According to Ethnologue, there are more than 7100 languages spoken today, of which 23 account for more than half of the world’s population. God commanded Noah and his family to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” Looking at the world today it would be easy to think that we did a good job of following God’s directive. In fact, already in Genesis 10, as the bible gives account of some of the following generations of Noah, we already see evidence of “clans … languages … and nations(10:20)” and “nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood(10:32)”. Genesis 11, thus serves as an explanation of how we got there; and we see that it was not because of man’s obedience, but because of God’s sovereign will and power.
Rather than scatter and multiply, verse 4 says the people conspired to: build a city and a great tower in order to make a name for themselves and avoid being scattered over the face of the earth. We dealt with the rebellion yesterday, so lets consider pride today. Certain elements of pride are easy to spot; for example the kind of boastful self-promotion that arises from an outsized opinion of one’s self. We see this in our builders who desired a tower “with its top in the heavens”. God, humorously, puts man in his place when the bible says, “the Lord came down to see the city and the tower. (bold added for emphasis)” Pride contributes to vision problems; we don’t see ourselves or God correctly. More fundamentally, pride is self-reliance, and often self-reliance points to issues of trust. In the garden, tempted by the serpent, Adam and Eve questioned God’s goodness. Our would-be tower builders and glory seekers questioned God’s plan. Neither trusted God. They felt they knew what would be best, and sought personal glory over God’s. God judged them for it by: confusing “the language of the earth” and dispersing “them over the face of the earth.” Ultimately, it was for our own good and God’s glory!
Something to Understand:
If you are a parent, have you ever said to a child, “You don’t know what’s good for you”? Truth is, none of us do. Thankfully, the Lord’s judgment in our lives is not only the final judgment, nor only corrective judgment for his plans, but also discipling judgment for our good. He will bring about his plans and purposes in his world andin our lives!
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,nor be weary when reproved by him.For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,and chastises every son whom he receives.”Hebrews 12:5b-6 (Prov. 3:11,12)