Saturday, January 30, 2010

Therefore is the name of it called Babel

Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
Genesis 11:9 KJV

It is amazing what we can do if we put our minds to it. That goes for both good and evil. Fallen mankind has shown an incredible capacity for evil. Just look at history -- Sodom, Jesus' crucifixion, the Holocaust, the killing fields of Cambodia, just to name a few.

Nothing we do is beyond the view of God. This is clearly demonstrated in the story of the Tower of Babel. Mankind was cooperating. And that's a good thing, right? I mean, could we all "just get along" as someone once said in the midst of a terrible riot. But, I guess that depends on what we are trying to accomplish.

In this story man is trying to build a tower that reaches all the way to the heavens. I am not even going to ask why if you want to build a tower to the heavens you would build it on the Plains of Shinar instead of the nearby mountains. I mean, wouldn't the mountains sort of give you a head start height wise?

Apparently man was succeeding in his efforts. So much that God decided to take a closer look. And what he saw showed that man had already forgotten the miracle of God's protection for Noah and his family on the Ark.

The heart of Noah's descendants and the bricks and asphalt used to build the tower of Babel show that it was not only disobedient to God’s command to fill the earth as God commanded in Genesis 9:1, but it also shows they did not believe God’s promise to never again flood the earth. A waterproof tower was being made to “protect” man against some potential future deluge.

So, what is it there for?

This story is there to remind us that God's promises are true and they are never ending. man has always gotten into trouble when we have lost sight of that. And it is there to demonstrate more of God's mercy than God's judgment. God, in separating man linguistically and geographically, put a check on the power of his fallen nature. In actuality, God was reaching out in grace and was trying to keep man from further damaging the relationship between God and man.

The whole account of what happened at Babel with its organized rebellion against God, and its direct distrust of God’s promise shows man hasn’t gotten any better since the flood. Time, progress, government, and organization have made man better off, but definitely not any better.

But from this point forward God will begin to make man better, and He will start as He always starts: with a man who will do His will, even if he does not do His will perfectly. The story of the Tower of Babel moves quickly from this point and begins to tell the story of Abram. Abram, who would some day become Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation.

But that's another story . . .

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