Earth:Theatre of God's Universe - Section 6
GOD CONTINUES TO WORK WITH MAN
It was not long before Noah’s son Ham started on the path away from God. Ham's son, Nimrod, became a great hunter and leader in his time. Nimrod built several cities. He also started a false religion.. Nimrod set up the worship of the sun. Later, after Nimrod died, his wife Ishtar, claimed that she had become pregnant through the rays of the Sun. She taught the basic principles of "reincarnation" claiming that Nimrod had now come back as a god in her son, Tammuz. [Ezekiel 8:14] This story, told in different ways and with different names, became the basic lie of many religions. Satan planned these false religions that would lead people to worship "him". Satan wants man's worship and the power to control us. Then we are in his hand, and Satan becomes our ruler, not God!
Nimrod’s followers led the people to build a huge tower called in the Bible, "The Tower of Babel". Many of the people decided that they did not trust God. These people were doing evil things and were afraid God might bring another flood. They would build a tower so high that men would be safe if there was another flood.
God saw their act of unbelief and their rebellious thoughts. God decided to spread the people at the tower around the world and that would help break up the rebellion against His ways. At Babel God changed the one language of the world, to many languages. The people working on the tower could not understand each other. The tower building stopped. The tower builders began to spread around the world. [Genesis 8:8,9]
Noah lived on after the flood for another 350 years. Noah did have one son who was faithful to the truth about God. His name was Shem and he lived for about 400 years after the flood. In fact, Shem was alive during much of Abraham’s life.
God had a plan. He would find a faithful man. Through that man God would develop a faithful people who could take the story of the Good News of God’s love and Salvation to the world. In Abraham, God found someone who would be that type of man. But, God would have to work with Abraham to prepare him for this work.
First, God told Abraham to leave his homeland and go on a long trip. But, God did not tell Abraham where he would end up. Abraham had to leave trusting that God was leading. Abraham went out and started on the long journey. Abraham settled here and there, but God kept moving him on.
Second, God told Abraham that He would build a nation through him. But, nothing happened right away. Abraham’s wife could not have any children. Abraham finally gave up waiting, and took his wife’s servant as his wife. Perhaps Abraham thought he would help God. Though Abraham got a son this way, his short-cut to try and hurry God’s plans didn’t work. The "child of unbelief" would become a terrible disappointment. This experience would become a symbol of man trying to do things his own way, not God's.
Finally, when Abraham's wife Sarah was about 100 years old, she did have the promised miracle child. What excitement! But God was not finished with Abraham’s training. God would test Abraham with a ultimate (difficult) test.
One night God told Abraham clearly what He must do. Abraham must take that special son, now a teenager, and go and offer him as a sacrifice. But, that just did not make sense. How would God give Abraham grandchildren, if he had to sacrifice his son. And....would God really ask Him to sacrifice his son when that is the practice that the false religion's did that God hated? But, Abraham knew God and trusted even if the clear instructions did not make sense to him right then.
Abraham left secretly without telling Sarah. The father and his son Isaac headed to the mountain where God had told them to go. When they got there, Isaac agreed to be the sacrifice. Isaac was strong enough to run away, but He also trusted God’s instructions. At the last moment, just as Abraham was ready to bring down the knife, God told Abraham to stop. God knew that Abraham believed enough to obey under terrible circumstances. Father and Son then rejoiced in offering a ram from the bushes that God had provided for them! [Genesis 22:13]
God’s plans continued on through Abraham’s son, Isaac, and Isaac's son, Jacob. Then comes the touching story of faithful Joseph. After a troubled childhood and youth, Joseph is sold by his brothers to be a slave in Egypt.
God had a special plan for Joseph. God prepared to use Joseph in a miraculous way because he was so faithful, even when things got very bad. Joseph was falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison. But, God used the miracle of prophecy to bring attention to Joseph in prison. The Pharaoh (king) of Egypt had a dream that he could not understand. The king's cup-bearer suddenly remembered a dream Joseph had interpreted for him in prison. The cup bearer told the king his story. The king called for Joseph to be brought out of prison.
Joseph gave the correct meaning to Pharaoh’s dream. Pharaoh was greatly surprised. Pharaoh liked and trusted Joseph. Amazingly, Pharaoh made Joseph Prime Minister of Egypt, next to himself. He asked Joseph to look after all the surplus food that would come in the next seven huge harvest years. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all the food during the seven famine years.
During the seven famine years, Joseph’s brothers, who had sold Joseph as a slave, came to Egypt looking for food. After testing his brothers, Joseph finally told them who he really was. Joseph invited them all to move to Egypt. Even Joseph's very old father, Jacob (new name-"Israel"), joined them in Egypt. Down in the land of Goshen, Joseph's brothers and descendants had many children. The "Israelite's" as they were called, grew and grew in number.
But, all did not go well, many years later, a new Pharaoh came who did not remember Joseph. The new Pharaoh made some new plans for the "Israelites"!
Go to the Next Section: God Calls Out a Special People.
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