Genesis 11: Babbling in Tall Buildings

Genesis 11: Babbling in Tall Buildings

The plan is simple.

  • Read through the book of Genesis, ONE CHAPTER A DAY.
  • Restate 5 things you learned (that you previously didn't know).
  • Ask 5 questions about the chapter that you'll ponder all week.
  • As the Holy Spirit gives you wisdom and insight, ACT ON IT.  
 

Genesis 11:1-16

Insight 1:  Verse 2 shows that humans tend to be sedentary, “they found… Shinar and settled there”). God, however, is often nomadic (a God of movement) in that He calls people to transition at various stages in life from one experience to another. (e.g: Abram was called to “go”; Moses was called to “go back”; Joseph’s forced journey to Egypt was “meant for good”; David’s constant movement; Paul’s travels; Jesus’ journeys.)

Insight 2: Building a city and tower “with its top in the heavens” and making “a name for ourselves” is the same as saying, “Let’s become gods and make our names known in the heavens”, which ironically is similar language Lucifer uses in his rebellion in heaven before being banished. Isaiah 14:13-14, “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God, I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Hence, this building project is the peak of human rebellion against God’s rule.

Insight 3: Their expressed concern for wanting autonomy “lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth” is an outright rejection of what God had commanded at least on 3 different occasions when He said, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:22, Genesis 9:1, 7).

Insight 4: God’s observation in v.6 that, “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” points to the brilliant capacity God created mankind with. To be created “in the image of God” is to bear certain similarities to God, including creative genius. So, if humanity is somehow ever able to operate as one, there are no bounds to what they can achieve, which may explain why the antichrist at the end of the age wants to rally the world as one people. That plan, of course, will fail in the end. Heaven, however, redeems this. We see at the end of the age, one people from many tribes, tongues, and language working and serving as one in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21-22). What wonders might a redeemed glorified humanity with direct access to God be able to create and accomplish in eternity to come?

Insight 5: In verse 7, God speaks of “US [going down there to] confuse their language”. In Genesis 1:26, He uses the same expression in describing the moment of Adam’s creation, “Let US make man in OUR image…”. Though the identity of “us” is not specified, it reasons to think that the us in Genesis 1 is the same us being spoke of here in Genesis 11. Looking back through the lens of the New Testament, it’s unmistakable that this is a reference to the Triune God (God the Father, God the Son – Jesus, God the Holy Spirit   John 10:30; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 28:19). The Holy Trinity is not three different gods or a committee of divine beings. There is ONE GOD, IN THREE DVINE PERSONS who are unified in a way that our human minds can’t fully comprehend. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are c0-equal and co-eternal in nature, but distinct in their role in how they relate to one another and how they relate to the world. At NO point is anyone of them ever less-fully-God. (Trinity Illustrated - Infographic)

Insight 5a: This account ultimately answers the question, “Where do all the nations, tribes, peoples and languages come from.” It all started at Babel.

QUESTIONS

Question 1: Why did humans pause in “the land of Shinar”? Why not keep going all the way west (since they were migrating “from the east.”). What was it about that location, or perhaps the human heart that decided it no longer wanted to “fill the earth”?

Question 2: Was every human on earth involved in this spectacle or were those involved simply one or more of the tribes listed out in Genesis 10?

Question 3: Verse 1 opens with “Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.” So, after Babel, did anyone speaking the original language remain? What was the first language humans spoke (Adam’s language)?

Question 4: What became of Nimrod? Genesis 10:10 says, “The beginning of his kingdom was Babel…” So, was Nimrod the founder of Babel (the events surrounding Babel are consistent with his character), or did he somehow rise to power after the dispersing of the nations?

Question 5: Was God’s dispersing at Babel so that they “left off building the city” actually an act of mercy? Something about God’s intervention here brings to mind God’s merciful act of banishing Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden so they might not eat from the tree of life and live in their sinful condition forever (Genesis 3:22-24). So, perhaps in Babel, God knows that humans settling in one location and building monuments to themselves would only result in the most depraved of sinful activities?

Question 5b: If all the different nations, tribes, peoples and languages spread across the world come as a result of God confusing and dispersing humans at Babel, is our diversity a curse? Were we all supposed to be ONE people speaking one language? In heaven (Revelation 7:9), though we’re all clothe in white (sharing a union in Christ), we still maintain our distinct ethnicities. What am I missing?

Genesis 11 - shegznstuff.jpg

Husband. Dad. Pastor. Nigerian American. Storyteller. Aspiring Prayer Warrior. Steak Lover. Follower of Jesus Christ reminding you that God the Father still loves you.