How Did God Respond to the Tower of Babel? - Mercy
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How Did God Respond to the Tower of Babel? – Mercy!


The people of Shinar broke ground on their pride and joy — the tower they knew would stand for all time to their greatness.

(See my post What Was So Wrong With the Tower of Babel — Part One for the first part of this story.) 

It was no doubt a glorious day for these people.

But a greater Glory was headed their way, and He meant business. 


1. The Lord came down.

“The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.”
~ Genesis 9:5

Wait a minute. If God can see everything from His heavenly home, why would He need to come down to this earthly place to see the tower? [1]

He didn’t need to come down. He chose to come down.


I don’t know. He doesn’t say, but I can see what He did once He got there.

These high and mighty men had determined in their hearts to build a tower that would reach up into the heavens, but they couldn’t.

Notice that these weren’t “sons of God” — which would imply they had hearts for God.

These were “sons of men” — men whose hearts were set on themselves. 

They wanted to be like gods, but they were just men.

God came down to investigate and make changes.

He didn’t come down to seek vengeance, but He did come down to judge.

How would He judge the builders of the tower?


2. God Judges Righteously

“And the Lord said,
“Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.”
~ Genesis 11:6

The first time I read that verse as an adult, I was dumbfounded.

Did God really mean that if He didn’t stop them, they could have done anything! All things would have been possible for them?

That sounds like they’d have had the power of God.

No, they wouldn’t have had God’s power anymore than Adam and Eve became like God when they ate the forbidden fruit.

Instead, these men would have gotten drunk off their success and lived as though they were all-powerful. 

The King James Version says that nothing would be “restrained” from them.

There’s nothing they wouldn’t try to do, no one they wouldn’t try to control, and nothing they wouldn’t try to possess.

God has given man tremendous intellect. We not only got man to the moon, but we can publish articles about it on the internet and send it around the world instantly. 

We can also act the fool, though.  

We see this is in the sports world almost every day.

After a sports hero reaches the top of his sport, many suddenly feel entitled to do anything they want, no matter how wrong it is.

Even more telling is the current situation in the Middle East.

ISIS’s actions were evil from its inception, but their actions have only grown more monstrous and widespread. The more evil they commit, the more drunk they become for more evil.

It’s now clear that nothing is too heinous for them to do. Nothing will restrain them from their path, unless a stronger hand steps in and stops them.

Because of their unbelief, the people of Shinar were headed on a similar path of self-rule, self-indulgence, and self-exaltation, so the strongest hand stepped in. 

What was God’s big plan?

How would He stop these men who were so openly defying Him in order to exalt their own name, not His?


3. God Extends Grace
“Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”
~ Genesis 11:7

God changed their languages — He confused their speech.

Wow! I would have never thought of that plan!

I might have thought of raining fire down on them or sending a mighty wind to blow their tower over.

I might have hit my “Smite” button and just watched their tower crumble, but I never would have thought of something as simple as changing their language.


Imagine how much bloodshed would be averted if we could just confuse the language of every member of ISIS?

The people of Shinar wanted to make a great name for themselves. Suddenly they couldn’t even understand the word for “name.”

In the end, they did make a name for themselves, though:

Babel  — a name that doesn’t speak of greatness but of foolish talk. Not exactly the type of name they were going for.[2] 

This is a perfect example of God’s mercy reigning through His righteousness. (Romans 5:21

In God’s matchless kindness, He confused their language, resulting in their giving up building the tower and spreading out across the earth — just as He’d told them to do in the beginning.

God’s purposes will not be thwarted.

Thank goodness one of His purposes is to extend grace and mercy!


In my next post, we’re going to look at a question I had:

In God’s sovereignty, He knew they were going to attempt to build this tower, so why didn’t He stop it before it even got started? Hmmmm.

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[1] I cannot say unequivocally that God came down in physical form, but I have no reason to believe that when the Bible says He came down, that He didn’t physically come down.

I believe that if He did come down, it was probably in the form of Jesus Christ because John 1:18 tells us “no man has seen God at any time.”

Throughout the Old Testament we see appearances of Jesus long before He came down into the world as a baby — known as a “pre-incarnate appearance.”

It doesn’t take an over-abundance of brilliance to realize that whenever we see a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, it means that moment is a pretty big deal, and we ought to take note.

[2] Genesis 11:9 ~ “Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth…”


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