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 one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 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. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth. (ESV)
There is much contempt cast on the passage before us. But it teaches how man is. And how God is. There was one command after the Great Flood, but people didn’t want it. They wanted to stay in one place and not fill the world (and it wasn’t even the nicest place). At Eden man wanted to rule creation. At Babel man wanted to rule heaven too!
- Their Place
A common (sinful) migration/meander. This action went counter to God’s Command. We like going where God doesn’t want us to and then stay there.
- Their Plan
They wanted to abuse Godly means, Who gave the clay for them to use.
We see this every day – around us and especially within!
- Their Pride
a) They wanted to appropriate God’s Majesty.
b) Their rash words (Eccl. 5v2-3).
c) Their reprobate wills. They wanted to make a name for themselves (as we do too).
- Their Purpose
They wanted to stay together and thus not obey God’s purpose.
- Their Punishment
a) The Lord’s Interest – we too foolishly think that God is not concerned, or doesn’t see or do anything – if He sees, for He must be too busy with other things! But nothing is missed by His eye!
b) God’s Insight – He knows what is inside of us. But for the grace of God we are set that way. The first time you defy God is just the beginning.
c) Their Judgment – God puts them in disarray, but notice His mercy. He didn’t destroy them but kept His promise and disperses them so they may keep His Command.
See the demonstration of God’s mercy to humans who are set on defying Him. Their unity was not in harmony with God’s purpose. They wanted to create a single oppressive government – as is the case today. Where God creates diversity we want unity and where He creates unity we want diversity. We want to be gods, but we are bad at it. But He gives mercy and He is SO good at this!
Only Christ will get us to Glory! He is the access to heaven, not a high tower we make. Our place must be where He wants us. Don’t build your own Babels (see Phil 2:1-2). Humbly cease abolishing His ways – clamoring to follow our ways – and follow Him. When we see all the confusion, Babel all over, we need His way – and His way is in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour!