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Genesis 11:10-26 - Homiletics

From Shem to Abram.

I. THE SEPARATION OF THE GODLY SEED . The souls that constitute the Church of God upon the earth are always, as these Hebrew patriarchs—

1. Known to God ; and that not merely in the mass, but as individuals, or units; nor simply superficially and slightly, but minutely and thoroughly. He knows the fathers they descend from, the families they belong to, the names by which they are designated, the number of years they live, and the children they leave behind them on the earth (cf. Psalms 1:6 ; 2 Timothy 2:19 ).

2. Separated by God . This was one of the great ends contemplated by the division of the people which happened in the days of Peleg, which was designed to eliminate the Shemites from the rest of mankind. Then the migration of the sons of Eber contributed further to the isolation of the children of the promise. And, lastly, the selection of the son, not always the firstborn, through whom the hope of the gospel was to be carried on tended in the same direction. So God afterwards separated Israel from the nations. So he still by his providence and his word calls out and separates his people from the world (cf. 1 Kings 8:53 ; 2 Corinthians 6:17 ).

3. Honored before God ; by being selected as the vessels of his grace, the channels of his promise, the ministers of his gospel, and the messengers of his covenant, while others are passed by; and by being written in God's book of remembrance, while others are forgotten (cf. 1 Samuel 2:30 ; Psalms 91:15 ; Malachi 3:16 ; Matthew 10:32 ; 2 Timothy 2:20 ; Revelation 3:5 ).

II. THE SHORTENING OF HUMAN LIFE . A second characteristic of the postdiluvian era.

1. A patent fact . Even Shem, the longest liver of the men of this period, did not continue on the earth so long as Lamech, the shortest liver of the previous age, by 177 years; while the life of Arphaxad was shorter than that of his father by 162 years, and the days of Terah at the close dwindled down to 205 years.

2. A potent sermon . Whether the comparative brevity of life immediately after the Flood was due to any change in the physical constitution of man, or to the altered conditions of existence under the Noachic covenant, or to the gradual deterioration of the race through the lapse of time, or to the direct appointment of Heaven, it was admirably fitted to remind them of—

III. THE NEARING OF THE GOSPEL PROMISE . Ten generations further down the stream of time do we see the promise carried in this second genealogical table. It was—

1. A vindication of the Divine faithfulness in adhering to his promise. Already twenty generations had come and gone, and neither was the promise forgotten nor had the holy line been allowed to become extinct. Ever since Adam's day in Eden the covenant-keeping Jehovah had found a seed to serve him, even in the darkest times, and had been careful to raise up saints who would transmit the hope of the gospel to future times. It was a proof to the passing generations that God was still remembering his promise, and was intending to make it good in the fullness of the times.

2. A demonstration of God ' s ability to keep his promise. Not once through all the bygone centuries had-a link been found wanting in the chain of saintly men through whom the promise was to be transmitted. It was a clear pledge that God would still be able to supply the necessary links that might be required to carry it forward to its ultimate fulfillment.

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