Saturday, June 6, 2009

Are you building a Tower?

Today's lesson revolved around the beginning of Genesis 11. The first part of this chapter is about the the Tower of Babel. Noah's family has survived the flood, and generations have come. The earth is being repopulated. 

The theme here : We keep doing the same things over and over. 

You would think that having come in after God has completely wiped out all other life on the planet save for you and yours it would take a little longer for mankind to jump back into the same old life. However, the story in Genesis 11 is that man forgets what happens and why it happened.

Over and over in the passage we find that the Tower is a testament to man's glory and not God's.
"...come let us build ourselves....let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth." excerpts Genesis 11:4 (ESV)
It was all about them. They were trying to be like God and escape God's commands.

They had forgotten that everything was gift from God. They were taking the very gifts that God had given them and were perverting and abusing them. God had given them the gift of speech which allowed them to communicate with one another and with him. They were using this gift to defy God.

Mankind is no exception to this perversion of God's gift. Speaking about speech specifically, we lade it with profanity, use it to pervert the gift of sex i.e. 1-800 phone sex numbers, con and lie to people with our speech, and spew hate and racism. I am no exception to this sin. I struggle to keep my language clean and at times to tell the truth. I have said things that promoted hate and not love. Admittedly I have not called a phone sex number, but in God's eyes I have already sinned.

Still in the midst of this story of man's arrogance and his failure, God's grace and mercy are shown. He had promised not to destroy all life again, and these people were committing the same sins that had led to his wrath before.

And the Lord said, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propse to do will now be impossible for them." Genesis 11:6 (ESV)
He saw that the world was on the same track as before and he moves to prevent man's decline.
"Come, let us go down and there confuse thier language so that they may not understand one another's speech." Genesis 11:7 (ESV)
God's confusion of their language is an act of mercy on mankind. He moves to save them from their own sin. His will is done despite mankind's attempt to defy him.

Even today we are using our gifts to build Tower's to our own glory and defy God.
Some examples:
  • longevity research
  • attempting to escape the boundaries of earth by living in space
In and of themselves these things are not bad, just as building a tower was not bad. But when we build those towers, study those things for our own glory and to defy the will and commands of God then they become sin. When we seek to escape his will, we have trailed into the realm of sin.

What are your Towers? How are they hindering your relationship with the Father? 

As I talked about Noah in my last post, we are often called to live on faith. The builders of the Tower of Babel were called to live on faith. God's command to Noah,
..."Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth." Genesis 9:1b (ESV)
The were called to have faith that God would provide for them as they filled the earth. They choose not to have faith as shown in verse 4 when they proclaim their reason for building the tower.  
"...lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. " Genesis 11:4b (ESV)
They choose to rely on their own skills and ingenuity. Still as the passage comes to a close we find that God's will was fulfilled despite their attempts to defy him.

So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Genesis 11:8 (ESV) 
...And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:9b (ESV)
His will is done no matter what you do. You can try to build Tower's in defiance of him, but you can not escape his will. We have to find and tear down those tower's in our lives that are a testament to our glory and start building a tower out of our life that is for the glory of God.

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