Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Tower Of Babel: The Dispersion - Genesis 11:8-9 Bible Commentary

Nothing is hidden from God's gaze, yet people convince themselves that they can get away with rebellion against Him.

Human rebellion against God started in the Garden of Eden. Then it spread. Cain murdered Abel, and soon enough, violence filled the pre-Flood world.

In response, God decided to send a catastrophic flood. For a moment, it appeared that the rebellion had been squashed. Yet sin still haunted the eight people on the ark.

After the flood, Noah fell prey to sin. He became drunk. What a testimony it is to our fallen natures that Noah, a man described as "blameless in his generation" (Genesis 6:9), was the one who stained the first pages of the post-Flood world with sin! If only that had been the last sin-stained page!

Sadly, the page that follows Noah's fall is filled with more stains. The Tower of Babel is yet farther evidence of what God said immediately after the Flood: that "the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Genesis 8:21).
So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
Stop for a moment and think about the mercy God displayed toward the builders of the Tower of Babel.

Do you see any death mentioned in this passage?

Did God strike the early Babylonians with disease? Or, at the very least, did He give them a few scars?

What great mercy God showed the early Babylonians! They raised their fists in rebellion. In response, God relaxed His fist (so to speak), opened up His hand, gathered all the Babylonians up, and dispersed them throughout the earth. What great mercy!

We are not told exactly how God dispersed them. Perhaps simply changing their language was enough to cause them to disperse. Or, perhaps God dispersed them more directly, just as He moved Philip in the New Testament:
And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:39-40)
Perhaps the early Babylonians were happily building their tower when
all of a sudden
they found themselves
in a different place.

When they opened their mouths
words came out they had never heard
yet somehow understood.

Is this not evidence of the sovereignty of God? That He can do whatever He wants with His creation? He can scatter humanity throughout the globe as He pleases. He can even inject completely new languages into the human brain! Is not God the potter and man the clay?

Notice also that the passage does not say that God destroyed the city or tower of Babel. Why? Because the city wasn't the problem! The tower of Babel was made of bricks and mortar. Bricks are inanimate objects. They can't be evil. They were, however, were used with evil intent.

The hearts of the early Babylonians were the problem. Let this be a lesson for us. How many times have you sought to destroy the bricks in your life without tackling the problems in your heart? The material creation around you may be corrupt, but it is from your heart that come forth evil desires that make you want to participate in such corruption.

Let us never fall into the trap of those early Babylonians. Let us never think that our thoughts are hidden from our God— that we can get away with rebellion. Rather, let us cling tight to God, and cry out as David did, "You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy" (Psalm 61:3).

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