Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Year: Gen 11-14 for Jan 4

As readers, we are in tremendous tension here. God's judgment during Noah's time did not change his covenant announcement that "the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth" (8:21). If God is not going to destroy man by flood, and man's intentions are evil from youth, how is God going to accomplish good among men?

We get the idea in chapter 11, that man is not the only agent, but that God is still around and active! The tower of Babel story tells what people (11:2; 11:5), set themselves to do: stay together, and make an name for themselves and accomplish anything they want (11:4, 11:6). But God breaks up this combination of evil intentions and getting together to accomplish them.

In chapter 12, we see that God deals with one person again, just as with Noah. This time, however, God does something further than spare a person. He sets up the future for that person, and the affairs of that person. This future will affect the whole world: "in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (12:3).

So perhaps the readers expect a hero, like Nimrod, "the first on earth to be a mighty man" (10:8). What we read about is a blunderer (12:18-20), even conniver (12:12-13), having trouble with his family over posessions (13:7-8), needing direction (13:9-17), but who keeps getting contacted by God (12:1; 12:7), trying to settle down, only just when he does so (13:12), God contacts him again and tells him to travel (13:17). He keeps getting these promises from God (12:1-3,7; 13:13-16, 14:19-20), and the altars and gifts he gives to God seem to come after the promises, not the promises after the altars (12:8; 13:4; 13:18; 14:20)!

No comments:


Blog Archive