Wednesday, January 6

Babel

Scripture: Genesis 11-12, Luke 6

Observation

The story of the tower of Babel is fascinating and confusing.  What were they trying to do and why did God oppose them?  The New Bible Commentary considers it God’s judgment on human pride and idolatry.

“Babylon was famed for its temple tower or ziggurat, whose foundations were in the underworld and whose top was in the heavens. No, says Genesis, so far from reaching heaven, Babel’s tower could hardly be seen from there—the Lord had to come down to see it (5). Babel means ‘gate of god’, and Babylon considered itself closer to god than anywhere else on earth. It regarded itself as the religious, intellectual and cultural capital of the ancient world, the showpiece of human civilization. ‘Rubbish’ says v 9, Babel does not mean ‘gate of god’ but ‘confusion’ or ‘folly’, and far from human wisdom, Babylon’s ruined ziggurat, shows human impotence before the judgment of God. Put in modern terms the building of the city and tower may be seen as a human bid for self-achieved security on the basis of technological progress. ‘Man proposes, but God disposes.’”

The people wanted to make a name for themselves.  Rather than trusting God, they took matters into their own hands. In Gen 12, God promises to make a name for Abram.  He simply trusted God to do what He promised.

The people didn’t want to be scattered, even though God had commanded them to fill the earth.  Their efforts to defy God and be in charge resulted in the very thing they feared: they were scattered.

 

Application

Trust and obey.  That’s the way to a blessed life.  Pride and disobedience lead to disaster.  Don’t think that you know better than God.  You don’t.  Don’t try to make a name for yourself; be about His glory.  Don’t take matters into your own hands—listen to God, do what He says and trust Him with the results.  Human pride always leads to our downfall.  Trust God and do what He says.

Prayer: Lord, I don’t want to be like the people of Babel, striking out on my own rather than listening to You.  Help me to always lean in, listen and trust and obey!