Friday, January 26, 2024

The Vision (1.26.24): The Tower of Babel


Image: Peter Bruegel the Elder, The (Little) Tower of Babel, c. 1563,
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Genesis 11.

“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven…” (Genesis 11:4a).

“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded” (Genesis 11:5).

Moses reports that in the time after the flood men came into the land of Shinar and said, “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower….” The mention of a tower likely indicates that they thought to defend themselves, rather than depend upon the protection and provision of the LORD.

Moses adds of their design for this tower, “whose top may reach unto heaven.” Many have seen spiritual significance in this description. These men literally had lofty visions of what their status would be. The sky was the limit. They could lift themselves up by their ingenuity and labors “unto heaven,” into the abode or realm of God himself.

So, it is a picture of man in his pride. In the Scriptures we often read of a contrast between God who is in heaven and lowly man who is on earth. Consider:

Psalm 115:16: “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.”

Ecclesiastes 5:2: “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.”

There is a sense here of men leaving their rightful station or standing in life and attempting to put themselves in the place of God.

We soon read, however, in Genesis 11:5, “And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower….” What we are being taught here is that the actions of man on earth never go unnoticed by the LORD. He may be quiet for a season. He may give men over to their own devises and inclinations, but there always comes a time when he arrives to inspect the cities we have built and the towers we have erected.

Meditation on this account in Genesis 11, may lead us more soberly to heed the exhortation offered by the apostle Peter, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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