Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Tower Of Babel: United For Sin - Genesis 11:3-4 Bible Commentary

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. 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 11:3-4)
Pride and fame go hand in hand. A proud man wants fame so that everyone can love him as much as he loves himself. Proud people put their confidence in what they do.

Pride For The Tower Of Babel

The people who constructed the Tower of Babel might have thought that they were building a structure that would reach the heavens, but pride had twisted their minds. They didn't realize that they were drops of water, riding through space on the speck of dust that is the Earth, marveling at their tiny tower.

Their pride made them believe they were building something fantastic. Like Satan, in their pride they strove to "ascend to heaven" and set themselves "above the stars of God" (Isaiah 14:13-14). The builders planned to make this ascent in a tower made of brick and mortar. Then they would be able to make a name for themselves— a name greater than God's.

Fame Because Of The Tower Of Babel

The ironic twist is that the early Babylonians did make a name for themselves! They got fame. God has etched their story into the Scriptures. For the rest of history, they will serve as a Pharisaic-like reminder to fight against pride. They are an example to us of the stupidity of intentionally disobeying God.

Utopia Through The Tower Of Babel

After the Flood, God commanded Noah and his descendants to spread throughout the whole earth. The people of the post-Flood world, however, refused to obey. They wanted to remain together: united in one group, united for sin.

They were seeking to create an ideal city with Nimrod at their head (Genesis 10:8-10). They were pursuing utopia, but their political philosophy had the same problem that so many others have had. It eliminated God. It elevated man to the center of society. Read again the words that they spoke: "Come, let us make bricks... let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves". God had no role in their utopia.

They were building a city for their own glory, not God's. In building the city, they thought that they could avoid being dispersed over the face of the whole earth. How very wrong they were! God had just sent a global flood upon the disbelieving world, wiping everyone out. How did these early Babylonians think they would escape His righteous anger?

Disobedience At The Tower Of Babel

The pre-Flood world had been commanded to fill the earth, and presumably, they were obedient (Scripture doesn't tell us otherwise). Sadly, the post-Flood world failed to obey this command, which means that the people of the pre-Flood world were more obedient than the post-Flood world in this area!

Surely the Tower of Babel is yet one more proof of the greatness of our God! He is a God who is slow to anger! He keeps His covenants and His promises. God could have destroyed the builders of the Tower of Babel the moment they thought of refusing to fill the earth, but He didn't.

Instead, God chose to to let man walk in disobedience upon the face of the earth. For a while, God let the early Babylonians built their city, but He did not let them enjoy the fruits of their evil labor for long. The day of the dispersion was coming. Judgment was near.

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