©  Jeff Stacey   |   Last updated:  18 February 2019

3B24.  Further acute heart-testing situations for all people:

(a)  God continued to permit situations where people’s commitment to Him was challenged by God’s Enemy through their circumstances, self-centredness and influences upon each other
(b)  Yet these situations were also new opportunities God was giving people to carry out His Covenantal commission 

3B24(title)  Further acute heart-testing situations for all people

How things would actually work out for all people still depended on whether they were wholeheartedly committed to God.  Would they choose to obey His Covenantal requirements?  Sooner or later their commitment would be challenged through acute heart-testing situations.  The true motivations of their hearts would be shown by their initial reactions and then responses.

3B24(a)  God continued to permit situations where people’s commitment to Him was challenged by God’s Enemy through their circumstances, self-centredness and  influences upon each other

God permitted His Enemy to continue challenging people’s commitment, as He had for Cain Gen 4:7.  Being opportunistic, God’s Enemy used any of their circumstances that were to his advantage.  Each person’s temptations to not be fully committed to God were mostly due to their self-centred drives for indulgence and pride-protection, especially in their interactions with each other.  

I have identified seven cycles in Era 3 of these acute heart-testing situations, initial reactions and responses, as detailed below.

3B24(b)  Yet these situations were also new opportunities God was giving people to carry out His Covenantal commission

God had not withdrawn the people’s freedom of choice.  Their reactions and responses were up to them.  All of these acutely challenging situations were new opportunities for people to respond to God wholeheartedly and carry out His Covenantal commission.  But God’s Enemy also took these situations as his opportunity to provoke people to sin.

3B24 is clearly the central feature of Chart 3B (similar to [2B24] in Chart 2B).  These acute heart-testing situations were the “driver” of all the rest of the Chart.  In these situations the heart-responses to God of each person were revealed and were crucial.  They resulted in spiritual and physical consequences for themselves and their wider communities.

Arrow 3B21  ->  3B24

This arrow indicates the vital role of God’s instructions for people when faced with acute heart-testing situations.  These were how they knew some of the right ways to respond.

Arrow 3B23 -> 3B24

This arrow indicates the relentless attempts by God’s Enemy to influence people to disobey God’s instructions.


Seven cycles of acute heart-testing situations and responses have been identified as significant and are selected for closer scrutiny, as follows.

For ease of reading, the detailed explanations follow the sequence of the biblical text rather than the numbering of the Chart boxes.  The next section in each cycle is found by clicking on “Continue to…” at the end of the section you have read.

Cycle 1

Gen 6:9 – 8:19

3B24(a)(i)  God told Noah to build a big rescue ship and also specified what people and creatures he was to take on board

God directed Noah to build a big rescue ship or “ark”, 140m long x 23m wide x 13.5m high (450 x 75 x 45 feet) Gen 6:15.  When finished, he was to enter it along with his family Gen 6:18.  He was also to take with him one breeding pair of every kind of land creature and seven breeding pairs of all kinds of birds and “clean” animals, with food to keep them all alive Gen 6:19-20,21,  7:2-3.

Noah would have been challenged to carry out all of these extraordinary directions from God.  The prevailing circumstances would have made them seem ridiculous to the people of his time Gen 6:9b.

Continue to 3B26(a)

Cycle 2

Gen 8:20 – 9:17

3B24(a)(ii)  Noah and all with him emerged safely from the Ark

Having survived the FLOOD so dramatically, Noah would have been challenged by many aspects of his extraordinary new situation.

Continue to 3B26(b) 

Cycle 3

Gen 9:18-21

3B24(a)(iii)  Noah was “a man of the soil”

Noah was characterized as “a man of the soil” Gen 9:20a.  He would have faced choices about what to cultivate after the FLOOD.  One option was to plant a vineyard and later make wine from the grapes.  He must have known from pre-FLOOD times how to make wine and that it could make him drunk.  So his own thoughts and heart desires would have been challenged concerning his intentions in planting a vineyard with a view to wine-making.

Continue to 3B28(a)

Cycle 4

Gen 9:22

3B24(a)(iv)  Ham was curious to look into his father’s tent

Ham, the youngest of Noah’s three sons Gen 9:18-19,24b probably knew that his father had been drinking excessively and had gone intoxicated to his tent.  Ham may then have been wondering about his father’s condition and curious as to his behaviour when drunk.

Yet it was unlikely that Ham would look into his father’s tent “accidentally” or unless invited.  Cultural protocols for privacy and respect were later demonstrated by his two brothers [see 3B26(c)].  So Ham should have known that to go and look into his father’s tent would not be “doing what was right”.

Ham’s commitment to God was being challenged in these circumstances.

Continue to 3B30(a)

Cycle 5

Gen 9:23

3B24(a)(v)  Shem and Japheth were told by Ham about their father’s drunken condition

Ham told his older brothers Shem and Japheth about their father’s drunken nakedness Gen 9:22b.  This would have put them under the same temptations of curiosity that Ham had experienced.  So their heart-commitment to God was being challenged by Ham’s “gossip” about Noah’s condition.

Continue to 3B26(c)

Cycle 6

Gen 9:24-29

3B24(a)(vi)  Noah awoke from his drunkenness and found out what Ham, Shem and Japheth had done

When Noah awoke he would have been in a rather dissipated condition.  Then hearing such an embarrassing report of Ham’s actions Gen 9:24 would have put him under pressure to react by not doing what was right.  So Noah’s heart-commitment to God was being challenged by his own dissipation, humiliation and Ham’s disrespect, as well as by the honorable actions of Shem and Japheth.

Continue to 3B25(a)

Cycle 7

Gen 11:1-9

3B24(a)(vii)  People were thinking of settling permanently on a plain in Shinar, building a city and a high tower to honour themselves

God’s Covenantal blessing had declared UNCONDITIONALLY His intention that all people would “be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth” Gen 9:1b,7 [3A11(a)].  But this would require a migratory existence.  Some land areas might also be barren.  These and other factors could well have tested their willingness to have many children or make moves to new territory.

Some people had migrated to a plain in Shinar and settled there Gen 11:2.  Then they discussed the idea of never migrating any further but instead building a city with a very high tower Gen 11:4a.

Their motivation for erecting this “world’s highest skyscraper” was to gain fame for themselves Gen 11:4b.  The tower was probably for defence against being forced to flee as refugees Gen 11:4c.  But having the highest tower could get them prestige through military dominance over other surrounding peoples and control of territory.1

They were thinking about establishing a city culture founded on principles of non-migration and self-glorification.  So their heart-commitment to God and willingness to carry out His Covenantal commission were being challenged by their desire to rely upon and honour themselves instead of God.

Continue to 3B30(b)


1. W.J.Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation, page 60.  Their later descendant Nimrod did gain fame as both “a mighty hunter before the LORD” and a “mighty warrior” Gen 10:8-9,10-12.  Although he was “scattered” from “the first centres of his kingdom” at and near Babylon, he apparently invaded other territories in Assyria where he built cities. 

Note that the events in Genesis 10:1-32 occurred later than Genesis 11:1-9 [see 3B31(b)(ii)](Return to reading).