From Boasting to Babel

11 April 2021 PM – Genesis 10-11 – Gen2021 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Genesis 10 gives an overview of population growth after the flood. Genesis 11:1-9 describes the details of a world-changing event that probably took place in the days of Peleg (Genesis 10:25). Peleg was born about 100 years after the flood and his name means “division.” God tells us that the earth was divided in his days. Very likely, he was born at the time when God divided the languages.
Transition: This evening, we are going to answer two important questions about the tower of Babel that will give us direction for life.
1.        Why Were Men Building a City and Tower?
a.         The first reason for building was for pleasure.
1)         They began journeying as God told them to, v.2. The word means to pull up (as in pulling tent stakes) and moving on.
2)         This is exactly what God told them to do. God wanted man to cover the whole earth again.
3)         When Noah and his descendants left the ark, they began to travel from the east (or as the KJV 1611 footnotes state, eastward). They came to the flat, fertile soil between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and they began to prosper. They dwelt there in Shinar. This fertile area was later known as Babylonia or Chaldea. They liked the area. Pleasure is not necessarily a wrong reason to build.
Prosperity is not always a sign of God’s blessing. Satan often uses prosperity to cause us to think we are self-sufficient.
b.         The second reason for building was pride.
1)         They wanted to build a city and tower to make them a name, v.4.
a)         The people were building a city that would be known by everyone.
b)         They were building a tower whose top reached unto heaven. Evidently, it was very tall, so everyone could see it. This tower was likely a ziggurat.
Warren Wiersbe tells us that “Archaeologists have excavated several of these large structures which were built primarily for religious purposes. A ziggurat was like a pyramid except that the successive levels were recessed so that you could walk to the top on ‘steps.’ At the top was a special shrine dedicated to a god or goddess.” The Bible Exposition Commentary, 1:61
2)         Nimrod seems to have been the leader of this prideful building project in the land of Babylon (Gen 10:9-10).
3)         Pride turned men’s hearts away from God.
a)         Pride is thinking too highly of self. It is putting one’s self first. It is thinking we are superior. It makes us want others to notice us. Pride is living as if we do not need God.
b)         Does that describe you? None of us like to think so, but sometimes it may. Pride is a difficult sin to conquer because we often do not think we are proud when we really are.
c)         Pride is an evil, destructive sin. Note what God says about pride.
Proverbs 16:5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
4)         The people of Babel had forgotten God’s hatred for sin, His judgment displayed in the flood, and His mercy shown toward godly Noah. They needed a right view of God and a humble view of themselves. If we have a correct view of God’s greatness, it will help us have a correct view of our smallness. God is pleased when we are humble.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
c.          The third reason for building was rebellion.
1)         They did not want to scatter abroad upon the face of the whole earth, v.4. Nimrod’s name means rebellion.
a)         God told them to fill the earth.
Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
b)         They were rebellious against God’s command. They deliberately chose NOT to scatter abroad on the face of the whole earth as God had commanded.
c)         Evidently, many of Noah’s descendants lived together there in the plains of Shinar. Shem’s godly family may not have joined them.
2)         Rebellion is the natural outgrowth of independence and pride. It is the feeling that God’s way is bitter and I know a better way.
There was nothing evil about the land of Shinar, but they sinned in choosing to remain there instead of obeying God’s command to fill the whole earth.
3)         When we rebel against God’s will, it turns God against us.
1 Samuel 12:15  But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.
2.        How Did God Respond to Man’s Prideful Rebellion?
a.         God came down to see what the people did.
1)         God saw the city and the tower, v.5.
2)         God looked beyond the city and the tower. He saw the hearts of those involved, v.6.
a)         He beheld their independence. He observed their pride. He saw their rebellion.
b)         God knew that nothing Noah or any of the remaining God-fearing people could say would stop these rebellious people from fulfilling their dreams.
God not only sees everything we do, He also knows the secrets of our hearts. We cannot hide anything from God.
Psalm 139:1-4 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
b.         God stopped their revolt
1)         Though no human could stop the rebels, God simply confounded their languages and the work instantly stopped.
a)         The word “confound” means to mix. God changed their one language into many.
b)         People cannot work or live together if they cannot understand each other’s language.
c)         Authorities claim that today there are at least 6,900 distinct languages in the world. God did a good job of mixing the languages.
2)         By mixing their languages, God forced the people to separate into language groups and move apart where they could live in harmony. Language divides and it unites.
Since we live in Australia where English is the national language, speaking English unifies, but speaking another language divides. When you are around people who do not know your native language, always speak English.
3)         The new languages scattered the people upon the face of all the earth as God intended, v.8.
4)         God knew it was important for them to fill the earth quickly. The ocean levels after the flood were still hundreds of feet lower because of the Ice Age. Oceans warmed by the eruptions during the flood evaporated rapidly and dumped huge amounts of snow in the northern regions causing the ice age and lowering the oceans. Lower oceans exposed land bridges between countries all over the whole earth. This allowed people to spread over the whole earth. After about 700 years when the Ice Age melted and the oceans rose to their present level, universal travel on foot was stopped.
Conclusion: Do you struggle with pride or rebellion? If so, you need God’s help to conquer it. These sins will rob you of God’s blessing and cause Him to work against you. You cannot oppose God and win!
            If you have not obeyed something that God wants you to do, let God have His way. If you need to start witnessing, let me show you how. If God has been calling you into some service, obey Him. If you have not yet trusted Christ to save you, settle it this evening.
Song: Have Thine Own Way – 388