Old Testament: Genesis 11:1-3:4
Genesis 11:1-13:4 Babbling On And On
In Chapter 11, the Tower of Babel is explained. Everyone spoke the same language and used the very same words (v. 1). Ryrie points out that the theory of evolution can not explain how that could happen. The problem was that they were worshipping false gods, probably involving astrology. That is why they erected a huge tower, most likely to study the stars. It also became a central area encouraging all the population to pool in the same region rather than scattering as God had commanded (cf. Gen. 9:1).
The Lord Himself came down to survey the situation resulting in the Trinity (note use of the plural in v. 7) confusing their language. Everyone scattered throughout the world as God had intended. Now there are more than 3,000 languages (Ryrie), not including like “southern” y’all or even “eesten” language like near New Yook.
They called the place, Babel, which sounded like the word for “confuse” in Hebrew. The Babylonians preferred the name, “gate of God.” Now when people say things that just sound like garble, we say they are babbling. It is an onomatopoeia since it sounds like what people are hearing.
The rest of the chapter is a selective genealogy linking Abraham to Shem showing that Abraham was a Semite (vv. 10-32).
Abram means “exalted father” though his name was later changed in chapter 17 (v. 5) to Abraham which means “father of a multitude.” He was born in 2165 B.C.
In Chapter 12, we encounter the beginning of the story of Abraham, the father of the Jews. Yahweh tells him to leave his home country (v. 1) and he will be blessed, becoming a great nation (v. 2). Those who bless Abraham will be blessed by God and those who harm him will be cursed (v. 3) We have seen that and the promise continues today. The Jews have been a blessing to the world (v. 3c). The Bible was written almost exclusively by Jews. Salvation and the blessing of God starts and ends with them.
Abram left with his wife, Sarai, and his nephew, Lot, with everything they owned (vv. 4-5). The Lord appeared to him in Shechem and told him that the land they were standing on would belong to his descendants (v. 7). There was a famine in that area, so Abram took his wife, Sarai, and ventured toward Egypt (v. 10). Sarai was really hot so Abram was afraid some foreign dignitary would off him and take her (vv. 11-12). He convinced her to say she was his sister which was half true, she was a half-sister (cf. Gen. 20:12). Sure enough, Pharaoh got word of Sarai’s hotness and took her in and gave her “brother,” Abram, a lot of animals and servants since he liked her so much (v. 16).
The Lord struck Pharaoh with disease, possibly the type that wouldn’t allow the king to consummate his relationship with Sarai (v. 17). Now Pharaoh was hot, asking why Abram didn’t tell him the truth (v. 18). He kicked them both out of his jurisdiction (vv. 19-20).
Notice how God kept Sarai safe as she submitted to her husband’s wishes (cf. 1 Pet. 3:5 -6). Abram sure didn’t deserve such grace!
In Chapter 13: 1 -4, Abraham left Egypt and settled in the Negev, the area we would now know as southern Israel. Negev means “south” in Hebrew.
New Testament: Matthew 5:1-26
Matthew 5:1-26 Mounting Up For A Great Sermon
One of the most famous sections of Scripture is Mt. 5-7 called the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus preaches a famous sermon called the Sermon on the Mount. It was called that because it was a sermon and he preached it on a mount. It begins in your reading today and won’t end for four more days. Here’s what’s really cool about this sermon: a lot of people in Jesus’ day thought they were pretty hip and spiritual so in this sermon, if they’re paying attention, he rips them to shreds showing how messed up they really were.
y wife says that when I speak, I open my mouth and the words just come out. They don’t really. I have to prepare a lot but it must’ve seemed to Jesus’ disciples that when Jesus opened His mouth that the words just came out (v. 2).
Jesus begins by pronouncing blessings on those whom the religious leaders would not have thought blessed (vv. 3-12). Jesus was describing His kingdom which He would’ve ushered in if the Jews had accepted Him. His kingdom would have the effect of turning the world upside down. The Jews rejected His kingship (cf. Jn. 19:15) but we will find as we read through the Bible that the promise to the Jews will be fulfilled before we finish reading the book of Revelation.
Everyone who was despised or in despair in society was promised a blessing by Christ. Those who were “poor in spirit,” mourning, gentle, longing for righteousness, merciful, “pure in heart,” peacemakers, and the persecuted are all promised God’s favor (vv. 3-12). These people also go by another name, they are called Jesus’ followers or disciples.
These disciples are to stay the decay of the world by being salt and expose evil by being light (vv. 13-16). Jesus makes it clear that He didn’t come to do away with the law of Moses but fulfill all the requirements of the law (vv. 17 -19). The people would have thought that the religious leaders were the most righteous people in the world. They must have been shocked to find out that they needed to be more righteous than their leaders to make it into Heaven (v. 20).
Jesus is trying to show everyone their need for Him. As his step-brother put it years later, if anyone failed to keep even the smallest point of the law, they would not make it to Heaven (Ja.2: 10). Jesus was trying to show their need for Him. It was only through Him and His righteousness that they would be able to enter Heaven (Jn. 14: 6; Acts 4: 12). Jesus was the only One who could fulfill the law and by believing in Him they would inherit His righteousness (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21).
Jesus goes on to drive His point home. He contrasts what they had heard from their religious leaders but then raises the bar on what they had said. He is trying to show that righteousness starts within us. Later Paul will explain that we have a new nature, needed to fulfill God’s righteousness by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10).
Jesus preached that they had been told not to murder but He said they shouldn’t even be angry with anyone else (vv. 21-22a). Even insulting someone else should result in eternal condemnation (v. 22b). If anyone is offering something to God in the Temple and remembers that another person has a grudge, he should leave his offering at the altar and go and be reconciled to his friend (vv. 23-24). Then it’d be OK to bring his offering (v. 24). It’s always best to settle out of court or God might make sure you spend time in prison (vv. 25-26).