January 15, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 11:1-9

The Tower of Babel is a familiar story. Though it is short in length, it is tremendous in importance. The Tower of Babel is the culmination of the sinfulness of the people, the end of a downward spiral we have been following in this book since the Garden of Eden. Here, a unified humanity decides to use new technology, the brick, to build a civilization for themselves. Remember that in chapter 9, God commanded Noah to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” now in our text today, that command is seemingly lost and forgotten as seen in the ambition to build a city. Notice the way the ESV records this episode:

1 “Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

Genesis 11:1-4 

It seems that God is completely absent from the people in these events. Notice, the goal is to bring glory to their own name for the things they have done rather than give that praise to God.

Today, consider the heart of these people.  They built a city in order not to “be dispersed over the face of the whole earth,” because they desired to have security. They built a tower “with it’s top in the heavens,” because they desired to be praised. Both of these desires, while not entirely evil, are in opposition to God.

How often to we seek our protection outside of God and look for ways to make a name for ourselves rather than praise the God who created us?  Try to pause and consider your own heart.  Are there things in your life that exist to offer you security outside of God? Are there schemes you’ve created or towers that you have built for your own praise?

Remember to place God first today and trust Him for your security.  Give Him the praise and glory that He is due!

By: Alex Boswell

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Author: cpclexington

Lexington & Richmond KY

6 thoughts on “January 15, 2016”

  1. Thank you for this Alex! Even though I’ve heard the story since i was a kid, I’ve always puzzled over it (aside from the obvious fact that Babel is why we have so many languages.). But you unpacked this passage in a way that will have me pondering it all day!

    I wonder how often I’ve been guilty of this very thing: accomplishing something great and becoming frustrated when I don’t receive any recognition, all the while forgetting that is was God who gave me the ability to do that great thing in the first place.

    Isn’t it interesting how today we are actively trying to circumvent what God established at Babel? We have the technology to overcome language and distance barriers, thus men build global empires and slap their name on the thing. Most leave it at that, but I’m always inspired by the ones who remember that their wealth exists for a greater purpose.

  2. “let us make a name for ourselves” (v.4b)

    Great commentary today Alex. I have traveled to Chicago & NYC a number of times over my career on business. There are several towers reaching the sky built by a man whose name starts with a “T” and ends with a “rump”. I’m sure these buildings are functional for office space, living, entertainment, etc. however they appear mainly to have been built to bring glory to one man’s name.

    God help us to build, or rent, buildings that bring glory to the name that is above all names, JESUS!

  3. The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” – Isaiah 56:8

    GOD’S work flow is that of gathering. There was a time when it was scattering. Man built the tower of Babel which was intended to be the center of unity, the armory of power and the seat of dominion from where some mighty Nimrod might sway his scepter over all the human race. But the Lord would not have it so. Infinite wisdom baffled finite ambition! Man’s center is not God’s center and, therefore, He confounded their language and scattered them into nations by which the whole earth has been inhabited.

    Now the Lord is gathering together in one the children of God which are scattered abroad. His Son Jesus Christ has descended and dwelt among us, working out our redemption and now, exalted in the highest heavens, He is God’s appointed Center of His people!

  4. Great thoughts, Alex. Like many people, I do tend to place a lot of my security in things other than God—insurance, savings, planning, a home, and a few other things.
    For folks who might wonder about the reliability of the Bible, this story—more than any historical, scientific, or sociological explanation— serves to explain why two people groups separated by thousands of miles, and vast cultural differences, can have languages that have an almost identical linguistic structure. Korean is most similar, linguistically, to Turkish. The dispersal at Babel explains this easily while secular linguists still scratch their heads over it.
    Peter D’S

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