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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Friday, June 24, 2005

World News This Morning

The RRR presents once more the little items you may have missed:

The Supreme Court Decided on the Bulldozer issue. From now on local municipalities will be able to condemn and seize private property not just for public works, or because the property is run down and dangerous, but if they consider taking it would serve the greater public good. In other words, if the county or municipality would realize more tax revenue from someone else owning your property, you're out. Family farms can go under the ax for corporate ones. Clean, well maintained neighborhoods can be bulldozed to build Sprawl Marts. Like the Big Fish said in Arthur, “It's power, it's all in the end about power.”

Armadillos have made it to Iowa! The first road kill was spotted on a highway just over the border from Missouri. Old Texas joke: Why did the chicken cross the road? To show the armadillos it could be done.

Wednesday the RRR went straight from work on the Kiddie Psych unit over the the VA to stand in line. I actually arrived early enough to get into the tiny outpatient parking area by the front entrance. Wandering into the maw of the labyrinth, I eventually found the x ray department, as the new politically correct name for it is “Electronic Imaging”. I'd drunk the nasty barium (coconut flavored) [500 ml., made in Canada]. I came prepared with a paperback to read, some cheesy western, no one has written a western since the deaths of Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour. Eventually the nurse called my name. And I walked into... the Chamber of Horrors. To my readers, a simple Cat Scan room, to me, who lay there unmedicated once as a Dr. with a strong South East Asian accent did a liver biopsy, a high stress environment. The nurse tried to start an IV in my left hand. I could have patiently explained that you DON'T start an IV in an ex-junky's left hand if he's right handed. The veins are the consistency of silicone tubing and roll like skateboard wheels. But I've long since learned that telling a nurse she isn't starting an IV correctly is like telling a cop who's stopped you he isn't writing out the ticket right, you're giving someone with the power to hurt you an excuse to do so. She quickly discovered her error and apologized, then went for the left antecubital space as she should have to begin with. The slide in and out of the radioactive donut was without incident. She refused to let me look at the pictures of my own body and I left.

Out in the parking lot, latecomers were now circling, waiting for someone to leave so they could have the prime parking in the shade, close to the door. I considered walking up to the first in line and explaining that I had worked all night and was going to nap in the car now for a half hour, but would do it somewhere else for say... $10? I did not. But drove home with the anxiety of not knowing the extent of my liver damage nor the presence or absence of “masses” (hospital code for cancer) until my specialist returns from vacation next week and deigns to tell me about my own body.

Wednesday evening was Bible Study at the chapel. Elder James led us through another chapter in the New Testament a verse at a time. How I love expository preaching. Not invented till after the Civil War, by the way, by the personal chaplain to Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee who started Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His instruction manual on preaching is still in print and still one of the best. After chapel, Mrs. RRR and I went to George's Steak House in Pella, Iowa for a late supper. Wednesday is pork chop special night. Elder and Mrs. James and Elder and Mrs. Raymond joined us. Amazingly, the best pork chops and pizza in Iowa are at a Greek steakhouse in a Dutch tourist trap. Life is interesting, if never benign.

Thursday morning I got up at 0445 with Mrs. RRR and fixed her coffee and tea and homemade juice and sent her off to open the pool for the obsessive-compulsive lap swimmers. Then I busied my self about the homestead, my major accomplishment being the construction of a new trash burner from concrete slabs. We now can burn trash in a bunker that would stand up to a cruise missile. Then I showered, changed into uniform and went for deputy training at the court house. Last night was handcuff night. This old man limped home groaning and still ache this morning. People being arrested should just stand quietly and let themselves be cuffed. Resisting arrest is too tough on elderly part time cops.

Have a great Friday, Ranger Readers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Barium Swallows And Other Birds

The RRR sits at the computer under a full moon on the solstice and contemplates the issues of life.

Humorous Event: Last week Rangerette #1 turned four. Mrs. RRR and I called her on the phone and offered, with Bay Toe Ven the hound dog, to sing Happy Birthday. We did so with Bay throwing back his head and howling with each "to you". When we finished I said to #1, "See? I told you Bay could sing Happy Birthday."
A long silence followed. Then very gently, obviously not wanting to hurt my feelings she said, "Grandpa, he barked, he didn't sing."

Friday, Grandpa Ranger and Step Mom came to visit for father's day. He is recovering nicely from the chemo and radiation for his prostate cancer which is now subdued enough to no longer be a worry. We puttered about a bit outside and I set them up to watch the video Zulu, one of Michael Caine's first. The true story of 105 British soldiers, a construction group, successfully fending off an attack of 4000 warriors in Africa in the 1800's. An obsessively accurate movie of incredible heroism. I slept through it of course, having to start my 5 night stretch on the adolescent psych unit.

Saturday, we spent the morning shopping. I bought Grandpa Ranger his Father's Day present, an outside thermometer with a picture of an "M" Farmall on it and and a patriotic tee-shirt. They gave me some delicious low-carb goodies and a pocket planner. I got a lovely, loving card from Mrs. RRR, our Father's and Mother's Day presents to each other being the leather computer chair mentioned in an earlier blog. Then to work Saturday night.

Sunday, despite my fatigue, the attached sermon went well. The Father's Day theme fitting well with the continuation of the study in Genesis. Grandpa Ranger and I hugged in tears at the back of the chapel afterward. Then we all went out to a unique BBQ restaurant in the little town of Attica. Called Kin Folks, it's one of the few non-franchise authentic Texas BBQ cafe's in the Midwest. After we drove to a restored covered bridge out in the woods where Oldest Son and I once camped on a backpacking trip. We said goodbye and the folks headed off down gravel roads, taking the scenic route to Kansas City and Mrs. RRR and I drove back to the cabin where I passed out till time to go to work.

Monday, I was unaccountably, deeply, profoundly depressed. It was a sit and stare day. Maybe the sadness of the memories brought up by the sermon, maybe the impending tests at the VA, who knows? but darkness settled down on me like a damp wool blanket. Meeting Mrs. RRR at her job at noon we went to a friends house and picked some black raspberries. I slept only a couple hours and then somehow made it to and through another shift at work.

Tuesday, I went straight from the Private Hospital where I work to the Big City VA for my blood draw. It went quickly and painlessly. My kidney functions are just peachy, thank you and on the way home my depression lifted as quickly as it had arrived. I slept soundly till Mrs. RRR came home, she made us a delicious meal and I slept the rest of the day, always with the heating pad over the offended liver. At 2000 hours (8 P.M. to non-rangers) I woke up to drink a pint of nasty tasting Barium in preparations for today's CAT scan at the VA. I will need to swallow another at 0600, then drive from here to the VA. Oh boy.

I shall report more when I know more.

Friday, June 17, 2005

All Good Things Must Come To An End

On April 13, 1970 the RRR joined the United States Army. The story here is absolutely true and only shows the oddities of chance.
In basic training at Ft. Lewis, Washington was a drill instructor named Sgt. Stone. He loved to teach P.E.. He would stand up on the little platform as the whole company did push ups and later other exercises and work us until we were shaking, then leave us in an uncomfortable position, such as half way through a push up in the “front leaning rest” position at the count of 1 and we weren't allowed to collapse to the ground till he said, “two”.
When he had over a hundred trainees crying and moaning and ready to give up, he would shout, “All good things must come to an end................... TWO!” and we would fall to the ground using our last breaths to cuss him. But the Great Wheel comes around.

About a year later I was on a little “mountain” close to Laos about to get overrun by a brigade of North Vietnamese Regulars. A platoon of cavalry came up the hill at the last minute to save us and make this blog possible. We fought off the bad guys all night long. But I noticed one of those soldiers was very familiar. I walked up behind where he was aiming his M16 down the hill over a berm of dirt and stuck my finger in his back and said, “All good things must come to an end.” Sgt. Stone froze, and I laughed at him and told him I was glad to see him. We did some pretty good work that night and I never expected to see him again.

Turn the clock up to 1981. I was in the Army Reserve doing my summer training at Ft. Bliss, Texas. I was an orderly in the hospital. I walked into the patient lounge on the ward and guess who was sitting watching TV? I eased up behind him and stuck my finger in his back. “All good things must come to an end.”. He put up his hands and surrendered. I told him not to. I owe my life, as do thousands of other G.I.'s, to drill instructors like Sgt. Stone, who took rag tag punks and made men of us.

Zevon at The End

As readers of this blog already know, the RRR has long enjoyed the music of Warren Zevon, now dead of a bad liver and a worse life. At the end he made one album, The Wind. I insert here the lyrics of one of the songs. Certain that like me, he didn't
have real faith in foolishness such as voodoo, I am assuming the references refer to his desperate attempts to cure his illness with herbs and natural remedies.

RUB ME RAW -- Warren Zevon

I know these blues are gonna rub me raw
Every single cure seems to be against the law

Went and told my psychic
I said “Keep it to yourself.
I don't wanna hear it and don't be telling no
one else.”

Word's out on the street
Whispers in the night
They come out of the woodwork, wanna see
what it's like

Gonna run that voodoo down
How the crowd gets fickle when your face is to
the ground!

Oh no these blues are gonna rub me raw
Oh no these blues are gonna rub me raw

Now I'm shaking all over
I'm a shattering mass
But I'm gonna sit up straight
I'm going to take it with class

Old man used to tell me
“Son, never look back,
Move on to the next case.
Fold your clothes and pack.”

To the green horned chicken hoppers I say
“Get yourself a trade,
Or go back to the chat room and fade in
the shade”

Oh no these blues are gonna rub me raw
Oh no these blues are gonna rub me raw

I know these blues are gonna rub me raw
Every single cure seems to be against the law

I was walking pretty well then I fell into a hole
I should climb out quick, but I hate doing what
I'm told

Got a wang-dang-doodle wrapped in bog
snake hide
This goat head gumbo is keeping me alive

I don't want your fifty-dollar
I don't share your need to discuss the absurd

Oh no these blues are gonna rub me raw
Oh no these blues are gonna rub me raw

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Tyranny Of The Urgent

The RRR responds to numerous (one) calls asking why he has not blogged since the sermon of almost two weeks ago. We are looking at the overwhelming assault of spring business and also my occasional descents into depression over the juggernaut of health problems. Hepatitis C reminds me for some reason of the old Indian, not a chief, really, but the head of a family clan in the mountains by Lookout Mountain close to Livingston Montana. Livingston was to become a major railroad terminal and repair shop for the west, but it had to start with one track. When it got as far as the Yellowstone River valley, the old Indian came down out of the hills and sat cross legged on a hill top watching the engine sitting on the track puffing as it built up steam. Some cowboys from the ranch where the tribe lived asked him, “well, what do you think of it chief?”.

“It will never start.”, he replied.

With a long whistle that echoed off the mountains the train chugged forward and down the track as the old man watched expressionless. When it was out of sight, he stood and wrapped his blanket around his shoulders.

“They will never stop it.” he said.

And he walked back into the mountains. The old Indian was right, and I fear Hep C carries the same inevitability and devastating change with it.

I will attempt to run the clock backwards to the last blog. Wednesday I attacked the tree brought down by a “williwaw”. That being a short tornado like blast of wind which rips up out of valleys and over hills. They are well known to sailors and you can read about their effects in one of my favorite books, Sailing Alone Around The World, by Joshua Slocum. In reality it was several trees, three green ash of which two were a foot through at the butt, a smaller ash and a mulberry. The chain saw has sat untouched, tuned, or sharpened for almost four years. I left it on the shelf and took down grandpa's ax. It is a Keen Kutter, the head made in the 1940's. (old joke: Grandpa only used one ax all his life; he just bought it eight new handles and two new heads). Back when we heated with wood I put a fiberglass handle on it. I filed the edge and walked out to the tangle of downed trees. Mrs. RRR was along and felt I could be more efficient with a chainsaw. She was right but I needed to ax. And I was able to stay ahead of her dragging limbs to the burn pile. For the first half hour I just gnawed away at the limbs like a beaver with false teeth, but like riding a bicycle, it came back. There is a slow delightful rhythm to chopping hardwood. When it's right, its right. The downward swing from the right meets the previous one from the left and a chip the size of your hand flies and you let the “chips fall where they may” in case you wondered where that expression came from. I also found that green ash is the most fibrous obnoxious wood to cut that there is. Small pieces make delightful wood carving chunks the Boy Scouts call “Tiki Wood”, but otherwise, forget it. Burns well when dried, though. By 1 p.m., the sun was straight overhead (daylight savings time) and the mess was a brush pile and several trunks ready to be hauled to the pile with the tractor, using a “log” chain, and now you know whey they are called that.

Mrs. RRR had sweet potatoes baking in tin foil in the crock pot. She fried Alaskan whiting fillets in butter, made her own tartar sauce, cooked beets from last year's garden, and we had frozen fruit for dessert. I read our devotional books and the Bible aloud while she cleaned up the dishes. Then we laid down on the living room floor for a nap before going back out. We were both fatigued. I am so weakened and out of shape from four or five year long boughts of chemo-therapy over the last ten years, a few hours of wood chopping had left me stumbling and shaking.

After our nap I took my two hour post meal blood sugar, 117, and went to bring the Cub Cadet back to life. For no particular reason the drive belt to the blades had jumped off. I fussed with it and got it back on and it jumped off again. I fussed and adjusted again and it stayed on. Dues to be paid, I suppose. Then I mowed the lawn while Mrs. RRR hoed the garden. When I finished that she took the push mower and did the trimming while I took the ax and trimmed the branches too big to toss up on the brush pile and did a little more hoeing. By then we ran out of steam by mutual consent. We had old fashioned oatmeal with raisins, real cream and maple syrup. Then some of Mrs. RRR's homemade yogurt with banana and strawberry slices. And at last to bed.

That's one day, Ranger Readers. I can't do the last two weeks in that detail. Let's suffice it to say that the Green Hornet is at last running and not leaking oil from anywhere. Mrs. RRR's brother, his wife and daughters visited and we had a wonderful time. I taught Management of Aggressive Behavior at the county hospital and worked adolescent psych at the private one. The garden is planted and up. Sweet corn, green beans, beats and the tomatoes. Oh the tomatoes. We had seventeen we started from seed, each in its own cage, then Elder Raymond from the chapel gave us more. I had a few of the old wooden cages left I'd built a decade ago and then... noticed a goodly part of a roll of concrete reinforcing wire. It makes the best tomato cages there are. You cut off ten full sections with the end wires from the eleventh, twist hooks in the end wires, cut off the bottom horizontal wire to have something to stick in the ground, pull it into a cylinder and squeeze down the hooks to hold it together. Held down in the wind wired to a fence post, they are secure, deer proof and easy to reach in and pick tomatoes out of. Now I have 30. I will never need that many tomatoes, but they work great for pole beans, cucumbers, etc. You can even grow melons and squash in them if you hang the fruit is little hammocks made from old pantyhose.

That's enough. Hang in there Dear Readers.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Today's Sermon, 6-5-05

June 5th, 2005

Good morning! We closed our last study with the death of God’s prophet Noah. The final glimpse we had of his life was not a pleasant one as we saw him passed out drunk and naked in his tent. Phylliss and I talked about that later at home. She pointed out that it is amazing that people who have never heard of Christianity can open a Bible for the first time and read it an become believers, when the people who served God were all so weak. We talked about King David and his sin, Noah and his, Jonah and his, Peter and his and so on. Perhaps that is the very reason we are attracted to the heroes of the Bible, it is their imperfection that we can identify with. We have a God who uses imperfect tools, or as Paul said, "… sinners, of whom I am chief."

Let’s look at the end of chapter 9 to get our context.

Genesis 9:28-10:2. Read.

We now are beginning the generations of Noah from whom all the peoples of the earth descended. With Japheth we see the ancestors of most of us… the Gentiles, which does not carry a religious significance, by the way, but simply means "foreigners" or non-Israelites. Gomer began the family group of the Cimerians from whom the Celtic peoples are descended. The descendents of Magog were the ancient Scythians, or Tartars who founded the area now known as Russia. Some claim the name Moscow comes from Magog. You’ll remember from our study of Revelation that Magog figures in the final battle. From Madai came the Medes and Javan was the father of the Greeks and Syrians. Tubal’s children spread south of the Black Sea and eventually peopled the nation of Spain. Meshech’s descendants joined with those of Magog and Tubal to form most of the old Soviet Union. Lastly, Tiras was the father of the Thracians. I owe Scofield’s notes for much of this information, by the way.

We will not read every verse of the genealogies in chapters 10 and 11 less the rest of the assembly starts asking with Thomas, "All done?". But we’ll try to hit the high points.

Genesis 10:5. Read.

This verse shows us several things. First is that the time covered by these genealogies comes mostly after the events at the Tower of Babel in the next chapter. Also, the word translated "isles" here means coasts. It is only logical that as humanity spread out from the tower at Babel that they would follow the coasts.

Now we will look at another famous man of the times:

Genesis 10:8-11. Read.

So we come to Nimrod. To understand why he was famous, we have to look back to…

Genesis 9:2,3. Read.

If the commentators are correct and this directive to Noah was the first time man began to eat animal flesh, or at least the flesh of wild animals, the profession of hunting was unknown. So new ground was to be broken for men’s careers, they were no longer to be just farmers and husbandmen, but hunters and fishermen. And the greatest of these was Nimrod. As the animals left the ark and spread about the super-continent that was the earth of those days, they must have followed God’ directive and multiplied rapidly. There were not just pheasants and rabbits to hunt. Remember that two of EVERY kind of animal had gone on the ark. That meant that soon after the landing at Ararat there were not only the large animals we think of today, such as grizzly bears and elephants and rhinoceros’, but the really scary creatures now extinct, such as giant cave bears, saber toothed tigers, and of course, the dinosaurs mentioned in the book of Job. And without guns or modern technology, at least to the best of our current knowledge, Nimrod hunted them. A hunter who could successfully defeat a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a wooly mammoth would have been, as verse 8 states, "a mighty one in the earth."

Also notice that these verses say that Nimrod was a mighty hunter "before the Lord." He was in some way, giving God credit for his success and worshipping him. And he was rewarded. Verse 10 says that he had a kingdom, so he was the same as a king. He founded the city of Babel initially. It was, perhaps, where his throne was located. His sons spread out from there to found other famous cities, including Ninevah. But as so often happens, something founded before the Lord, soon deteriates into a monument to men’s sinfulness and Babel and Ninevah were no exception.

Verses 15 through 19 follow the generations of the evil grandson of Noah, Canaan. His descendents founded two of the most evil cities of all…

Genesis 10:19. Read.

So the most evil and perverted cities of all time, Sodom and Gomorrah were founded by the descendents of the one who committed the vulgar act recorded at the end of chapter 9 upon the drunken Noah. Should we be surprised? Are the sins of the father continued on through generations? We know so.

Further in chapter 10 we come across an interesting statement:

Genesis 10:25. Read.

We know little about this character Peleg, but we DO know that something strange happened during his life… the earth was divided. We might look at this at first and think we are just seeing another mention of the division into nations. But something else is happening in verse 25, the earth itself is being divided. We would of course be correct to think that the confusion at Babel is being referred to, but much more is implied; I, along with a number of commentators believe. We will soon be to that part of the story.

Genesis 10:31,32. Read.

We reach the end of God’s dealing with the sons of Noah as a whole. From this point on, after God’s last great act of creation, the focus will be only on one small part of the family of man. I will quote from Col. Scofield:

"Genesis 11 and 12 mark an important turning point in the divine dealing. Heretofore the history has been that of the whole Adamic race. There has been neither Jew nor Gentile; all have been one in ‘the first man Adam.’ Henceforth, in the Scripture record, humanity must be thought of as a vast stream from which God, in the call of Abram and the creation of the nation of Israel, has but drawn off a slender rill, through which He may at last purify the great river itself."

But first, we have to see what chapter 10, verse 25 may have meant.

Genesis 11:1-9. Read.

Verse 1 only makes sense. It was obvious that Noah and his sons had used a common language, surely the same one which was given to Adam. But God had intended for them to spread out across the earth and repopulate, or "replenish" it.

Genesis 11:2. Read.

It would make sense that as families formed they would stay together, for protection from the wild beasts, which at that time we’ve just discussed, included some particularly dangerous ones. And as they traveled, they gathered about the leadership of the mighty hunter, Nimrod. He apparently led them to a fertile plain and they decided to stay. What’s the first thing you do when you settle a new land? Put up homes…

Genesis 11:3. Read

There was some knowledge still available from the time before the flood and some among Nimrod’s followers knew how to make brick and build with it. That they had time to build tells us they were living on more than the meat they could hunt. Hunter, gatherers do not build kingdoms, it takes agriculture. It takes the technology of the plow and animals domesticated to pull it to achieve the leisure time available to build and craft new technologies. Brick fences were needed to keep out marauding beasts and the two legged marauders who were sure to want to exploit the hard work of those more ambitious than themselves. Nimrod should have a city for the capital of his kingdom. But something got in the way.

Genesis 11:4. Read.

I hope the mighty hunter, Nimrod was gone by the time this happened, but whether or not he was, humanity as a whole fell into sin.

Was it acceptable for Nimrod’s subjects to build a city? Of course it was. And a tower? Why not? As with any sin, the problem was not with the action itself, but the motive. Did they actually believe that the top of their tower would reach to the abiding place of God? I doubt it. They had something much more practical in mind. I believe they intended to build a tower God couldn’t make a flood deep enough to cover. They knew how many cubits above the tallest mountain the floodwaters had gone and they probably intended to go at least that much higher.

So we see their first sin: they did not believe God’s promise. In effect they called him a liar. They also were trying to provide for their own salvation. They thought if they could build their tower tall enough they wouldn’t NEED God. You can find no better example of the futility of salvation by works than the tower of Babel. Look at the next phrase in verse 4…
"and let us make us a name,"

Why on earth would they want to do that? Pride, the ORIGINAL original sin. We can hear the bold declaration of the Enemy here: "I WILL be as the Most High." God has a name, now they want one too.

"lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth."

You see, they liked living in a city. They liked the strength of being gathered together and the new luxury of leisure time. They didn’t want to spread over the earth as God had intended and instructed. Their thought? "We don’t have to obey God, if we have this tower, what can he do to us?" As Martin Luther pointed out, God has to establish a limit upon wantonness, let’s watch him do it.

Genesis 11:5. Read.

Are we to assume that the Lord was not physically present until he "came down" to see the city and the tower, or that he couldn’t see it till he did? Of course not! What we are observing is the impending interference in human affairs of a holy God. He does not do this lightly. In fact I believe he seldom does it without our invitation, but as Nimrod’s subjects are to discover, there are two ways to invite God’s intervention. One is to ask for it in prayer and supplication and the other is to ask for it as judgement for our defiance. When a child is being defiant, a parent will often say, "Billy, or Sally, you’re really asking for it." This is what is meant.

Genesis 11:6. Read.

Again, this verse has to be taken in its separate phrases. First God describes their condition as one people of a like mind and language. Then he says…
"… this they BEGIN to do."

Their defiance is already being established. He gave them the covenant of earthly government and power for good and already they are misusing it for evil. If he allows this to continue…
"… now nothing will be restrained from them, which they imagined to do."

This does not imply that humanity will become stronger and more wonderful and actually capable of confounding God’s purpose, but that their "evil imaginings" will continue and they will slide deeper and deeper into degradation and sin. Rather than let them destroy themselves, a loving God will here divide his wayward children and lead them into the paths that will one day establish the seed that will crush the serpent’s head and provide salvation for the whole, should they choose to accept it. Because this earthly government has become corrupt, the Lord will overthrow it.

The principal established here is the one followed by our writers of the Declaration of Independence. When a government becomes evil and despotic, we have not just the right, but we are following the example of God the father in overthrowing it and establishing a righteous one.

Genesis 11:7. Read.

God uses the sinners’ own words, "go to" against them. They have asked for his intervention by their behavior and now they shall have it.

Genesis 11:8. Read.

Imagine this if you will. The foreman asks for bricks and none of the workers understand him, they turn to each other and suddenly don’t recognize what their friends are saying either. Chaos reigns. Almost as if God were saying, "you want anarchy? I’ll give you REAL anarchy." People rush to their homes. I feel certain God let immediate families keep the same tongues. The whole city grinds to a halt in confusion as people run to and fro each crying out in his own language, "does anyone understand me?" As people find others who speak their language, they band together with them and draw apart by themselves. We see the division into "us" and "them". Suddenly uncomfortable with those who used to be their friends, they draw apart.

Genesis 11:9. Read.

Babel means confusion. Confusion and babbling should be a familiar concept to us in the Christian church. Let’s look at something in the New Testament, thousands of years later.

I Corinthians 14:23 and 33. Read

I say this in the strongest possible terms: To cause confusion in the assembly by speaking in different tongues without an interpreter as God commands is to repeat the sin of Babel where the arrogant children of Noah insisted they knew better than God.

But back to our passage. I spoke of the last great act of creation. It was not the tower of Confusion. The Enemy has always hated the creator and envied him and tempts man to think he can duplicate the power of the creator as he did here. To this point far back in history we can trace the roots of the secret society of the masons. We’ve looked at the fact that our Savior was a builder when he walked this earth as a man and that the word translated carpenter can also mean stone cutter or even… mason. The prideful sin of the Masonic lodge goes to their true leader, who said, "I WILL be as the most high." You can imagine the shock to men who think they can be both Masons and Christians when they reach the initiation of the highest degrees of the Masonic order and find that the Great Secret they’ve waited so long to learn is that they have to submit themselves to the belief that God and Lucifer are the same!

So the men of those days spread out over the super-continent and now I believe, is when the last great act of creation occurred, as chapter 10, verse 25 said of the days of Peleg, "the earth was divided." If you’ve ever mused on the shape of the continents on a world map or globe, it must have occurred to you that the continents would all fit together into one piece like a giant jigsaw puzzle. And I’m certain it did. In his final great act of reforming his footstool before the Tribulation to come, God spread the land masses evenly across the face of the planet and the people and the animals that had gathered in those areas became isolated from the others. What I’m saying is neither new nor radical, the science of plate tectonics has long recognized it, though without giving credit to God and saying that it took much longer than the actual process did.
At this point I’d like to quote once more from Col. Scofield’s notes:

"The history of Babel or "confusion" strikingly parallels that of the professing Church. First Unity, which represents the Apostolic Church; Ambition, using worldly, not spiritual, means, ending in a manmade unit – the papacy; and finally the confusion of tongues – Protestantism with its innumerable sects."

I wonder what the old Confederate Calvary Officer would think now could he visit some of our modern charismatic and even some mainline churches. Perhaps that the seed of confusion planted has reached full fruition.

The genealogy in the rest of the chapter shows the "rill" God is flowing off from the mainstream of humanity… the ancestry of Abram though Shem. One of the things you’ll note as you look at it carefully is that people are not living as long and they are having their children younger as the full force of the Adamic curse falls on humanity. With the vapor canopy that protected us from cosmic rays and solar radiation condensed into water and fallen to the earth in the flood, each generation lives for a shorter span. It’s only in the last century that we have begun to gain ground.

We see now at the end of chapter 11, some names that are familiar to us…

Genesis 11:26-30. Read.

We begin to follow the line of the seed that will crush the serpent’s head as it passes through Abraham. But here, he is still Abram and Sarai is still barren. At this point scripture makes an implication, that Terah was to be the one who moved his family to Canaan.

Genesis 11:31A. Read.

So he was to go to the land of Canaan. And within this verse is the reason that so much of scripture is the story we’ll never know of what might have been.

Genesis 11:31B and 32. Read.

He didn’t go to Canaan. He stopped in Haran. What if he had not? Would we be talking to this day of Father Terah instead of Father Abraham? Would the poor man Lazarus of Jesus’ parable have gone to the Bosom of Terah when he died? Would the Pharisees have called themselves the Children of Terah? We’ll never know this side of eternity. Scofield’s heading for these two verses is: "Incomplete obedience: the wasted years at Haran."

There’s little the Enemy likes better in a Christian’s life than wasted years. Having lost our souls to the Father, he goes after our years. Maybe he tempts us to a besetting sin, or convinces us for the need for more and more education, or to laziness the little folding of the hands to sleep. But the years roll by and "Only one life, will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last." What are we doing with the years God has given us friends? When the great gathering occurs at the end of time and all our chaff is burned away, what will be left?