10 These are the records of the generations of Shem. Shem was one hundred years old, and [a]became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood; 11 and Shem lived five hundred years after he became the father of Arpachshad, and he had other sons and daughters.
12 Arpachshad lived thirty-five years, and became the father of Shelah; 13 and Arpachshad lived four hundred and three years after he became the father of Shelah, and he had other sons and daughters.
14 Shelah lived thirty years, and became the father of Eber; 15 and Shelah lived four hundred and three years after he became the father of Eber, and he had other sons and daughters.
16 Eber lived thirty-four years, and became the father of Peleg; 17 and Eber lived four hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Peleg, and he had other sons and daughters.
18 Peleg lived thirty years, and became the father of Reu; 19 and Peleg lived two hundred and nine years after he became the father of Reu, and he had other sons and daughters.
20 Reu lived thirty-two years, and became the father of Serug; 21 and Reu lived two hundred and seven years after he became the father of Serug, and he had other sons and daughters.
22 Serug lived thirty years, and became the father of Nahor; 23 and Serug lived two hundred years after he became the father of Nahor, and he had other sons and daughters.
24 Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and became the father of Terah; 25 and Nahor lived one hundred and nineteen years after he became the father of Terah, and he had other sons and daughters.
26 Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.
27 Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. 28 Haran died [b]in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah [c]and Iscah. 30 Sarai was barren; she had no child.
31 Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out [d]together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and [e]settled there. 32 The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
OK, so here we have another lovely genealogy. We've seen the generations from Adam to Noah, and then everyone but Noah's family was wiped out, so the genealogy starts fresh with the descendants of Noah. We had the genealogy the other day of the descendants who were the Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Philistines, and so on. Today's genealogy is the ancestry of Jesus. Or, more specifically, the ancestry of Abram, who became Abraham, who was the father of the Israelites, whence came Jesus. Do you follow? So we had the pagan genealogy, and now we have the people of God, the Israelites, from where the hope of the world came, the fulfillment promise that was made way back in chapter 2 about how Satan would be crushed. That was the first prophesy about Jesus. We have the pagan world, but also the promise. MacArthur says the following in his sermon on this passage:
So in the midst of the curse, in the midst of the disaster and the rebellion and the sin and the fallenness, there was promise. Paganism flourished and developed. Really it was launched, I suppose we could say, by Cain. It was subsequently developed fully into a world in which God was so displeased that He had to drown it. But, at the same time, there was also the promise. The seed of a woman, the virgin-born Son, would someday come and crush Satan's head.
That's the first prophesy in the Bible. It is the first time that the great reality that "where sin abounds, grace much more abounds" can be applied. So even before God banished Adam and Eve, even before He sent them out of the garden for their paganism, He gave them a promise, that paradise could be regained forever. And when the whole world plunged into unrestrained evil and God had to drown the whole world, there were eight who received the promise. And from those eight, a new world began.
So, as we come to this genealogy, I want us to see here, and I think you'll see it, this continual contrast between paganism and promise. I think formal pagan religion was sort of launched at Babel. Then the religion that was formalized at Babel in the ziggurat, which was a form of pagan worship probably identified with astrology, when the people were scattered all over the world, they took their religion with them.
And by Abram's time, the whole world was idolatrous. Well, they had been before they were scattered, and they were no less idolatrous after the scattering. And, by the way, they still are today. But there was at least one true worshipper.
So the Babel event was judgment, but it was followed, again, by hope. Now, this genealogy that we're going to look at, verse 10, begins two years after the 40-day flood. And, interestingly enough, you're not going to find anything about death in this genealogy. You go back to the genealogy of chapter 5, and he died, and he died, and he died, and he died, and he died, and he died, and he died. It's a genealogy of death. And it's all moving inexorably toward this terrible massacre in the flood.
But this is a genealogy of life. It says, "He lived these many years, he lived this many years, he lived this many years, he lived, he lived, he lived, he lived, he lived." And it really points out the different mode. Prior to the flood, everything was moving toward this disastrous death. After the flood, God said He would never do that again. Everything was marked out by life. It indicates that what was prevailing before the flood was death, judgment. What was prevailing after the flood was promise, promise, promise.
So we come to this genealogy, which goes from Shem right on down to Abram. The genealogy in chapter 10 follows one son of Eber by the name of Joktan. But the genealogy in chapter 11 follows a different son of Eber, Eber's son, Peleg, because he's the line to Abram. This is the elect line, the covenant line. And it reminds us again that God is sovereignly controlling, moving history, people, events to fulfill His will. So here is the line of the promised seed.
Anyone else find this comforting? Happy Thursday!
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Genesis 12