How Would God Rescue Us? In the last lesson, we saw the requirements to approach God. A sinless substitute had to die and shed its blood. We saw the animal sacrifices that covered sin, but no way to remove sin existed. Sin had continued to increase from Cain's murder of Abel to the violence that filled the world. God destroyed the world by flood, preserving Noah's family and the animal kingdom in a huge barge called the Ark. During the flood, millions of dead animals were fossilized and buried under thick sediment. After the flood, the climate and God's dealing with humanity changed considerably. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japeth. From those three sons, all the races of the earth are descended. God told Noah and his children to scatter and replenish the earth. Disobedience Always Brings Judgment About 130 years after the flood, while Noah was still alive, humanity had rapidly reproduced and traveled large distances. Upon finding the area known as Mesopotamia, most humans gathered in the plains of Babylon. Instead of spreading out and replenishing the earth as God commanded, they had a new goal: "And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:1-4). Disobedience to God is always wrong and always brings punishment, sometimes sooner than later. God stopped this: "And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth" (Genesis 11:5-9). Here begins all of the languages and races on earth. The people gathered with others they could understand and the tower project fell into ruin. As people gathered into groups, the gene pool in each group narrowed. This led to specific racial characteristics. Again, sin brings a curse. Ever since this time, humanity has tried to find a way to break the language barrier. Also, the sinful nature of humans leads us to distrust or even hate those whom we don't understand. Racial strife, ethnic violence, discrimination, and persecution are only possible because of this sin at Babel. Today, when we sin and yield to prejudice we carry on this curse. The Lineage of The Savior Although God had now given humanity two chances to start over and dedicate themselves to obedience, we still disobeyed. Obviously, humanity needs serious help. What about God's plan from the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:15? Apparently a seed (descendant) of the woman would one day "bruise" the serpent's head. The idea here is to "crush" or "conquer" the serpent. So, a human would crush a snake? No. A human would defeat Satan, who lured humanity into sin. The human who would do this must come from some family. And so, God begins to narrow down the lineage from which the Savior would come. From Genesis chapter 12 forward, God narrows the focus of His account of human history. Although the rest of humanity continually appears in His history, the Bible now focuses on the nation God used to raise up the Savior of Mankind. God Calls Abraham About 330 years after the flood, God called one of Shem's descendents. Abram was a city dweller in Ur of the Chaldees. Ur was located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present day Kuwait or Iraq. "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:1-3). Following God's command, Abraham moves his family to the land of Canaan. God promised to bless all the families of the earth through Abram. Genesis chapters 12-17 details some of Abram's life including his devotion to God. Although Abram sinned, he turned from his sin (repented) and always went back to obeying God. In Genesis 17, God reveals more of His plan for Abram's family and changes his name to Abraham. "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God" (Genesis 17:1-8). Here God gives the land of Canaan, modern day Israel, to Abraham and his descendents. However, Abraham had no children. His wife, Sarah, was infertile. In Genesis 16, Abraham tried his own plan to solve that by fathering a child with Sarah's servant. The boy that resulted was named Ishmael and became the father of the Arab families. But, God promised in Genesis 18 that Sarah would bear him a son. And she did, "And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him" (Genesis 21:1-2). The boy's name was Isaac. He was Abraham and Sarah's only child from which God had promised to make a mighty nation. Abraham's Obedience Just as God gave Adam and Eve a command, God gave Abraham a command. This one seems much harsher: "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of" (Genesis 22:1-2). God asks Abraham to do the horribly impossible, to kill Isaac as an offering to Him. How could a righteous, holy, just, and good God ask him to do this? How would sinful Abraham killing his sinful son accomplish any part of mankind's forgiveness for sin? Abraham probably didn't understand why God asked him to do this. But, Abraham knew that God is holy, righteous, just, and good. So he knew that God would not ask him to do anything wrong. Remember, faith is trusting what you cannot see. Abraham exercised faith in God. "And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together" (Genesis 22:6). Understandably, Isaac had a few questions: "And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" (Genesis 22:7). Abraham trusted that God would work this situation out: "And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together" (Genesis 22:8). Certainly, Abraham was trusting God to provide a substitute for his son. In so speaking, he also uttered prophecy. For one day, the perfect substitute would come to take away the sins of the world. That substitute would be God Himself who would take on human flesh and die to save His creation. Abraham continued to obey, though it meant killing his son: "And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son" (Genesis 22:9-10). God sees that Abraham trusts Him no matter what: "And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me" (Genesis 22:11-12). Obedience always brings blessing. God does not ask us to do anything He will not enable us to do. Obeying God is always the right choice, even when we're not sure how it will work out. God then provides the sacrifice that Abraham had trusted Him to provide: "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son" (Genesis 22:13). God knows that Abraham trusts Him. He goes on in Genesis 22 to re-affirm his promises to Abraham. God promises again to use Abraham's family to bless all of humanity. Was this just a rough test for Abraham? What was God's point? God was painting a picture. He used Abraham to reveal a part of His plan to restore mankind from their sins. Isaac's Picture of the Coming Saviour In these actions, God pictured that one day a human would have to die to pay for humanity's sins. Isaac certainly wasn't sinless, but the future human sacrifice would have to be. Furthermore, this future perfect human sacrifice would be offered in place of the sinner. Just as the ram was offered in place of Isaac. Isaac as a sinner deserved to die, just as all of us deserve to and will die. But, the ram was Isaac's substitute. Even so, this future perfect human sacrifice would be humanity's substitute. Also in this picture, we see a father offering his son. We learn in the New Testament that God sacrificed His Son as the future perfect human sacrifice to pay for our sins. Abraham's Family Line The book of Genesis continues with a lot of rich history we cannot take time to cover in detail. In summary, we learn about Isaac and his twin boys, Jacob and Esau. God gives Jacob the name Israel and extends His promises to Abraham to Jacob's branch of the family. Jacob has twelve sons who father twelve tribes. God had warned Abraham that his descendants would spend four hundred years in captivity in Genesis 15:13, but that they would emerge wealthy to take their place in Canaan. In fulfillment of that prophecy, Jacob and his sons move to Egypt during a famine. The book of Genesis ends with the chosen family in Egypt where they spend four hundred years. The history of God's chosen family continues in the book of Exodus. As the name implies, the central theme of this history is Israel's escape from Egypt after centuries as slaves and their return to the land God promised to Abraham. To accomplish this, God chose a man named Moses.

Lesson #7 Review

1.How did human society disobey God after the flood?

2.What did God do and what was the result?

3.What results of the sin at Babel do we still battle today?

4.How did God begin to narrow the family from which the Saviour would come?

5.What did God promise to do for Abraham?

6.How did God test Abraham?

7.How did Abrahamís test picture the coming Saviour?