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Understanding Genesis 10: God Allows Us to Walk Away

Updated on June 8, 2015

Read the entire chapter 10 of Genesis on your own. You can read a variety of versions, from contemporary English to literal translations. You can download bible apps, websites (blueletterbible.org or biblegateway.com) or buy one from your local bookstore. I will use King James Version because some of the nuances are missing from other translations. When you read the chapter, don’t just read it—study it with questions and try to make sense of it.

Ham's Descendants

By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Genesis 10:5, 8-10

Soon the sons of Noah have their own family. Ham leaves his parents and brothers and while raising his own children, misleads them about God’s character, His promise and eventually rebels against God. By the 3rd generation, Nimrod builds a city to reach the heavens and instead of worshipping God, worships self. They want to be like God and no longer believe the One they have. They don’t trust His promise to never flood the earth [And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. Genesis 9:11], and instead builds a tower to reach the heavens and do what…? Fight God?! How foolish are some of our thoughts that we believe we know better than God. "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 1 Corinthians 1:25 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14 We know the way we should go, but we don’t do it. "I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate." Romans 7:15

By building the cities, creating weapons to hunt/kill and fighting amongst family, they build literal and emotional walls and lose a sense of kinship. What they have done to themselves, God uses to prevent the world from returning pre-flood: they no longer speak the same language and eventually scatter. They build cities so sinful; God eventually rains down fire and destroys them (Sodom and Gomorrah). Babel eventually becomes Babylon and forever becomes known as the enemy of God’s people. "Then another angel followed him through the sky, shouting, 'Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen—because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality.'" Revelation 14:8

The Lost Lambs

Out of that land went forth Asshur, and built Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. Genesis 10:11, 12

Ashur, son of Shem, also leaves his family. While Shem has preserved the line for the Messiah, not everyone in God’s family chooses to follow God. God allows everyone free will; to leave their faith and turn their back on God; He will never force anyone to love Him. Rules, parents, church, or society may force us to act according to their standards, but God will never force anyone to love Him. "For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God." 2 Peter 2:15,16

God did not prevent Shem and Ham from walking into the ark, knowing their descendants would wreak havoc in the new world. God will do all he can to reach us, but we are the ones who choose what we do and believe. "Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39 If any had returned to God, He would gladly have received them with open arms. "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." Luke 15:7

They had all experienced the love of God while in the ark, but they didn’t see His forgiveness in letting Adam & Eve continue to live, Cain to live and for Noah's sons to live. Our faith in God is not wholly in believing He exists, but that He loves us, is forgiving and our savior. When we lose our way, we must believe in His promises that He still loves us in spite of our failures, forgives us our sin and will take us to be with Him. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:2,3 If or when you fall, have faith and get up again.

To get a deeper understanding of the Bible, read along with Patriarchs and Prophets, written by Ellen G. White. The book is available on AdventistBookCenter.com and amazon.com

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