March 2 I Tuesday
“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD...The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” —Psalm 2:1-4
After the flood in Genesis 9, Noah’s descendants were given the command to be fruitful and multiply, filling the whole earth. Shem, Ham and Japheth are sons of Noah and they started to have as many children as possible to secure their own territory, build an army and establish resources. Identity during this time period was understood as tribal and Genesis 10 records the tribes of Shem, Ham and Japheth respectively.
We encounter Nimrod, a descendant of Ham, who was a mighty man that gathered the people saying, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:4). Together, they worked on building the Tower of Babel, which epitomizes mankind’s efforts to establish their own greatness. Nimrod’s tribe was the greatest, but seeing all this, God came down to judge the city and the tower, sending the people into confusion and scattering them over the face of the earth.
Following these events, God speaks to Abram: “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). This verse contains an imperative, “Go!” Abram was called to go against the grain of his culture and let go of everything. God makes Abram a promise: “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). Notice that the text shifts in the latter, away from Abram receiving blessings, to Abram becoming a conduit of blessing. God is forming a different kind of tribe through Abram, not one that brutalizes the world, but one that brings blessings to the world. An empire that is not built upon making one’s own great name or ruling by one’s own strength, but an empire that is built upon the greatness of who God is and living in the strength that He provides.
Genesis 12 is the exact opposite of Genesis 11. The contrast between these two chapters is overt. Man says, “Let us establish ourselves, reach the heavens and make a name for ourselves,” but it ends in confusion. Whereas God says, “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you. I will make your name great,” and it ends in blessings for all peoples on earth.
Abram was called to go against everything the culture around him held dear and let go of all he knew. This is the choice that all of humanity faces and the invitation that God extends to all of mankind: “Will you let go of your way and embrace My way?”
Prayer: Almighty God, how powerful You are! It is tempting to build a name for myself, but I choose to embrace Your way. You are the Lord of my life. Thank You, God.