Genesis 11 gives us a graphic account of the origin of Babylon. It is a tale which on first glance does not say a lot. However it is from here comes Abraham and the family of God, in covenant.
It tells of a tale of a people who decided to build something to reach heaven and were confused in the effort that the tower was never finished as their effort was confounded by a communication confusion, here languages were born and the spreading took place over the known world as this effort caused the dispersion of the people.
I began to see parallels between the account here in Genesis 11 and the modern day world. These parallels will help us to form the proper foundation for our eschatology and bring us hope.
In my study of this recently, I came up with 3 R’s, which will form the backbone of the parallels we are seeing today.
1st R: Resistence
Lest we be scattered…
The command of God was that the people were to spread and disperse over all the earth. However they came to the plain of Shinar and they decided to resist this directive. They decided to settle. They knew that if they would settle there and build something majestic they would establish their mark on that land. Is it not reminiscent of the Word Paul writes to the Romans 10:3, where Paul describes the process of those who reject God’s ways to righteousness, they make their own. Many of the nations upon the earth resist the ways of God today, as God desires us to “spread” out in our potential, in our worship, in our spiritual life. However man has rejected this way, and resists, dwelling where he wishes, doing what he will, declaring what he may.
Let us look what is happening today, where dwelling is an issue, in the Western world a huge housing crisis is brewing as dwellings become pawns and pieces in a corporate portfolio. Or in the nation of Israel, where new dwellings become motives for guerrilla warfare. Or where majestic buildings have become places of “spiritual” ambition, or where cathedrals are objects of terrorism in France.
It all comes down to motivation. The motivation is explicit what they said to each other…”lest we be scattered”, one motivation was rebellion and resistance. We are seeing much resistance throughout the nations today. The resistance hits back against a higher authority, and digs its heels in today. No different in those days. They were digging their lives in in that valley…their foundation of the tower reflected the foundation in their own lives, rebelling against God’s way of that time. Today there are places where the Word specifically speaks on the tendencies abroad today in very emphatic terms, yet it is rejected and resisted. This is the foundation for a new way of life, a new project, a new business, a new portfolio, that is doomed to be confounded.
2nd R: Renown
“Let us make a name for ourselves”
On a episode of Dr. Phil a couple of guys affirmed that the audience and their families were irrelevant because they were not famous. They did not have followers. They equated the fact fame was the key to the purpose of life, and revelance. They wanted to make a name for themselves. Today is no different than what they said to each other in building that tower, they wanted to be known. Today being famous has brought with it iniquitous lifestyles, and corruption. Hollywood is testimony to this. We are uncovering more and more famous people being found in very serious scandals of all types.
We know that Babel, Babylon, became known for business all over the known world, but the promiscuity and corruption was also a feature. The reason for this is the foundation of this city. Man here is living about 1000 years after the flood, or maybe less, yet they had all forgotten what God had covenanted with their father Noah. They had forgotten that renown with men was not more important that being known to God, being known by God.
You can make a name for good reasons, or for bad reasons, but the world’s parameters for having a name has nothing to do with how to have a good name with God, and be feared in hell.
The example that comes to mind is the sons of Sceva who used the name of Jesus, who Paul preached, to which the demon replied that they knew Jesus, and Paul, but they, they did not recognise the authority, they were beaten and left bleeding.
3rd R: Reach
The tower was built to reach heaven. How many people desire heaven on their own terms, their own efforts. However what would happen would be that God would visit this effort and confound it. Since the beginning of time religion has caught a deceptive notion that we must climb, we must build, we must try to reach heaven. The Bible is about God reaching to us, starting in Genesis 3, when God searched for man in the Garden of Eden, saying “Where are you?” And every covenant is God reaching to man, revealing the way in clear principles of righteousness and holiness.
This reach is now taking shape through the acquisition of knowledge and technology that it is now obvious that man is going to be integrated into AI. (Artificial Intelligence) to which Star Trek Discovery explored the dangers of AI in the wrong hands. All this with the notion that to aspire to higher knowledge is to be akin to being God. All this is the “Reach” that we see in the Tower of Babel, a vanity to think that once could reach divinity. Philippians 2 says that Jesus reached to man and took on human flesh to meet us to eventually be the Paschal Lamb. The biggest deception then as it is now, is that through trying to reach the heights we plunge the depths of our own depravity, and corruption sets in.
To conclude this message, is that the tendencies in the Tower of Babel of Genesis 11 are with us today. The same tendencies. However there is a happy ending. God confounded the effort and out of the same Valley of Shinar He called out Abraham, reached out to him, to make a new beginning, where covenant is open access to communing with God.
With all that is happening politically, technologically, and health wise, we are seemingly along a path of destruction and the perceived Great Reset will be confounded. There in the confounding God will bring forth the solution. There is no doubt as you look at all Bible History where God’s people passed through disaster, inside the disaster God brings His restoration out!!! In the Captivity through wicked kings came Cyrus who sent the captives back to their land, their homes, and their temple.
Whilst 2020 was a year when the Tower of our society has been confounded, God is coming with His solution. The main confusion to the building was in the communication, and this year much communication has been purposely confused, because God is about to do something new.
In Zechariah 4, God said not to despise the day of small beginnings, as a foundation for the new Temple was being laid. So I believe great foundations are being laid in God’s people, and He is sending His prophets with the plumbline, so that the foundation have a tried and precious Cornerstone, being Christ. Isaiah 28.
Let us recognise that in this day where the first stone of the foundation is laid, we not panic by the circumstances, but see them as a sign of endings, confoundings, for making way for the new things of God!
What Abraham saw was not a Tower, but the New Jerusalem, that reaches down from heaven, whose designer and architect is God! (Hebrews 11:10)
Let us rejoice as we embrace a heavenly vision instead of the confusion of this world!