel makes you a new creation with a new destination, but we still have the old nature until we are set free from our human bodies.
1 Corinthians 3:1 ESV:2016
1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
1 Cor 3:1 divides those who are saved into 2 groups. I believe that any moment of any day you may move from one group to the other. Right now you may the yielding to the Spirit’s control of your life, and 30 seconds from now you may be making selfish decisions. The person next to you may be exactly opposite.
Carnal man - made a “decision for Christ” but still lives for self (trusts Christ for Heaven, but not for here)
Spiritual man - sets his affections on the things of God.
Transition: if you want to experience blessing, trust Christ and surrender to the Spirit’s promptings. If you wish to experience curses, make selfish choices. As God commanded Noah’s sons to fill the earth, their families dispersed in the next verses.

Noah’s Sons Moved in 3 directions (9:28-10:32)

This table of Nations is different from Gen 4-5 & Gen 11. This one is a horizontal survey of the nations in relation to battles the Israelites would fight.

Japheth headed north (Turks, Greeks, Europeans) (10:2) Jews would not face them in battle except for prophecy in Ezekiel 38 [end times]

Ham headed East and South in Mesopotamia (10:6)

Shem headed to Northern elevations between Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (10:21)

Transition: As the family tree is spreading, one family begins to think for themselves and chooses to disobey God’s instruction.

God Confuses & Calls According to His Plan

Human ingenuity is foiled (11:1-9)

Comparing 10:5 with 11:1 we know that chapter 11 happens before the spread of 10 is complete.
The people refuse to scatter (10:4) as God instructed in 9:1
The people thought their reputation (a name for ourselves) could accomplish more than obedience to God.
Tower make with bricks (manmade) not stones (God made). Babylonian history speaks of the Ziggurat tower made by baked bricks with the name of the Babylonian god Marduk written on every brick which appeared to top in the heavens. On top of this “mountain” was a sanctuary for their false god.
This kind of reminds me of how the WTC Towers were brought down by America’s enemies. In the eyes of the world, Western power was depicted in the height of the towers, and our enemies wanted to communicate that the towers were not as impressive as many thought.
4. Rather than destroy (as God just promised not to do with flood), God determines to confuse them!
· Yahweh “there confused” (sham balal) the languages, creating a wordplay with calling “its name Babel” (shemah babel). [i]
Sometimes “confusion” has to happen so that we can value the positive when we dream of peace.
I long for a day when there is no more pain and every tear is wiped away, but right here and right now we have too many reminders of painful negative racial tension. It all started because humanity got “too big for his britches” and tried to find success apart from God.
Because of preparations for our Gospel concert, I didn’t’ learn of the Buffalo massacre until after last Sunday’s service. It became just the latest demonstration of how racial confusion causes conflict within humanity.
The scars from God’s confusion of the peoples, and all our racial tensions are painful reminders that we need to seek God outside of, and beyond, ourselves!

A Sovereign Plan is launched (11:10-26)

Reminder: “sovereign” means God has the right and ability to intervene whenever and however He chooses.
Just as Gen 5 connected Adam with Noah, the 2nd part of chapter 11 connects Noah with Abraham who becomes the patriarch of the peoples who received the Torah. We will see next week how all peoples of the world (Jew and Gentile) are blessed through Abraham.
Genesis 5-11 (this series since February) tells how the Jewish people find themselves in God’s plan.
Genesis 1- Revelation 21 (this series and the next) tells how Humanity (both Jew and Gentile) relate to God’s Plan
When man becomes impressed with himself it leads to confusion, division and conflict. When man surrenders to Christ, all peoples of the world find a common home.

God’s Plan to bring Peace out of Confusion (Gen 12:3, Acts 3:25)

Genesis 12:3 ESV:2016
3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Acts 3:25 ESV:2016
25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’
The value to us in knowing what these chapters say is that we can approach our neighbors with truth. The truth isn’t that he is more or less wicked that you are. The truth is that ALL of us are selfish, and God has made a way for ALL of us to receive peace in a confused world! The secret is not in any goodness that I may have, the Gospel is that God loves each enough to provide a way for you and for any person you encounter.
The offspring of Abraham who was promised in Gen 12 is Jesus.
Matthew 1:21 ESV:2016
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Pentecost undoes Babel (Acts 2:5-11)

Acts 2:5–11 (ESV) — Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And at [The Holy Spirit enabled speech] the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 11both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
Acts 2:5–11 (ESV:2016)
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? [9 & 10 list countries from all over the known world], 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
Transition: Gen 9-11 is NOT only a description of disobedience and dispersal. It sets the stage for deliverance that is only available in Jesus, the Christ.


"Olly olly oxen free" is a catchphrase used in children's games such as hide and seek, capture the flag, and kick the can to indicate that players who are hiding can come out into the open without losing the game; or, that the game is entirely over. (I didn’t understand the oxen reference so we used “Olly, olly, in come free”) The origin of the phrase is unknown. The Dictionary of American Regional English says the phrase may be derived from all ye, all ye outs in free; in other words, all who are out may come in without penalty.[2]
Just as in these children’s games there was a time that God dispersed the people (Gen 9-11) and there was a later time when He united the peoples (at the cross of Calvary).
Today’s final song demands a response if you are going to honestly sing these words. 1) If you have never trusted Jesus for salvation, you can say “yes” to Him today! 2) If you have already been saved, you can say “yes” to spreading the good news to those who need to hear!
Song of Response #422.... “I’ll Go Where You Want
Benediction: Jude 24–25 (ESV) —Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
[i] Douglas Mangum, Miles Custis, and Wendy Widder, Genesis 1–11, Lexham Research Commentaries (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), Ge 11:1–32.
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