“Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to each other, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone and they had tar for mortar. And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top reaches to the heavens. And let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered over the face of the whole earth Then God came down to see the city and the tower that humankind was building. And God said, ‘Behold, they are one people with one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. So now nothing that they intend to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand each other’s language.’ So God scattered them from there over the face of the whole earth, and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, for there God confused the language of the whole earth, and there God scattered them over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:1–9, NIV) There really is a lot going on here that you might miss if you think about this as a myth or some strange story in the Bible that does not really matter anymore. But this tower represents the troubles that still plague humanity is representative of man’s rebellion against God to this very day. We might not be building a great tower, miles high, today, but the heart of most of mankind is of the same as the men of Babel. The folks of Babel were building something with their own hands—that’s why they made their own bricks. When God called the Israelites to build something, he told them to use the stones—the very materials He had already provided. But consider this: when the legislatures of our states and countries, or the United Nations, and most local governments attempt to draw people together to do something obstensibly good—i.e. to establish justice, order, peace—it’s almost always without God. That was the sin of Babel—and it’s the sin of Danbury, Raleigh, Washington, DC and every other capital in the world. The Tower of Babel, was structure built in the land of what we would call Babylonia, some time shortly after flood. According to Genesis, the Babylonians wanted to make a name for themselves by building a mighty city and a tower “with its top in the heavens.” God disrupted the work by so confusing the language of the workers that they could no longer understand one another. The city was never completed, and the people were dispersed over the face of the earth. Now why did He do this? What was their sin? Their sin represents the root of all sins. It was pride—they wanted independence of God and His ways and hoped to establish what they had determined was better….more appropriate….more to their tastes and liking. They, like others before them and after them, wanted to draw attention to their accomplishments and get the glory.—God was not happy. So He stopped it; He separated people into different nations for the first time in human history, and chose a special group, or nation, that would soon be know of as the descendants of Abraham. So this story is more than an abandoned construction project and language confusion. It’s at the heart of the Old Testament worldview. The place the towering was being built was Babylon. Here the people sought to “make a name for themselves” by building a tower that reached to the heavens.” But when I was young I used to wonder why God stopped this tower from being built and why He appeared to “over-react” to they work by cursing them all new languages. The reason we’re given is that He was concerned about what they would attempt next. “Behold, they are one people with one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. So now nothing that they intend to do will be impossible for them.” So as a young person, I reasoned, “Well, what’s wrong with that? Was God afraid that they might overtake Him and He could somehow be deposed?” Now, I don’t think that this was the case, of course. What God said is not suggesting that these people could truly accomplish impossible things, nor was His saying that these men could do the same things as an infinite God —that would make them all “God”! This Tower of Babel is regarded by scholars as one of Mesopotamia’s famous man-made sacred mountains—a ziggurat. A ziggurat was a place where Mesopotamians believed heaven and earth intersected. The purpose of building it was to bring the divine down to earth. They wanted to become like gods. This is no different from some governments and government agencies—as well as some of us before we yielded to Jesus Christ. Friends, I know my faults—at least a few of them, and I do not want to be in control—I yield and surrender to the supremacy of Jesus Christ. I do not know what to do many times— throughout the day— and so glad that I have a Heavenly Father that is sovereign and I do not have to be! He keeps me humble with my feet on the ground. So when these folks, basically all of mankind, again decided to attempt to live without God (and of course, it’s possible—you can live without God!), God did not accept it.. Humanity had shunned God and his plan to restore Eden through them, so He found among them a man, and from that man begin a new nation—-He would start again. So God punished all the people of all the new nations for their pride, but in the next chapter of Genesis He called a man to be the father of a new, special nation. That man also came from Mesopotamia, and his name was Abraham. God took a man from the center of the rebellion and made a new nation, Israel. But in his covenant with Abram, God said that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through Abram, through his descendants (Gen. 12:1–3). From the fateful decision at Babel onward, the story of the Old Testament is about Israel versus the disinherited nations, and God versus the corrupt, false gods of those nations. The division of the nations and their allotment under other false gods is behind the scenes in all sorts of places in biblical history. And then, we have a day when all the tongues of all the nations are brought back. Do you know the day? It was the day of Pentecost—event remembered by millions of Christians each year. “And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in the same place. And suddenly a sound like a violent rushing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. And divided tongues like fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability to speak out. Now there were Jews residing in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd gathered and was in confusion, because each one was hearing them speaking in his own language. And they were astounded and astonished, saying, ‘Behold, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how do we hear, each one of us, in our own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and those residing in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya toward Cyrene, and the Romans who were in town, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own languages the great deeds of God!’ And all were amazed and greatly perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What can this mean?’” (Acts 2:1–12). The multiplicity of nations represented at Pentecost reflects back to Babel. Each nation had a national language. More importantly, all those nations referred to in Acts 2:9–11 had been disinherited by God when they were divided—but He’s now calling them back. As the Jews gathered in Jerusalem for the celebration heard and embraced the news of Jesus and his resurrection, Jews who embraced Jesus as messiah would carry that message back to their home countries—the nations. Babel’s disinheritance was going to be corrected by the message of Jesus, God incarnate, and his Spirit. The nations would again be his. I want to pause for a moment and point out something you probably are aware of. Several times in the Old Testament, and here in Genesis six particularly, there’s a “plural exhortation” that is used—the same thing happens in Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ In chapter six He said, , “Let us go down and confuse their language.” The “us”, of course, reminds us that God is “triune”, that is, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Okay, so why this message today on a failed tower built in Babylon six thousand years ago? Why the focus on how angry it got God? Because we’re still building towers of Babel today! And the enemy is giving out permits to build towers against God in overtime! I don’t mind naming names and giving specific examples. In every state in this nation, Child Protective Services, or the “Departments of Social Services”, have been given the authority to take a child away their parents, in the name of the state, and prohibit that child from ever hearing the Christian faith for as long as the state has control of that child. God is totally removed from Protective Child Services in our nation because those building that tower for child-care have determined that raising a child has nothing to do with God! When I was licensed as a foster care parent the course and presentation we were required to endure had nothing to do with God, His commands or even the suggestion He existed. Our foster care towers, in all 50 states, are a mess and children and youth are, spiritually speaking, babbling. God has been removed from our schools, our military, our national assembles, and if some have their way, even our dollar bills. Our elected leaders are babbling and refusing to affirm, establish and create institutions that honor God. What is wrong with us! Can you point to a single national leader, anywhere in the world, that is sold out to God and committed to honoring Him in the manner in which he or she is building up their nation? But more to the practical point in our lives, are we creating our own towers of Babel? You know, a denomination can become a tower of Babel. It might have begun committed to honoring the Son and worshiping the Father, but the main line churches are often at odds with seeking God and His will and are instead pleasing it’s members. Are we seeking God to honor God in all that we do in this church? Or is there another agenda?
And what about your life and your work? What towers are your creating, right now, that bring honor and glory to you but have nothing to do with God? Is He directing your paths, as you seek Him every day, or do you find yourself stumbling, bumbling and muttering through the day? God is not the author of confusion—-the devil is. The world around you might be babbling, but if you are looking to Him, following the Son, and being led by the Spirit, your words and your very life will inspire others to stop building towers and start worshipping the real God.