THE AGE OF HUMAN GOVERNMENT
From the Flood to the Dispersion at Babel
The washing of the face of the earth lasted one year and ten days. Seven months from the time that Noah entered the ark, and its grounding on Ararat, and five months and ten days before Noah received instructions to leave it. Noah’s first act upon leaving the ark, was to offer a burnt offering to the Lord. The fragrance and the spirit in which he offered it pleased God, and so God made a covenant with Noah that no such flood should destroy the earth again. All things were made subject to Noah as it was to Adam in the beginning. So God blessed Noah and his sons, and instructed them to “replenish the earth.” The flesh of animals was now permitted for food for the first time, and the sacredness of life was impressed upon man by the institution of capital punishment. Gen. 9:1-7 As a pledge of covenant promise, God set a rainbow in the sky as a sign for perpetual generations. Gen. 9:16-17
Thus man had a new start. With the institution of human government, man now was responsible to govern the world for God. The sons of Noah were responsible to re-populate the earth, but with a heavy reminder that God is the punisher of the wicked and a savior of those who believe. These three sons had vividly seen both sin and grace working in the world. It must have deepened their fear and their faith, and their obligation to serve, worship, and obey God. Yet it was not long before they once again saw wickedness abounding and men and nations renewing their enmity with God.
Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Noah prophesies the rewards and punishments of his three sons respective of their deeds and character. Gen. 9:25-27 Ham would be a race of servants. The descendants of Shem were to be blessed; God would dwell in their tents, and Canaanites were to become their servants. Enlargement was to be the portion of Japheth. History now confirms the fulfillment of the prophecy.
Shem’s sons: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, Aram.
The nations that sprang from them were: Persians, Assyrians, Chaldeans (Hebrews), Lidyans, Armenians, Syrians.
Ham’s sons: Cush, Mizraim, Phut, Canaan.
The nations that sprang from them were: Ethiopians, Egyptians, Libyans, Canaanites.
Japheth’s sons: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meschech, Tiras.
The nations that sprang from them were: Russians, Germans, Britons, Scythians, Medes, Ionians, Athenians, Iberians, Muscovites, Thracians.
The repopulation of the earth was not carried out as God had purposed it. It was God’s will that men were to disperse, or scatter over the face of the earth. Instead, by their own will and enmity towards God, they desired to be known and gathered in the plains of Shinar and conspired to build a city and a great tower. Their unholy pride and self-desire was to make a great name for themselves. Gen. 11:1-4 This unified intent was a dangerous threat, and God saw it as such. Gen. 11:5-6
God was displeased with their constant defiance, so He confused their language and scattered them by force over the face of the earth. They were told to disperse over the face of the earth...they wouldn’t do it...so God forced them to scatter...even though it divided families and friends. Gen. 11:7-9 Can you imagine the confusion of working next to guys one moment, then the next not be able to understand one word they said? Can you imagine the possibility of going home to your wife and not understanding one word she says?
This was God’s method of dispersing man over the earth. Pretty effective, wouldn’t you say? The speakers of each different tongue began to get together in groups, because they could understand each other. The confusion quieted down to simple organization, and then they parted with those who could understand them. It is now an established theory that the various existing languages belong to three great families: Arian, Semitic, and Turanian, corresponding broadly to the three sons of Noah: Japheth, Shem and Ham.
Thus the third age, the age of human government, ended with judgment: the dispersion at Babel.
1. What is the lesson in the power of unity from the story of the tower of Babel?
2. How impressed are you from this story about doing what God says, as He says it, rather than doing your own self-fashioned will?
3. Does it strike a sense of awe in you to think that even if man, unified altogether on one project to do something against His will, can be confounded in the snap God’s finger? Does it put a reverent fear in you? Does it also give you an unshakable peace?
4. Has God stopped you dead in your tracks from doing something against His will? Has that lesson made you more compliant with God’s will? or do you soon forget and plunge on doing your own thing your own way?