What Was So Wrong with the Tower of Babel? — (Part One) — I’m the Man!

 

Click to read What Was So Wrong with The Tower of Babel?

  

“They said to one another, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city,
and a tower whose top will reach into heaven,
and let us make for ourselves a name,
otherwise we will be scattered abroad
over the face of the whole earth.’”
~ Genesis 11:4

The people of Babel wanted to build the first skyscraper, but God wouldn’t give them a building permit. Why not?

God surely didn’t feel threatened that they’d actually build a tower so tall they could sneak into heaven and form some sort of revolt.

So what was the big deal?

What was so wrong about the Tower of Babel that God would come down in person and mix up their language, creating a babbling rabble all over a single tower?

God’s reaction seems extreme – sort of like God’s reaction to Cain and his offering seemed extreme.

(Check out “What Was So Wrong with Cain’s Offering” if you want to know the truth about that situation.)

Fortunately, God’s character never changes. He’s always just, good, and right.

Therefore, we only need to take a closer to see the truth jump out:

Back in Genesis 9 – long before the first brick was laid for the tower – Noah and his family stepped out of the ark into a new world and received this command from God:

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” ~ Genesis 9:1

How wonderful it would’ve been if they’d populated the world with holy and righteous children eager to follow God.

However, as I discussed in The Red Thread in Noah’s Ark — The Man, only Noah was found holy in God’s eyes – and he was only “considered” holy. That’s not the same as actually being holy.

We don’t even make it out of Genesis 9 before Noah’s son Ham reveals himself as a bad seed.

Ham’s seed sprouts a bunch of trouble, and the trouble centers itself in Babel around this particular tower.[1]

At this time, Noah’s descendants are moving around and “the whole earth used the same language and the same words.”[2]

Along the way, they came upon the land of Shinar and “settled there.”[3]

This is what started the problem – or should I say more accurately – revealed the problem.

They said to one another, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth (Genesis 11:4).”

 

Let’s break this verse down and expose the root of the problem to find out what was so wrong with building the Tower of Babel:

 

1. Self-Rule

They said to one another, ‘Come’”

The people in Shinar didn’t want to obey God and go out and fill the earth.

God had told everyone, “Go.”

They told everyone, “Come.”

In other words, each said to God in their heart: 

“No. You’re not the boss of me. I do as I please.”

Even from a young age, we want to do what we want to do. When our youngest was three, and we told her it was time to go to sleep, she’d stick out her bottom lip and say, “No! I don’t want to go to fleep.”

Yes, she said, “fleep.” She couldn’t say “sleep.” It’s a lot cuter for a 3-year old to say she doesn’t want to go to fleep than it is to tell God, No. 

 

2. Self-Indulgence

“Let us build for ourselves a city and a tower
whose top will reach into heaven”

“Just a little bit more.” 

John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest men in American history, uttered those words when asked how much money would be “enough.” 

“Just a little bit more.” 

The people of Shinar weren’t content to wait on the Lord to provide. 

We’ll take care of ourselves how we want.

We’ll provide for ourselves what we want.

They looked at God’s command much the same way Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. They saw God’s command as keeping something good from them, not providing the greatest good for them.

Give me! Give me! Give me! I need! I need! I need!

 

3. Self-Exaltation

 “and let us make for ourselves a name”

Me! Me! Me! It’s all about Me!

They wanted the world to see how amazing they were. They wanted to make their name famous.

Their theme song could have been “The Man” by Aloe Blacc. “I’m the man! I’m the man! I’m the man!”

They couldn’t speak the world into existence or cause a world wide flood and dry the earth up again.

They couldn’t set the sun and moon in place nor create even a blade of grass, but they desired to be worshipped none the less.

Don’t we all, truth be told.

It really is about the attitude of the heart — that deceitfully wicked thing

Their purpose for coming together and building the tower was so they would be exalted on high to the praise of their great name. 

“I’m the man! I’m the man! I’m the man!”

 

4. Unbelief

“otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’”

We could be tempted to give them the benefit of the doubt that they just didn’t understand God’s command to scatter and fill the earth, except for what we just read:

“otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.

There goes any excuse of ignorance.

These people knew God’s command full well and didn’t like it. They issued their own command in full defiance of God.

Unbelief was at the root of their rebellion.

They didn’t believe the promises of God that He would care for them.

They didn’t believe God’s plan was the best plan for them.

It’s not that they didn’t believe in God or believe that He had any power. We know they did because they state they need to come together or else they’ll “be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”  

Scattered abroad by who? The wind?

They thought if they banded together they could keep God from scattering them. 

They know it’s going to take all of them to defy God, but they felt they were men enough to do it.

“I’m the man! I’m the man! I’m the man!”

They had belief in themselves, but not in God or His promises.

Big mistake.

 

To sum it up: 

The people of Shinar wanted to
rule themselves,
exalt themselves,
and indulge themselves,
because they didn’t believe in the promises of God.

We haven’t changed much, have we?

 

In my next post we’ll look at God’s reaction to their plan. It’s curious and astounding.

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[1] One of Ham’s seed was the original Nimrod and the first world ruler. He established a kingdom, which included none other than Babel (Genesis 10:8-10).




Monday Music — We Won’t Be Shaken (Building 429)

Click photo to view video: Music Monday: "We Won't Be Shaken!" by Building 429 ~    "Like a tree planted by the water . . . " ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8

Click photo to view video at bottom of the post: Music Monday: “We Won’t Be Shaken!” by Building 429 ~ “Like a tree planted by the water . . . ” ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8

 

Has your mountain risen higher?

Does your way seem unclear?

These two thoughts have crossed my mind lately since my husband resigned from the partnership of his firm.

Nevertheless, we won’t be shaken.

Chapter Two of Larry’s career was supposed to be retirement, not uncertainty.

Who just walks away during times like these? We have two in college — next year we’ll have three.

But when God calls, you go.

We will trust in You. 

It was clear to us that God was calling Larry to resign, but so unclear what God is calling him to do next.

But we won’t forget that You go with us, so we won’t fear.

Whatever comes our way, our eyes are on the Lord, and therefore, we won’t be shaken.

No matter where God calls us, we’re safer in the center of His will than we could be anywhere else in the world.

We will trust in Him.

What are you facing today? 

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in Him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
~ Jeremiah 17:7-8

Powerful verses!

Who could doubt God after reading those words of truth?

But look at the next verse!

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?”
~ Jeremiah 17:9

Hmmmm.

Trust God, but don’t you dare trust your feelings.

Maybe your feelings will align with truth, but more likely, they won’t.

If you’re feeling afraid, anxious, or despairing — if you’re feeling shaken — your feelings are failing you and ignoring the truth in God’s Word.

The heart is such a tricky thing — a deceitful thing. There’s no cure for the deceit, but there is an answer.

We can’t make the sun rise in the middle of the night, but we can turn on a light.

Christ is the light that shines into the darkness. He goes before us, behind us, and beside us, and therefore…

Whatever comes our way, we won’t be shaken.

Christ will never lead you some place only to abandon you.

He may lead you into a fiery furnace or the pouring rain, but if He does, He’ll keep you safe and bring you out without even the smell of smoke on you — and then you’ll have the coolest story to tell.

Am I really not afraid in these uncertain times?

Yes, I’m really not afraid. I’m actually excited to see where God’s taking us!

Thank you, Building 429! This song is a powerful anthem for all of us who have no idea where God is taking us next.

But we won’t be shaken!  

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If you’ve faced an uncertain time in your life, how did God strengthen you and/or guide you? Please share in the comments. I’d really love to hear from you. 

If Building 429’s song encouraged you, I hope you’ll share it with others so they can be encouraged too. (Use the handy share buttons.)

And if you feel led to pray, Larry and I would greatly appreciate your prayers for clear guidance from the Lord as we move forward in Chapter Two of his career. Thanks!

Are you currently going through uncertain times of your own? How can we pray for you? Share in the comments. 🙂

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Read these related posts: 

Click to read post: What God Begins, He Finishes!

Click to read post: What God Begins, He Finishes!

Click to view: Chris Tomlin in "God of This City" Greater Things Are Yet To Come!

Click to view: Chris Tomlin in “God of This City” Greater Things Are Yet To Come!

Click to review post: If God Weren't In Control

Click to read post: If God Weren’t In Control

Click to Tweet: Whatever may come my way, I won’t be shaken! Listen Now: Monday Music — We Won’t Be Shaken (Building 429)




I Can’t Watch! — Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Conformed to Christ Through Football

FOOTBALL IS BACK!

 

This Football is Back video? That I can watch. It gets my football blood pumping!  

But Clemson football? I confess I love it so much that I can’t watch it.

How pathetic is that?

I confess that last season I often sat in a movie theater during a game instead of in the stadium or in front of my TV cheering my Tigers on.

Yes, I’m appropriately horrified and ashamed.

I just couldn’t stand the stress of a close game.

Give me a blowout any day! (I’m talking about where we blow out the other team, NOT vice versa. Those are just dumb.)

But because I’m committing to being conformed to Christ through football, starting this season, I commit to watching the Tigers play live — not just on my DVR after I know they’ve won.

Or rather, I should say, starting this weekend.

I didn’t actually get to see the Clemson – UGA game. Did they play? I haven’t heard.

Just kidding! Believe me, I heard! I saw the clips, I picked my chin up off the ground, and I mourned. Good game, UGA. Just wait ’til last year!

While I didn’t see the game, it wasn’t my usual nerves or whimpiness that kept me from watching, however. It was because, as much as I love my Tigers, I love my daughter even more.

I stood on the sidelines her soccer tournament cheering her on instead.

Are you concerned that I need to get over this football obsession and move onto issues of life that really matter?

Are you thinking: Surely God doesn’t care about football?

Au contraire! I maintain He does.

How can God not care about something that builds perseverance and character, exposes our faith as well as the object of our faith, and unearths our pride and shapes our humility?

And I’m not even talking about the players — I’m talking about the fans!

On top of all that, we get to wear outlandish outfits and eat great food!

Now I am talking about the players. (I don’t know what to think about the Steelers’ bumble bee/elf uniforms.)

It’s a win-win, unless of course we lose.

We lose, not when the scoreboard declares it, but when our heart does.

When our heart demands a victory on the scoreboard to feel victorious, then we’ve really lost.

And that’s why I think God cares about football, but perhaps not in the same way I do.

I’ve just wanted my Tigers to win and never feel the pain of loss. I’ve wanted the easy path for our players and coaches – and myself.

I’ve changed my mind, though.

Not about winning, but about the path to get there.

I still want my Tigers to win, but not more than I want them to become men of godly character who learn to fully trust God and praise Him in the victories and the losses.

I want them to have a successful season, but not more than I want them to be drawn to the Lord and conformed into the image of Christ.

Who’s to say, but God, what path will draw them and conform them more?

I’m going to celebrate each win with ecstatic joy!

I’m also going to embrace the losses — yes, I actually said embrace — because I know that God has a good purpose for the losses in their lives, as well as in mine.

It’s all about growing in faith and learning to ensure that the object of our faith remains God, not other things, like football – and that’s why I’m committed to watching Clemson football this season.

It sounds like I’m stretching it here to rationalize my spending time and money on a bunch of guys chasing after an oblong ball for bragging rights – and if you read my post, Love & Hate: Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Conformed to Christ Through Footballyou know I don’t even like “bragging rights.”

I’m not being flippant. I’m actually serious.

Football is a safe spiritual training ground.

Safe for me, that is. I’m sitting in the stands, not facing a Defensive Line.

and I need to be trained.

We all do!

Conformed to Christ through Football!

Conformed to Christ through Football!

 

Think about it:

If I’m not willing to trust God with any and every result of a football game, how likely will I be to trust Him about something that actually, really matters in my life? 

Whether Clemson wins or loses matters in Dabo Swiney’s life – it’s called job security vs unemployment.

Clemson’s win-loss record changes Dabo’s life, but it doesn’t change one thing in mine.

And even Dabo can rest in the losses, because God remains sovereign in his life. God will never fail him.

How can I preach embracing God’s sovereignty, but live in dread of a possible loss and wallow in it when it comes?

I’m thankful to God for my football obsession, because to me, it’s a gracious gift that God has allowed me to have something as unimportant to my livelihood and happiness as football to conform me into Christlikeness.

God could be using cancer – He has. I lost my mom to cancer.

We could be facing an outbreak of Ebola in our community, or another terrorist attack on our shores.

If I can’t handle the team I love losing a football game, how can I hope to handle a terrorist attack on the country I love?

I think the apostle Paul would have loved football, but I I think he would have told me to get a grip — and a proper perspective.

Then I think he would have told me the secret of being content while facing plenty of wins or being hungry for a victory, whether in the abundance, or the need, of strength.

The secret is Christ.

When our contentment is in Christ, not the scoreboard, we can face anything — including a loss, even a big loss.

We can face sickness, terrorism, unemployment, and any fearful thing!

“Not that I am speaking of being in need,
for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
I know how to be brought low,
and I know how to abound.
In any and every circumstance,
I have learned the secret of
facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:11-13

Understanding and living out the secret to being content will be what brings us through the real trials in life and bring praise and glory to God – and that’s all that really matters!

Yes, football is just a game, but it can make a real difference when I entrust even football into God’s hands to shape and conform me to Christ.

Because of my desire to look more like Christ and less like me every day, I’m excited to watch even the close games this season — not because I like close games, but because I like conformity to Christ.

I can watch Clemson play any team anywhere because the results that matter are the matters of the heart, not the scoreboard.

When our heart finds itself fulfilled in Christ, that’s when we really win!

Have your way with me, O Lord!

When our heart finds itself fulfilled in Christ, that's when we really win!

When our heart finds itself fulfilled in Christ, that’s when we really win!

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If you haven’t read my Love & Hate post, I hope you will. I think it’s an important message:

Another post you football fans will enjoy is:

From a small Nigerian village to the NFL record books, and now Medical School, Samkon Gado is doing the “impossible.” (I wrote this article for “Reach Out, Columbia” magazine.) 

For all you Clemson Fans — as well as fans who want to be conformed to Christ Through Football — check out Tajh Boyd’s Blog: Tajh Boyd Talks. 

Tajh shares what God has been teaching him through his football journey, as well as other insights football fans will enjoy. 

Football isn’t the only way God’s been conforming me into the image of Christ. Check out these other posts:

Click to Tweet: Conformed to Christ Through Football, because the results that matter are the matters of the heart, not the scoreboard.

To ensure you don’t miss a single post, you can subscribe to my blog. Thank you!




Monday Music — “God of This City” by Chris Tomlin

Greater things are yet to come! 

Our sovereign God has everything under control. He’s the God of this city, this country, this world…He’s the God of ALL.

Take a deep breath if you need, then let it out, along with all the stress, and let the words of this song “God of This City” sung by Chris Tomlin fill you with joy, hope and excitement.

Greater Things Are Yet To Come!

Greater Things Are Yet To Come!

Greater things are yet to come! God is the God of this city!

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Want to listen to more great songs? Check out this link:  Monday Music 

Do you have a suggestion for a song? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this, I hope you’ll pass it along to others. 

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Start your week off right with Monday Music — “God of This City” by Chris Tomlin (Click to Tweet)




If God Weren’t in Control

Click to read post: If God Weren't In Control

If God Weren’t In Control

“What shall I do with this Man called Jesus?” Pilate asked the restless crowd.

“Crucify Him!” they shouted.

 “No,” Pilate countered. “I won’t crucify Jesus. I’m going to crucify that murderer Barabbas instead and set Jesus free.”

The crowd grew angry. “If you set Jesus free, our law demands we take Him and stone Him.”

And they did.

The End.

 

If you’ve read any of the four Gospels, you know this is not how it happened. But it could have, if God weren’t in control. Have you ever thought about that?

The Law of Moses demanded death by stoning for anyone who committed blasphemy against God. Stoning—not crucifixion[1]

If God weren’t in control, Jesus would’ve been stoned to death before the germ of the idea of Calvary and the cross ever grew in the Jewish leaders’ minds. Eager to pick up stones and silence Christ, their desire became ravenous.

“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied,
“but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
~ John 10:33

Fortunately, God’s not hindered by man’s desires.

God had pre-determined Christ would be crucified.[2] Despite multiple attempts to stone Jesus, they failed. God intervened.

Pilate failed too.

So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me?
Do You not know that I have authority to release You,
and I have authority to crucify You?”

Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me,
unless it had been given you from above . . .”
As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him . . .
~ John 19:10-12a

I love it.

One statement from Jesus transformed Pilate from bold and arrogant to quaking in his sandals.

Pilate thought he’d make Jesus beg for his life, until Jesus set him straight. Suddenly Pilate seems ready to give Jesus an all-expense paid trip to anywhere.

If God weren’t in control, Pilate would have set Jesus free.

But, He couldn’t go free.

Christ had an appointment with the cross that had been set by God before the foundations of the earth.  God wouldn’t allow Pilate to set him free.

(There’s more to the story about Pilate that I’m going to tell in my next post, God Still Pardons Murderers, that beautifully demonstrates that God is in control. If you think you know what it is, please leave comment in the comment section—where else, right?)

If God weren’t in control over man’s desires and determinations, Jesus wouldn’t have been crucified that day, and we’d be lost. We’d be without a Savior or a God who’s able to take care of our every need. Thankfully, God is in control. Nothing can stop Him.

What God desires and determines, He does.
(Click to Tweet)

God desired to make a way for man to be free from sin and restored back into a relationship with Him. He did. Neither the Jewish leaders, Pilate, nor Satan could stop Him[3].  

God determined to give man free will to choose if he would acknowledge Jesus as Lord. He did. But one day, every knee will bow, and no one can stop it.[4]  

God is in control of everything that touches our lives. Over the good and the bad. Over those who belong to Him, and those who deny Him.

This would be a scary thought if God weren’t also the God of perfect love—but He is—and out of the abundance His love, He pours out blessings. On the good and the bad. On those who belong to Him, and on those who deny Him.

But His greatest blessings are reserved for those who belong to Him.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:19 Photo by Jean Wilund in Costa Rica

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:19
Photo by Jean Wilund in Costa Rica

And no one can stop Him.

Never forget God’s promises to you.

Never doubt His love for you.

Trust in Him, and rest.

God is in control.

red thread

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy my posts:  The End from the Beginning and What God Begins, He Finishes


[1] “anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them…” Leviticus 24:16a

[2] Matthew 20:17-19; Zechariah 12:10

[3] Acts 4:27,28

[4] Philippians 2:9-11