set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan
To really deal with disobedience, God knows that he must come down himself and deal with it. And so, at the end of our journey through these 11 chapters we are left with the beginning of another one.
The people are scattered confused over the face of the earth. Every journey undertaken to this point has been to the East. Adam and Eve banished to the East of Eden, Cain wandering in the East, the Babel hordes moving easterly.
But here we find another man, uprooted from his Mesopotamian homeland and moving by faith into the unknown towards the land of Canaan. Moving incidentally in a westerly direction. Moving back towards God and Eden. It’s going to be a long journey with many ups and downs.
But this pilgrim represents the beginning of a new people. A man who, in contrast to the builders in Babel does not strive to make a name for himself, but whose name is ‘made great’ by God’s blessing (Gen 12:1-3) He is the one through whom all the families on earth will be blessed, not by surrendering their identities or their ethnic backgrounds, but by being embraced within the saving purpose of God who rejoices in the diversity of his creation.
This journey, beginning here in Gen 11:31 with one man, culminates in that great vision of Revelation:
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
The message here is that God has not abandoned us.