Let’s look at Genesis 11, the story of the Tower of Babel. As you probably know, this is the story of how it came to be that there are many different languages and dialects spoken around the world. Prior to this event, since the Creation everyone spoke one common language. According to the definitive source on the subject, Ethnologue, as of 2009 there were a little over 6,900 languages spoken in the world. Let’s look at what happened from two perspectives, Motive versus Method.
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
Things to think about:
- Starting with Motive, it’s easy to understand why God would be displeased with the effort to build the tower if we just look at the word choice of the builders - US, OURSELVES, WE, OURSELVES, WE
- clearly this work could have been code named “Project Pride”. A primary motivation was ”so that we may make a name for ourselves”.
- God’s Word tell us in Isaiah 42: 8 - “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
- in what ways does modern man try to make a name for himself?
- the people were also operating out of a sense of fear - in this case the fear of being scattered across the globe.
- unfortunately, being scattered is exactly what God had commanded them to do since this event occurred not too long after the flood and the Earth needed to be repopulated (in chapter 9 God told them to “increase in number and fill the earth”
- operating out of fear is never in keeping with God’s plan. 1 John 4:18 says “ There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.”
- Have you ever experienced building your own tower to address fear?
- the other problem with the tower is that they were trying to ascend to God’s domain, the heavens.
- there are loads of verses on this but to pick just one, Psalm 103:19 - "The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.”
- The other dimension to explore here is that of Method.
- I started with Motive because their motive messed up a pretty good Method. They were focused on an agreed upon goal, working as a team, and communicating well.
- think about how effective the Church would be if those things could be said of us: “You know those Christians are amazing! They are all focused on loving God and loving people, they work as a team and don’t splinter off into a thousand different denominations, and they don’t split hairs on word choice or other trivial matters.” Oh, wait a minute…
- How is God’s work hampered by a lack of unity with His children?
- When have you seen great things accomplished when Christians come together?
- These builders definitely had God’s attention because He saw the power they were exerting in their misguided unity.
- verse 6 - “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”
- God knows that we have tremendous power when we work together. So what does the Bible say about working as a team?
- 1 Corinthians 1:10 - I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
- John 17:23 (this is Jesus praying) - " I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
- How can we take the lessons on Motive and Method and apply them to our lives in 2017?
- Love must be our motive
- 1 Corinthians 16:14 - Everything you do must be done with love.
- God has work for us to do
- Ephesians 2:10 - For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
- Unity of purpose
- (this bears repeating) John 17:23 - I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
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