Staying on Track

can mean ignoring lots of interesting things.

Genesis 11:10-26 (ESV)

These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. And Shem lived after he fathered Arpachshad 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he fathered Shelah. And Arpachshad lived after he fathered Shelah 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Shelah had lived 30 years, he fathered Eber. And Shelah lived after he fathered Eber 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Eber had lived 34 years, he fathered Peleg. And Eber lived after he fathered Peleg 430 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Peleg had lived 30 years, he fathered Reu. And Peleg lived after he fathered Reu 209 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Reu had lived 32 years, he fathered Serug. And Reu lived after he fathered Serug 207 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Serug had lived 30 years, he fathered Nahor. And Serug lived after he fathered Nahor 200 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Nahor had lived 29 years, he fathered Terah. And Nahor lived after he fathered Terah 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

In a single page, the Bible records a history that’s longer than the United States has existed. All the life events are skipped. This highlights how God’s revelation to us is designed for human consumption. A “complete” Bible would be incredibly long, plus much of it would be over our heads.

 If God gave us the whole story, we wouldn’t be able to read it.


This abbreviated account is an arrow pointing to Christ. God’s plan is unfolding. In just a few verses centuries go by, but next everything will slow down and the life of Abram will take 14 chapters.

The Bible only prints what’s important for us to know about God’s plan. Imagine all the drama that went unmentioned in this passage.

But God’s agenda isn’t man’s agenda, and we need to connect better to God’s agenda. The way we stress over things sometimes resembles the way teens can get a case of the vapors over a silly Facebook post.

Ask God to give us a better sense of the grand sweep of things and the ability to ignore trivialities.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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