Genesis #5 – Roots of All Nations

I Remember When…

Roots – we all have them, we usually enjoy hearing people talk about where they grew up, etc., and our own “story” means a lot to us.  I grew up in the relatively small town of Lakeland, FL, pop. 30k or so that time, and I still like the town.  It is home to George Jenkins who started Publix, we hosted the Detroit Tigers for spring training, and it’s the site of the popular  “Sun n Fun” Fly-in every year. My dad went off to war as a B29 gunner, my mom was a nurse at the hospital for over 30 years.  Shall I go on??  Starts to bring back your own memories, right?

To be sure, we all have amazing roots, from all walks of life, many from other countries, many with legendary relatives – amazing stories.  Yet, we rarely think about the truly amazing part of our background that we all have in common.  Remember Noah?? Talk about an old relative!  Genesis gives us the amazing story of Noah being told by God to build that great boat and be ready for a global flood – he believed God, built the boat and saved his family.  Then chapters 10-11 tell the story of Noah’s family, Shem, Ham & Japheth and their descendants, spreading out from Mt. Ararat to the North, South, East and West to repopulate the earth.  Every one of us share in that heritage – wow!

However, that is both good news and bad news…. The bad news is that we also share the heritage of rebellion demonstrated at Babel which occurred relatively soon after the Flood.  The Good News thankfully is much bigger:  God does not compromise His holiness (judgment of sin), but He also does not forget His promises (Redemption).  He continues to maintain a promise-based covenant relationship with those who are faithful to Him.  And, he continues to provide a way of forgiveness and restored relationship with Him.

As we approach the major shift in our study of Genesis to the story of Abraham and God’s chosen people, Genesis 9-11 takes us from the Flood to the point where the nation of Israel begins to take shape.  Moses really knows how to craft an introduction!

Editor Note: We’re covering a lot of territory in this study segment. Please be patient, work through the material at your own speed.  But take notes because there may be a quiz!
Faithful Noah – Genesis 6

This chapter should make us nervous (i.e., the ‘us’ who compose the human race).  God saw the decadent society man had become and pronounced it hopeless,  It is sobering to hear God say (Gen. 6:23) that He wouldn’t struggle endlessly to get man to turn away from rebellion and immorality.  Note that the “word on the street” among humanity was apparently that “life was good” – then what was all that noise coming from Noah’s yard?  He had started building a very large boat!

Noah was a truly Good Man
  • Noah wasn’t just a nice guy —  he “found” (Gen. 6:8) that he had been blessed with God’s grace, his life pleased God and God returned the pleasure.
  • The descriptive terms “righteous” and “blameless” are first used in the Bible here, Gen.6:9. Also the first use of “covenant” is in 6:18.
  • Noah took God’s plan seriously, he remained faithful and followed every detail.
  • Noah was “walking with God” – the Christian today has the same calling, his true mark of godliness.
  • 5:1-6:8 provides the family histories to connect us all the way from Adam to Noah.

Bible Study Journal

Take time to read Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 4, and Col. 1 & 3 to find biblical guidelines for this mindset of godliness.

The Ark was a Real Boat
  • “Ark?” – it’s a boat!  Compare that with the Ark of the Covenant in Image result for noah's arkthe Tabernacle – but it was a 3′ cabinet.  The unique form of this Hebrew word is only used one other time in the Bible, where it refers to the Basket that Baby Moses was placed in before being found by the Pharoah’s daughter (Exo.2:3).
  • Room in the ark? God designed it, Noah built it.
  • Take a look at the “Answers in Genesis”  website at   to learn much more about the amazing details of just how perfectly this great boat was designed.

A Collapsing Society

The tragedy of seeing God’s marvelous creation descending into destruction, and seeing what God allowed to make that happen is covered in Gen. 6:11-8:22.  God inspired Moses to describe and summarize this major period of time by employing another marvelous “chiasm” (grammatical structure) – remember, this demonstrates the beauty of God’s Word, the personal character of inspiration as God guides Moses, and the complex depth of Scripture!

Bible Study Journal

Spend some time reading through each section, look up some related margin references, to see and make notes about the main point of the section.

A God resolves to destroy the corrupt race (Gen. 6:11-13)
     B Noah builds ark according to God’s instructions (Gen. 6:14-22)
           C The Lord commands remnant to enter the ark (Gen. 7:1-9)
                  D The flood begins (Gen. 7:10-16)
                         E  Flood goes 150 days, water covers mtns (7:17- 24)
                                  F God remembers Noah (Gen. 8:1 a)
                         E’ Flood recedes 150 days, mtns are visible (Gen. 8:1-5)
                 D’ The earth dries (Gen. 8:6-14)
           C’ God commands the remnant to leave the ark (Gen. 8:15-19)
     B’ Noah builds an altar (Gen. 8:20)
A’ The Lord resolves not to destroy humankind (Gen. 8:21-22)

  • In Noah’s day, and in our day as well, Mankind builds beautiful cities, buildings, cathedrals, gardens – but he can’t cover up the tragic results of pride, hatred and violence.  He is consumed by his wickedness.
  • Listen to what Socrates said in 425BC:  “Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority. They show disrespect for elders and they love to chatter instead of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of the households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize their teachers.”   From 2400+ years ago – interesting.  We have always been this way, and apart from repentance, we will persist.
  • Gen. 6:5, wickedness was great on the earth – demonic powers seemingly freely preying on civilization.  Compare that with Paul’s description of sin’s ugliness in Gal. 5:17ff – angry, fallen, selfish people – 6;11, corruption and violence.
  • Consider these ”signs of eminent collapse” which existed in Noah’s times:
    • Demonic invasion, 6:1-4
    • Sexual wickedness, 6:6
    • Corruption & violence, 6;11
  • The Flood was a literal, global judgment. The only people who survived were Noah’s family inside the Ark. Judgment for sin is a serious matter!  God declared in Gen. 6:3 that He wouldn’t “continue to strive with man”

Evidence for A Worldwide Flood

Can  we still be confident that the biblical account of a worldwide flood is accurate?

  • Evidence 1: Fossils of sea creatures are found high above sea level  – that’s due to the ocean waters having flooded over the continents.  For example, most of the rock layers in the walls of the Grand Canyon contain marine fossils.
  • Evidence 2: Rapid burial of plants and animals can only be explained by rapid flooding and receding of water.  Billions of fossils are found in extensive “graveyards” where they had to be buried rapidly on a massive scale.
  • Evidence 3: Rapidly deposited sediment layers spread across vast areas. On every continent are found layers of sedimentary rocks over vast areas. Many of these can be traced all the way across continents, and even between continents.
  • Evidence 4: Sediment transported long distances.  Consider the example of the Coconino Sandstone, seen spectacularly in the walls of the Grand Canyon.
  • Evidence 5: Rapid or no erosion between strata. At the boundaries between some sedimentary layers we find evidence of only rapid erosion. In most other cases, the boundaries are flat with absolutely no evidence of any erosion, as would be expected during the Genesis Flood.
  • Evidence 6: Many strata laid down in rapid succession.   In the walls of the Grand Canyon we see evidence that the sedimentary layers were all laid down in quick succession

The Bible’s record is reliable throughout history — from the creation of man from the dust of the ground to the worldwide Flood to the coming of Jesus Christ. But just reading the historical evidence isn’t enough. The message of salvation founded in the Bible’s history is also true, and, God wants us to accept the gift of salvation He freely offers us.The evidence is real. God has revealed Himself to us in His Word and in His creation (Romans 1:20).

Called by God – Genesis 8

  • Noah & Abraham are both called out by God to further His Plan for the Ages.
  • Both are new beginnings – both marked by God’s promise of blessing and the gift of God’s covenantBible Study Journal
    Use this chart to look up and compare these two covenants
Reference in Genesis Noah Abraham
8:15; 12:1
8:16; 12:1
8:18; 12:4
8:20; 12:7
9:1; 12:2
9:9; 12:7

A Rainbow Covenant – Genesis 9

  • God’s Covenants – God promises to accomplish these covenants on something based only (except for one) on His character, not on man’s actions:
    • Adamic Covenant- 1:27-18; 2:16-17
    • Noahic Covenant – 9:8-17
    • Abrahamic Covenant 12:1-5 – reaffirmed 26:1-35 (Isaac), 28:1-22 (Jacob)
    • Mosaic (Law) Covenant – Exo 19ff; Deut 39:30
    • Priestly Covenant – Num.25:10-13(Macarthur)
    • Palestinian Covenant – Deut.30:1-20, amplifies what God said in Abrahamic
    • Davidic Covenant – 2 Sam.7:8-16
    • New Covenant – Jer.31:31-34
  • 8:1, 20-22 – God, remembered Noah…
    • After 150 days of violent storms, he is out on dry land
    • Note that animals were offered right away, God led Noah to plan ahead with extra animals
    • The sacrifice was a “pleasing aroma” to God – this is the first reference to such a picture – compare 2 Cor. 2:14-15
    • God promised never again to curse the ground or bring universal flood
  • 9:1-7, God blessed Noah – be fruitful (again), man’s life is in the blood, man is in God’s image
  • 9:8-17, Noah’s Covenant from God – no more flood, the rainbow
    • God always provides a way back to fellowship with Him
  • Genesis 1-11 covers four major epochal events:
    • Creation
    • Fall
    • Flood
    • Babel

Roots of the Nations – Genesis 10

  • This isn’t a “gripping” passage, but never forget 2 Tim. 2:16-17, that ALL scriptures is profitable for believers
  • 10:24-27 is the genealogy of Shem, Ham & Japheth
    • This is a different high level genealogy tracing mankind beyond the Flood
    • This is the most ancient record of the roots of all nations – Jewish scholars counted 70 nations in the list
    • This account describes the geographical dispersion of large masses of people that we can still see evidenced today – Japheth went north and east/ west of Ararat – Ham went south/southwest to Egypt/Africa – Canaan went not as far south, settled in Palestine
  • Things to learn:
    • People are quick to forget the One True God
      • 10:8-9, Nimrod is example – he asserted himself against God – the nephew of Canaan, he was cursed by Noah

People are quick to forget the oneness of human race – no racism here – we are all lost in sin and we all need to hear of God’s one means of salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross!

Tower of Babel & the Unity of Disbelief
– Genesis 11

  • One language – not a bad thing…
    • Naturally received down from Noah
    • Could have promoted good understanding, family & community life, and pursuit of worship & work of God. But nope…
    • Instead, it was perverted, promoted disobedience & unbelief, elevation of self desires.
  • A name for ourselves, “religious” fervor, set our own rules
    • God had told man to be fruitful & multiply – 9:1,7
    • They said no, they’ll build a great city and a great tower – we’ll do it “my way”
  • God’s response – 11:5-8
    • God recognizes the roots of sin and seeks to rescue man from destruction
    • He confronted their pride
    • They had to be scattered in order to fulfill God’s command to fill the earth

Extra Credit – Another Chiasm!
Genesis 11:1-9

  • This passage uses the same parallel construction, each pair is linked/reflected.  Make some notes for each verse and see if you see the relationships and points being made. 

A        All the earth had one language (Gen.11:1)
      B        there (Gen.11:2)
           C        One to another (Gen.11:3)
                D        Come, let’s make bricks (Gen.11:3)
                     E        Let’s make for ourselves (Gen.11:4)
                          F        A city and a tower
                               G        And the Lord came down to see (Gen_11:5)                                  F’        The city and the tower (Gen_11:5)
                      E’        that the humans built (Gen_11:5)
                D’        Come, let’s confuse (Gen_11:7)
           C’        everyone the language of his neighbor (Gen_11:7)
        B’        from there (Gen_11:8)
A’        (confused) the language of the whole earth (Gen_11:9)


Study Questions

What are the covenants God established with man?  See what you can discover this week about each of the covenants.

  1. 1:7-18; 2:16-17
  2. 9:8-17
  3. 12:1-5
  4. 19ff; Deut. 39:30
  5. 2 Sam. 7:8-16
  6. 31:31-34