The story of the Tower of Babel challenges us to consider where or in whom is our trust, our safety, our security and our provision? It is a story of mercy in action. Again.
To read the previous studies you can go here to the archive.
- Read Genesis 10:1 – 12:3
- Read and complete the Personal Bible Study on pages 119-122
- Read the teaching chapter on pages 123 – 140
This city of man is not my home. Christ is preparing a home for me where I will be safe and secure
Up until this point in the Bible, the whole world had one language – one common speech for all people. Man became skilled in construction and decided to build a city with a tower that would reach to heaven. By building the tower they wanted to make a name for themselves and also prevent their city from being scattered.
God new what was going on in the city, the building of the tower and in the hearts of man. He perceived their intentions, and in His infinite wisdom, He knew this “stairway to heaven” would only lead the people away from Himself. In His mercy, He confused their language, causing them to speak different languages so they would not understand each other.
God does not desire that we should attempt to work our way to Him or that we try and make something of ourselves apart from Him. The story of the Tower of Babel is mercy in action. It shows us again how God came down to us, to mankind to save us from ourselves. He has built the way for us, through Christ.
Remember Eve in the garden? She believed satan when he said you will be “like God”. Her desire for glory became greater than her desire for God’s glory. And so it was in the heart of man at the time. After the flood, God recommissioned Noah with the same task as He did with Adam and Eve. God’s intention is for the earth to be filled with people who worship Him.
The Ambition of Man in Building the Tower of Babel
God had said to “fill the earth” But they didn’t do that. Instead they sought to create safety and security in significant numbers. They were trusting and glorying in themselves and not in God, the Father. God saw this and He knew their hearts. He knew that if left to their own devices their hearts would harden and they would not sense a need for salvation.
God again showed mercy and grace to mankind. By dividing them (which is what he had initially commanded them to do) He made it harder for them to communicate. He limited their progress in order that any damage might be limited.
Is your life going to be all about what you will do, what you will accomplish, what you can build, or what you can make of yourself? Or is your life going to be all about what God has done, what God will do, and what God will give to you and make of you? Do you want your life to be about building a monument to yourself and your ingenuity and abilities and accomplishments? Or do you want your life to be about God seeking you out when you weren’t even looking for him, calling you to leave everything behind to follow him? Do you long for your life to be about God blessing you, protecting you, and filling your life with significance, with himself?
I don’t have to build a tower to find my way to God. God has come down in the person of Jesus Christ
For those who are trying to follow along but don’t have the book, here are a few of the discussion questions. You might like to share your thoughts with us.
~ What are your thoughts about this picture of people sticking together to build a city in defiance of God and building a tower to get to God on their own terms? What is this about?
~ Looking back at the work you did in the Personal Bible Study, what was especially interesting or challenging to you?
~ There is some humor in this story (whether or not we recognize it) in the way God responded to the tower-building project. There is also judgment and mercy. How do you see humor, as well as judgment and mercy here?
~ Some people have said that the story of the tower of Babel is in the Bible as an explanation of why there are different people groups and languages in the world. Do you think that is why Moses told this story? If not, why do you think Moses included this part of primeval history for his original readers, the children of Israel who were preparing to enter the Promised Land?
~ There’s nothing inherently wrong in our desires for security and significance, is there? The question is where we will look to have those needs met. How do you think we can distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate ways of having those needs met?
~ The big question of this week was, “How will you meet your needs for security and significance?” As you look back over your life so far, do you see evidence of trying to secure your own future or make a name for yourself? Would you be willing to share that with the group?
~ Throughout this study, we’re trying to grasp how some of these familiar stories fit into the bigger story of God’s plan for redemption. What part does Genesis 10–11 play in understanding God’s story of salvation through the Promised One?
~ What jumped out at you this week in the study?
~ Have you been pondering a particular verse?
~ What have you learned so far?
~ Share a favourite passage or paragraph from the book.
You have all week to share your responses and you can come back and comment and often as you like.
I don’t have to make a name for myself. I will glory only in the name of Christ